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John Tenniel, The Caucus Race, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1865


If you believe, sang REM, they put a man on the moon… Sometimes, when you watch America blundering around like a drunken stevedore, you may find it hard to believe they could put a man on a horse. After the Iowa caucus, let’s just put it this way. If MelaniaTrump wanted new carpets, curtains and wallpaper for the Oval Office and was told that delivery could not be made until December, she could still go ahead and order with confidence.

Was Iowa a disaster? If not, that would be in the same way as the Titanic’s maiden voyage featured a mere design hiccup and the charge of the Light Brigade was the equivalent of a snag in the GPS. For months, the US media has prepared its country for the big one, the litmus, the testing ground, and what do they get? A bunch of stumblebums who can’t even tally the votes for the clown parade that is the Democrat nominees.

When you consider the etymology of ‘caucus’, you are going to think we are pulling your legs, and perhaps we should pull the other one as it’s got bells on. In 1818, English writer Sydney Smith described ‘caucus’ as ‘the cant word of the Americans for the committees and party meetings in which the business of the elections is prepared’. You would have thought an intelligent man like Smith would have been able to spell ‘cant’.

Then again, ‘caucus’ may or may not be an Algonquin Indian word, and the Democrat nominees must have had something quite strong in um pipe of peace as they all gave victory speeches. Of course, they may have simply read their Lewis Carroll, who co-opted the word for the ‘great caucus race’ in Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps they think everyone does get a prize, and they take it in turns being president when they have beaten Trump, who garnered a mere 97% of the Iowa vote. Iowa, incidentally, is seen as a pretty firm indicator of the coming election, in which case Melania may as well have architects draw up the plans for a whole new palace of gold and the finest marble.

There have been repeated calls for the Iowa caucus to be replaced with another system, and perhaps this was deliberate sabotage to gain precisely that outcome. Otherwise, America doesn’t want any of the Dem nominees running a car wash, let alone the country. Perhaps they could replace the caucus with a three-legged race, or a game of rock-scissors-paper.

If, a little over three years ago, the Democrat party had accepted Trump’s victory, accepted the fact that the seriously corrupt Clinton couldn’t win a raffle, accepted the fact that even with the pollsters, the media, the unions and half the Republican party on their side, they still couldn’t lever their nominee into power, put aside their pathetic and snippy (and very expensive) plan for impeachment, and spent the intervening time working out why Trump won while working diligently and respectfully for the good of a nation they clearly despise, they might now stand a chance. At present, short of Trump being photographed in bed with Putin, Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti for a threes-up, the Democrats have attached their own ball and chain to the leg of the donkey.

The only question now is how Trump kept a straight face during the State of the Union address.

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