I've been watching the Trump spectacle with a degree of amusement, with "Donald Drumpf" (as John Oliver dubbed him, resurrecting his original German family name) doing a great job of showing where the Republican strategy of appealing to racist, sexist and militarist voters over the past 30 odd years leads - to a narcissistic fascist conman taking over the party and sidelining its traditional conservative rulers. It's like watching a 1930's history book turned into a tele-movie.
On the left Bernie Sanders is doing a reasonable job of trying to revive left wing populism (albeit of a very mild social democrat variety, he's no socialist even if he calls himself one). I'm hoping he can manage to take Hillary Clinton down to the wire, though I expect she's the slightly more viable presidential candidate given the entire US establishment will line up behind her to maintain business as usual should Trump grab the Republican nomination and no third-party candidate emerge from that process.
Like every right wing populist he will occasionally speak the truth (belatedly criticising the Iraq war for example, something I can't remember any Republican candidate other than Ron Paul doing in the last decade) - unfortunately the average angry white voter doesn't seem to realise (or care) that even a broken clock tells the time correctly twice a day.
The SMH has a summary of the Trump fiasco - Republican Party in suicidal tailspin over Donald Trump's unstoppable rise.
In an eerie evocation of fascist rallies the world might have thought had been consigned to history, leading Republican presidential contender Donald Trump demanded that thousands at a rowdy Saturday rally in Florida should swear they would vote for him – "no matter what."
"Let's do a pledge. Who likes me in this room," Trump demanded, between interruptions as protesters were manhandled out of the rally. He raised his hand as a court witness might. Donald Trump asks supporters to pledge their allegiance to him during a rally in Florida.
But, recreating images that became hallmarks of Italian Fascist and German Nazi rallies and watched by the cameras of the world's media, the crowd then stretched their right arms much as followers of Hitler and Mussolini did.
Performing as in a grainy Movitone News clip, most in the crowd held their right arms outstretched at an angle while Trump demanded again, "I've never done this before. Can I have a pledge? A swearing? Raise your right hand."
A #NeverTrump campaign has been launched and there is a reported gusher of donations to fund an advertising campaign to tear down the real estate mogul.
Their difficulty is, that in leaving their run so late; they might be too late. Trump has harnessed, and now owns, the rank-and-file conservative voter anger that the GOP failed to address in any meaningful way and for which they were rebuked by a weekend editorial in The New York Times.
"It is an excellent thing that the Republican leaders have noticed the problem they have fostered, now embodied in the Trump candidacy. But until they see the need to alter the views and policies they have expressed for years, removing Mr Trump will not end the party's crisis."
It's asymmetric war – Trump appeals to the gut; the party leadership talks to the brain.
Sounding more like Mussolini, whose quotes he happily retweets, Trump says he wants to "open up the libel laws", by which he means he wants to rip down the First Amendment, so that he can go after his media critics; and he menaces contributors to the campaigns of his opponents that "they better be careful, they have a lot to hide".
He incites the ugly side of his audiences, ordering his security to "throw [protesters] out in the cold"; or weighing in himself with incendiary threats like, "I'd like to punch him in the face".
For Trump, torture is the go; international law is to be ignored and his fellow Republican and House speaker Paul Ryan might as well be road kill – "I'm sure I'm going to get along with him; and if I don't, he's going to pay a big price."
Ruth Marcus, writing in The Washington Post, warns Americans of what they might be getting: "Trump is [Richard] Nixon with all of the megalomaniacal willingness to abuse power and none of the crafty realpolitik. He's attracted to strongmen, past and present – unapologetically retweeting a quote from Mussolini and basking in praise from Vladimir Putin."