The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be the most surreal political contest in modern American history.
The Democratic frontrunner is openly mocking an FBI investigation of her behaviour in office. The Republican leader is Donald Trump. And a socialist is drawing crowds that stopped traffic at the Iowa State Fair. This is the year American politics has truly gone through the looking glass.
There have been glimmers of weirdness before. In 2011, the Republican frontrunner was, briefly, Herman Cain, a pizza magnate who took his tax plan from a computer game and quoted a song from the Pokemon movie in his speeches.
In 1992, there was a time where it appeared the next president would be Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire best known for his fears that the Republican party would sabotage his daughter’s wedding and his belief that a speech without a pie chart was an opportunity wasted. And, of course, in 1972 Edmund Muskie, the seemingly inevitable Democratic frontrunner, melted down in part because of a rumor he was prejudiced against French Canadians.
But this cycle beats them all.