The heat is on - summer sunshine and US presidential election fever

I hope you have had a taste in some shape or form of the lovely sunny weather over the last 10 days. Hasn’t it been just wonderful? As everyone says, if we could have more of this in Ireland who would bother going abroad?!

There is nothing to equal the local enjoyment you can get from the sunny days. When the good weather coincides with a long weekend, well then it is just heaven.

On Sunday I was a guest at a barbecue in my son and daughter-in-law’s home with their four children. With the outdoor smell of the sizzling chicken and burgers mingled with the shouts and glee of the young children and the sunshine beating down, it would be very difficult to match that for just plain good enjoyment. Sunshine is full of vitamin D, so lap it up. We can all do with more of it.

Well now, what do you make of the ongoing Clinton-Sanders-Trump lead-up to the presidential election in the US?

As I am writing this column, the California votes will be held, with the results due on Tuesday (June 7 ). Bernie Sanders is still maintaining that the pledged delegates do not matter to him. He still has the people with him and he says he will triumph come the National Democratic Convention next month. So that is the first hurdle that Hillary Clinton has to overcome.

After all, it is the ‘Year of the Underdog’, as I have said before in these columns. The trouble for Hillary Clinton is that she is facing two so-called ‘underdogs’: Bernie Sanders, who is wowing the young people in the US with his passion-filled rhetoric, and of course then she has Donald Trump with whom to contend.

Donald Trump surely started off as the underdog. People everywhere were saying, ‘Oh no, he will never become president’, and yet and yet and yet... he is gaining traction everywhere he goes. It doesn’t matter what row he engenders. It doesn’t matter what outrageous things he says. The cheers keep rising and the delegate votes keep coming his way. He is now the presumptive Republican candidate.

Recently we learnt of the audacious announcement that he would be in Ireland at the same time as Joe Biden, the present Democratic vice-president, who will be visiting his home counties here. If Donald Trump seeks to meet the Taoiseach of the country, well that is a conundrum which will be very difficult to work out satisfactorily!

Bearing in mind what Enda Kenny said in the Dáil about him when agreeing with Micheál Martin that yes, Donald Trump’s comments were racist, sexist, and outrageous - well, that is a drama waiting to unfold over the next few weeks.

I have no doubt whatsoever that his team have deliberately chosen to come to Ireland at the same time as Biden. After all, there is the huge Irish-American vote and if Doonbeg could be a constituency they would vote overwhelmingly for Trump.

I was of the opinion that, if it came to a street fight between Clinton and Trump, of course Clinton, with her reasoned debate and marshalling of facts, would win out. But having read Niall O’Dowd, an avowed supporter of Clinton, I now have my doubts on the certainty of her winning. I began to think again of the outcome.

Hillary Clinton will now need to get dirty, feisty, and outrageous in her remarks to him, while at the same time portraying that she is the certain person to lead the US following the calm presidency of Obama.

We will see, we will see, but it certainly is the debate of the moment, not just in the US but here in Ireland. Everywhere you go people will talk to you about Clinton and Trump and the horror of a Trump emergence, I notice, is beginning to abate in everyday conversation.

It is so amazing. He says the most outrageous things and then, a couple of weeks later, takes them back and then fires up the next crowd with whom he is engaging.

Now how is the ‘new politics’ emerging back home? In my opinion, it is going fine, though there are still some media pundits who want it to fall at every hurdle and pronounce that that setback will be one too far, etc, etc.

As I said before, the ‘new politics’ is a skilful game and the two sides, both the minority Fine Gael government with its Independent Alliance partners and the opposition, headed up by the main opposition party, Fianna Fáil, still have a lot to learn as they go about daily business.

Votes on Private Member’s Time don’t really matter and that lesson should be drilled into all sides. I know what I am talking about here so I won’t bore the readers by going over it all again, but they do allow for an expression of heartfelt views by the opposition and they do allow for debate, discussion, and dissent in many cases.

So stick with it boys and girls – you have a long road yet to travel.

Continue to enjoy the sun while it lasts. I will talk with you all next week.

In the meantime, go safely.

Slán go Fóill

Mary O’Rourke



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