As a Brit, US political elections usually don't hold much interest. The only thing that seems to make any impact from across the pond is the race for the Presidency, and even that is often of little consequence. When Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the two potential candidates for Democratic nomination, the world took some notice; if the Democrats won it would be with either the first African American man or first woman President, a huge step forward for a country that appeared to be very much stuck with white-male dominance. Even so, the election itself seemed to happen in the background. Yet this time around it feels different.
Like many others across the globe, I am completely glued to the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It's fascinating, compelling, and utterly grotesque; like watching a car crash in slow motion. I can see the impact coming, and the body of the vehicle crumpling as it ploughs into the wall at a thousand frames per second, yet I cannot look away.
To run for elected office brings a level of responsibility that needs to be shouldered. Any and all politicians are automatically in the firing line for potential scandals, and candidates should be careful to maintain decorum and grace whilst clearly outlining their manifesto. Hillary Clinton, for all her faults and alleged misconduct, is doing just that. Despite not being the most popular choice, nor having the same enthusiastic public backing that Obama generated during his campaigns, she is acting presidential, and it shows. Particularly when her opponent's actions are the epitome of everything a world leader should not be.
Donald Trump seems to be treating the election as a reality TV show, and he is the ultimate villain. He has clearly learned from his days on The Apprentice that the most belligerent character is also the most memorable, and he is playing the role perfectly. He has become Clinton's pantomime nemesis, turning his campaign into a charade with his meandering rhetoric and opaqueness. By bullying, lying, and behaving obnoxiously, he has taken the baton from the likes of The Kardashians' Scott Disick and Big Brother's Nasty Nick. By throwing tantrums akin to Gordon Ramsay and spouting chauvinism that would make Katie Hopkins hang her head in shame, Trump has successfully crowned himself king of the villains.
After the second televised debate, Trump attempted a classic reality TV twist by challenging Hillary Clinton to a drugs test, as if she was Lance Armstrong. I wonder how Trump would fare in a polygraph, instead. Clinton can answer questions about her emails and such, and Trump can fail every question they ask as he rambles and backtracks whilst they press him for a yes or a no. Jerry Springer could host it, and if he's not free I'm sure Jeremy Kyle wouldn't pass up the opportunity.
Even the allegations of sexual assault that would get you thrown out of Love Island haven't seen him taken out of the running. The difference between reality TV and election to the highest office in the US, however, is you cannot be kicked out for lewd behaviour. The only way Trump's barrage of unwholesomeness will end is if he quits or the public don't vote him in. He has encouraged people to vote, albeit on the wrong day, and then insisted the vote is rigged. This is the Presidential election, not a phone-in competition on This Morning.
As I'm not a US citizen, I hold no political affiliation with either Democrats or Republicans. I cannot vote in the election, all I can do is observe. Either the US will continue the forward step taken with Barack Obama and put a woman in the Oval Office for the first time, or it will take a huge leap back by electing a spray-tanned failed businessman who lies constantly. Whichever way it goes, I will be watching.