The smoke is clearing in the presidential race in both parties and it looks like we will have the mother of all battles between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They may well be the most famous man and woman in the world at this stage, their battle would be the stuff of legend.
It would be historic in so many ways, first woman, first non politician, first time since 1944 two New Yorkers competed against each other.(Bernie Sanders from Brooklyn would fit the criteria too)
You would have got long odds indeed on this particular combination of Hillary and The Donald at the start of the 2016 presidential run. The overwhelming consensus was it would be Bush Vs Clinton in a replay of the family shoot out of 1992 with Bill Clinton and George H. Bush.
But Donald Trump has made the commentariat look very silly. They utterly underestimated him, and I include myself in that critique.
We had the extraordinary sight of Jeb Bush on Saturday night, head hanging but game to the end,trudging home. He was the anointed one in almost all media a few months ago.
It was not to be for him. While Bush appeared to be top of the mountain with $100 million in his piggy bank there was a Trump avalanche on the way that would hurl him all the way down to the bottom of the mountain.
Bush ended up bringing his best bib and tucker to the wrong party. It was no longer the establishment dominated genteel WASP-dominated club of his father’s time.
Instead the grassroots had grabbed control and were running as fast as they could from the old machine ways.
It should have been no surprise. Fueled by Fox and a superb right wing media machine imagined and real grievances were aired endlessly leading to a state of siege.
As a result issues like ISIS and their atrocities demanded a buccaneering response ALA Trump (Bomb the Sh--t out of them) not a well-thought through plan to contain them. (Bush)
So not a huge surprise in retrospect that with Bush swept away by the turning tide Into the middle of the maelstrom now comes Trump already a cultural icon from his loud mouth and braggadocio on television and his brash self-promotion who outdoes Muhammad Ali with big promises. It was a match made in hell for the old establishment. Even the pope’s criticism of Trump’s immigration stance failed to dent his protective armor last week.
Strangely it had been predictable. John McCain of all people opened the door to the Visigoths as the establishment considered them, when he picked Sarah the UnreadyPalin as his Vice President pick.
Hillary Clinton would probably be among the most surprised that Trump is now her most likely opponent. The initial licking of lips at such a perceived mismatch will long ago have faded in the Clinton camp.
Trump is clever, manipulative, skilled at hammering home a message over and over.
But the presidential debates would surely be the real testing ground. Despite his amazing success Trump is still woefully short on detail. How much will his wall cost? $8 billion by some estimates, how about deporting 11 million people (more than the population of New York City) --100 billion by some counts.
But Hillary is no sure thing and she has a press pack that actively dislikes here and seeks to trip her up at every opportunity. America is a center right country and if the two clash it could well be the most interesting and important presidential standoff since Lincoln held on during the Civil War in terms of shaping the future.
There were some hiccups for Hillary in Nevada. An exit poll showed Hispanic Americans went for Sanders which will have surprised her camp. She still has to prove herself to millennials but in the end she will surely start as the favorite if it is Trump.
But who would have thunk it Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton? PT Barnum would consider the story line too unlikely even for him. The fight of the century indeed.