Donald Trump: Master of the demolition derby

Donald Trump Image copyright Getty Images

Donald Trump always threatened to turn the race for the Republican presidential nomination into even more of a reality television show.

And lately it has come to resemble a gruesome episode of Big Brother, where it becomes near impossible to evict a boorish and abusive housemate because of his popularity with viewers.

Trump, evidently, is more than a guilty pleasure, the political equivalent of a late-night fix of tabloid TV for those returning, drunkenly, from a long night in the pub or bar.

Judging by his poll numbers, a significant proportion of sober-minded voters who will next year select the Republican nominee like both him and his take-no-prisoners message, even though to many it sounds deranged and racist.

The latest poll, conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post, shows him with a commanding lead: 24% of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, compared with 13% for the Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and 12% for the former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush.

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The decline of US power?

Washington Monument at the turn of the millennium Image copyright Getty Images

Standing on the Washington Mall at the turn of the new millennium, it was impossible not to be struck by America's power and global pre-eminence.

Victory in the Cold War made it the hegemon in a unipolar world.

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The month that changed America?

President Barack Obama pauses while delivering a statement on the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, in the Rose Garden at the White House on June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC Image copyright Getty Images

Does history change all at once? June 2015 certainly had its singular historic moments - but almost all were the outcome of long-term forces and long-fought battles, say Nick Bryant.

The shelves of American bookstores almost buckle under the weight of titles identifying a single year, season, month, week, day or hour as essential turning points in history's long march.

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Charleston shooting: Obama's evolving language on race

Comedian Keegan Michael-Key with President Obama Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Does Obama still need an "anger translator"?

Barack Obama has tended to be reticent about race, and left others to attach racial meaning to his presidency.

His public comments on racist atrocities, like Charleston, and racial controversies, like Ferguson, have generally been measured and controlled, as if he is trying to keep a lid on his feelings.

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Charleston shooting: Attack at church opens old wounds

  • 19 June 2015
  • From the section Magazine

The struggle for black equality was not just a social revolution. For many it was a religious crusade. Throughout, the church was central.

During the height of the civil-rights era black churches echoed to the anthems of the movement, their pews crammed with protesters ready to stream from the doors and out onto the streets.

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The myth that America doesn't like football

USA fan Image copyright Getty Images

Outside the courthouse in Brooklyn where the trial of the Fifa officials charged with corruption will take place is an all-weather football pitch crowded throughout the week with players of all ages.

Not far away, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, where once derelict piers have been converted into outdoor sports centres, the soccer pitches are usually more crowded than the basketball courts.

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Chuck Blazer's blog chronicles his lavish Fifa days

Member of the FIFA Executive Committee and Commissioner of the American Soccer League and Executive Vice President of the United States Soccer Federation and General Secretary of CONCACAF Chuck Blazer is seen in Hungexpo of Budapest 2012 25 May Image copyright AFP

If ever you have wondered how a corrupt Fifa official spends their time and ill-gotten money then the blog Travels with Chuck Blazer and his friends will make for informative reading.

The blog was maintained by the Falstaffian figure who was once the domineering powerbroker of American soccer, but has now pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud, money-laundering and income tax evasion.

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Iraq war casts long shadow over US and UK politics

Jeb Bush Image copyright AP
Image caption Jeb Bush has struggled to articulate what he would have done over Iraq

On both sides of the Atlantic, the Iraq war continues to cast a diffuse shadow from which politicians are struggling to escape.

It falls upon the fight for the Republican presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton's White House quest and the debate over the future direction of the Labour Party in Britain.

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Why are 60,000 homeless in New York?

It has been one of the coldest winters on record in America's north-east, and in New York City freezing temperatures have coincided with record numbers of homeless.

The city's homeless population at all-time high of 60,000 and 25,000 of those are children.

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Brian Williams and the decline of the US news anchor

  • 5 February 2015
  • From the section Magazine
Television journalist Brian Williams arrives at the Asbury Park Convention Hall during red carpet arrivals prior to the New Jersey Hall of Fame inductions, in Asbury Park, N.J 13 November 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption NBC's top news presenter Brian Williams has apologised for the "mistake"

Usually it's in late night bars that journalists are prone to exaggeration. But fabricating a story on a late-night talk show, and then repeating it, has landed Brian Williams in trouble.

Appearing on the David Letterman show in 2013, he told a riveting story from the Iraq war of how his helicopter was forced down after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

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