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Republican presidential candidates appear during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Simi Valley, Calif., Sept. 16, 2015 (AP photo by Chris Carlson).

Anti-Establishment Backlash Makes 2015 the Year of the Clown

Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015

When this year’s slate of GOP presidential candidates took the stage for a televised debate a couple of months ago, with the flamboyant Donald Trump capturing most of the attention, a number of writers started referring to the group as the Republican “clown car.” The term was obviously meant to be a humorous putdown, dismissing the seriousness and political viability of the large and histrionic collection of would-be presidents.

More recently, as the possibility that Trump could emerge victorious started becoming less inconceivable to the establishment, the term fell into disuse. And yet, there is a grain of truth in the mostly abandoned metaphor. Clowns, it turns out, may help explain what is happening in a number of democracies around the world. This could, in fact, be the Year of the Clown. ...

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