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Forget Watergate – here’s why the US is facing its most chaotic political period in recent history

If you were looking for a point at which to sit up, tune in and get your head around the utterly mad state of American politics, well then the next couple of days is perfect. 

You’ll see a former president (and quite possibly the next one) surrender himself to one of the country’s grimmest jails to be booked in his latest indictment.

You’ll see the first TV debate of the election campaign. Those who want to trump Trump to become the Republican candidate will clash and probably race each other to the bottom as they tussle for attention.

First TV debate of presidential race kicking off – latest updates


And Donald “no-point-in-debating-those-losers” Trump will treat us to a conversation with his old friend-turned-foe-turned-friend Tucker Carlson.

Carlson was let go by Fox News a week after it lost a $787.5m (£620m) defamation lawsuit for being a purveyor of fake news about the 2020 election. He’s now got his own show online.

His interview with Trump will drop just as the TV debate begins.

Tucker Carlson with Donald Trump last year. Pic: AP

If you haven’t been concentrating, Trump is far and away the favourite to be the Republican Party’s chosen candidate for president again in 2024.

No other Republican candidate gets even half of Trump’s current polling percentage.

As things stand, notwithstanding four indictments, the majority of America’s Republican voters are comfortable with another Trump presidency.

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Trump has ‘little faith’ in prosecutors

“But he couldn’t actually win again?” his detractors wonder. Well, compare polling with the same moment before the 2020 election (which Trump lost) and it’s looking very, very close – within the margin of error.

Obviously, there is a long, long way to go.

America won’t choose its next president until November 2024 but the brutal electioneering is well under way.

Read more:
What are the investigations Trump is facing?
Who is the ‘anti-woke’ Republican rising in the polls?

It is increasingly clear the political period we are now entering could be the most chaotic and consequential any of us can remember.

Forget 2020. Forget 2016. Forget the Bush-Gore Florida “who won?” debacle. Forget Nixon and Watergate. This is on a whole different level.

Led by their master, a band of lawyers, former White House staff and election officials will surrender themselves to an Atlanta jail over the coming hours as they await trial on charges of trying to overturn an election.

Too often these days it feels like I am reporting not on the “world’s greatest democracy” but on a failing state.

The alarming problem, and the definition of a failing state, is that both sides are arguing, successfully, that democracy is being failed, broken, destroyed by the other.

So far, it is the very structures of democracy which have prevented collapse. So far.


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