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5/28/16

The US Presidential election is about the past -by Mark Perry

The first evidence that something was amiss in the American electorate came last February 20, when Donald Trump won the South Carolina primary. You don't need to be steeped in the minutiae of United States politics to work out why that happened - all you have to do is clear out all Trump's talk about walls and borders and focus on the US' intervention in Iraq.

That's right: Iraq.

During a televised debate before the South Carolina primary, Trump attacked fellow Republican Jeb Bush by focusing on George W Bush, his brother and former president. George, Trump said, had "lied" about why the US invaded Iraq.

"They said there were weapons of mass destruction and they knew there were none," he said. Trump's claim brought howls from political experts who confidently predicted that the claim would cost Trump votes. South Carolina, they said, loved the Bushes.

But when the votes were counted, Trump had won. Numerous accounts told the tale: Trump beat Jeb by "campaigning against nearly everything" that his brother George and his neo-conservative pals stood for, including the US' catastrophic Iraq intervention and the resulting conflagrations from Syria to Libya that it spawned.

Now, three months later, the New York mogul is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. And while it's easy to dismiss his triumph by claiming that the public has been seduced by a media savvy "liar", "birther" and "bully", the truth is more complicated.

South Carolina showed that while Americans question Trump's character, when it comes to military adventurism, they're with him.

Oddly, the only other candidate who has stood with Trump on the Iraq War is Bernie Sanders, who has attacked Hillary Clinton for supporting Bush's intervention.

Read more: The US election is about the past - Al Jazeera English

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