Rage of middle-class America: Renowned for its optimism, the US today is consumed by self-doubt and hatred. Which is why voters - mad as hell - are backing lunatics in the most frightening election MAX HASTINGS has covered
One of the most famous lines in movies was delivered by U.S. TV anchorman Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch, who proclaimed live on air: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more!’
The 1976 black comedy Network, which ends with Beale being shot dead on his own show, has become a minor classic. Beale’s explosion of rage against the condition of — well, just about everything — passed into folklore.
The phrase ‘I’m as mad as hell . . .’ ought to be dubbed the catchphrase of the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, which has hardly started, yet is frightening the daylights out of moderate, rational Americans.
Next week, voters in 12 mostly Southern states go to the polls to choose delegates to the two parties’ autumn nominating conventions. The day is known as Super Tuesday, because it will determine the destinies of around a quarter of Republican candidate votes, a third of Democrat.
If the outcome of this week’s Nevada caucus is matched next Tuesday, Donald Trump will be heading towards securing the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency.
Since Hillary Clinton is overwhelmingly likely to lead the Democratic ticket and a lot of people hate, hate, hate her, it is not completely impossible that Trump the racist, Trump the liar, Trump the opportunist, Trump the crusader for a jihad against Muslims and a trade war with China, could receive the keys to the White House in November’s national poll.
This is a serious state of affairs that bewilders most of us.
I reported my first U.S. election back in 1968. It took place in the midst of the Vietnam War with racial strife on the streets, and seemed a pretty savage affair at the time.