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above: Protestors against United States President Donald Trump gathering on Parliament Square on the morning 4 June 2019. In the foreground is a bronze sculpture of Winston Churchill by Ivor Roberts-Jones. [Image by: RL0919 / CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, cropped and resized]

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U.S. Politics Gives Brits a Bad Trip

“Covering American politics is like crack,” a veteran British journalist told me last year. “Once you’ve had a taste nothing else gives the same high.”

I now think I know what he meant—though LSD might be a more apt comparison. In the age of Trump, it’s hard to watch American politics without wondering if you are hallucinating. I know a lot of Americans feel the same way. 

Looking at November’s presidential election, the British are in different ways baffled, amused, and alarmed. People in London now often ask, in a tone of incredulity, “He’s going to do it again isn’t he?” To lots of Brits the fact that the 45th president might be reelected strikes them as mad. They have been told by a reliably anti-American mainstream British media that Trump is an orange-skinned white supremacist who is destroying the world order and killing people with COVID.

However, Brits who aren’t conditioned by the BBC and The Guardian, the two great engines of politically correct opinion in our country, get a secret kick out of the thought of Trump sending the polite world bonkers once again. Many of us are online gambling addicts—it’s huge over here—and we’ve been slyly punting on another Trump victory every time we see yet another poll putting Joe Biden ahead. 

Our politicians are on the other side of the bet. The British elite left...

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