When Donald Trump was the president of America, many of us here in England found him to be an unusual choice as leader of the ‘free world’. His strange hairstyle, the make-up that made him look permanently orange, and not least his regular comments, tweets, and outbursts that seemed to be far from presidential. He had a bad attitude to women, could be rude and insulting on a daily basis, and it was no secret he had an admiration for people he regarded to be ‘strong’ leaders, like Kim in North Korea, and Putin in Russia.
As time went on, he was not afraid to make openly racist remarks about illegal immigrants from centtral America, Mexicans, and Chinese people. He was happy to be offensive to all of his political opponents, and many of his former friends and advisers too. Then during his handling of the pandemic, he went so far as to suggest that scientists and doctors had no idea what they were talking about, and advised people to take horse medicine or inject themselves with bleach instead.
I hold no brief for either side in US politics, but had to admit there were times when I thought Mr Trump was insane.
However, at least 50% of the people in America thought he was marvellous. Many loved him, some even idolised him. For them he could do no wrong, and for most of them he still can’t.
And now we have Boris johnson running Britain. A man who has fathered children with many different women, is openly boastful about his upper-class education, and also has a strange hairstyle. His appearance is unkempt, his speech little more than blathering, often incomprhensible. He has lied to parliament, and to the electorate, and shown no remorse when those lies have been exposed. He has consorted with Russian oligarchs, taken millions of pounds in favours from them, and awarded lucrative contracts to his best friends, costing the taxpayers billions over the last two years.
During the pandemic lockdowns he ignored the rules and laws others were prosecuted for not following, and has recently suppressed reports and investigations into his own behaviour. His friends have been rewarded with top political jobs, Knighthoods, and elevation to the Peerage. He travels around the world embarrassing this country with his bumbling and spouting of nonsense, and he has used Brexit to feather the nests of many already obscenely wealthy businessmen and political colleagues.
Yet at least 50% of the people in this country think he is doing a good job, and want him to stay on as leader. He may be booed or ignored on some walkabouts, but on others he is cheered and adored. Many of his supporters think he is the greatest thing that has happened to this country, and if he is ousted as leader by his political enemies, they will no doubt be calling for him to be reinstated.
I call this ‘The Trump Effect’.