Watching the progress of Donald Trump in the Unites States presidential primaries has been compared with watching a train wreck. It is appalling and compelling. Trump is breaking so many of the rules of ordinary human decency - let alone politics - it is impossible to look away.

This week he declined to denounce the Ku Klux Klan and blamed the troubles of Trump University on a "Hispanic" judge. Each week brings an outrageous claim, a shameless boast or an offensive remark that looks more careless than calculated.

Doubtless the fact he is compulsive viewing is a large part of the reason he has come this far in the primaries. He knows how to retain a television audience, having hosted a long-running reality show, and he is campaigning in much the same way.

Many Americans are enjoying his free-wheeling approach, being himself, steering by the seat of his pants.


He does not claim to have much policy, or much interest in making it. He plans to hire people for that sort of thing if he gets to the White House. The very idea of that has filled many other Americans - and most of the world - with horror. But it is an idea that has to be faced now Mr Trump has cleared the highest hurdle in the long race to a party nomination: yesterday's primaries.

Many presidential campaigns do not make it to "Super Tuesday", fewer make it past the diverse state contests held that day. It is the nearest approximation of a nationwide election before the nominating conventions.

The candidates who win the largest share of delegates on Super Tuesday are well on the way to being their party's nominee.

It is safe to say Democrats will be happier at the outcome than the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton has decisively beaten Senator Bernie Sanders, giving the Democrats a likely candidate with solid experience and conspicuous competence. They might also be glad that the Republicans look likely to be saddled with Mr Trump rather than the more youthful and electable Marco Rubio.

Mr Rubio may be the opponent Democrats most fear but he is struggling for even second place in the Republican race. Texas Senator Ted Cruz's victories in his home state and neighbouring Oklahoma yesterday keep him in contention should the Trump bubble burst.

Mr Cruz is hardly more palatable than Mr Trump to anybody who is looking for good sense and sound judgment in the next president of the United States. Mr Trump at least does not take seem to take himself too seriously. Mr Cruz clearly takes his religious fundamentalism very seriously indeed.

Both appeal to an uncompromising mood on the conservative side of the American electorate. Mr Cruz would give them what they see; Mr Trump would be an unknown quantity.

Mr Trump has not been a classic conservative, having held some liberal positions previously. He says what any audience wants to hear, and says it with such entertaining gusto that he gets away with it, so far. He could be a bull in the China shop of power or just a blowhard.

It would be better not to find out.

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