The upcoming US presidential election needs a redo. Both candidates are generally disliked and both are embroiled in various kinds of scandals. Neither is of the caliber to lead America, never mind the so-called free world. In a perfect world, the president should announce an emergency, postpone the election for, say, six months on the grounds that one candidate has been found to be unfit.
In fact, both candidates are so unsuitable that Americans are beginning to view President Obama with affectionate eyes. If he were able to run again he'd probably sweep the board. His approval rating has soared to its highest during this term of office.
Clinton's private e-mail server that recklessly exposed national intelligence, her seeming cover-up of the reasons behind the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi and her alleged granting of favors to Clinton Foundation donors while secretary-of-state are merely the tip of the scandal-ridden iceberg dogging her path. Nevertheless, as much as it hurts me to say it, she's the best of the worst.
People everywhere wonder how on earth the mighty United States of America got itself into this mess. The Democratic and Republican parties have a lot to answer for. The bar has been so lowered that don't be surprised to see one of the Kardashians or Lady Gaga running in 2020.
The Democratic establishment embraced one of their own, while colluding to ensure the popular upstart with socialist leanings Bernie Sanders never had a chance.
Republicans enthusiastically lined-up behind a loud-mouthed egoistic, misogynist, racist with autocratic tendencies hoping to capitalize on populist fervor born of a hunger for change.
And now most are ruing the day, including Trump's running mate, devout Christian, Mike Pence who's distancing himself at the rate of knots following the latest leak of an 11-year-old recording displaying Trump in his true vulgar colors. Senior Republicans are coming out in droves to condemn the taped conversation
Trump admitted making unsuccessful advances on a married woman and the rest of his "locker room" banter with George W. Bush's cousin, TV host Billy Bush, isn't fit for print.
For the first time, Trump made an apology of sorts, as his campaign scrambled for answers. But there is no defense for the indefensible. He's objectified women in the most vicious way and I suspect that most female American voters won't forgive him. Trump's line of defense is to slander Bill Clinton, his former golf buddy, for using even more offensive language — if that's even possible — even though it's his wife who's in the race.
In the 'basket of deplorables', former casino owner and multiple bankrupt, Donald Trump, takes the biscuit. He's gone from a potential winner to a virtual no-hoper but he's refusing to withdraw. "I will never drop out of the race. Will never let my supporters down," he's tweeted. The wonder is he still has supporters!
There is more ugliness to come. New audio has emerged of Trump lewdly boasting of his sexual conquests to the over-the-top radio personality Howard Stern in which he refers to his daughter Ivanka as "voluptuous". What next! The mind boggles.
He maintains he's being set-up. Probably so! But even so, he has far too many skeletons in the cupboard to even imagine he has a chance of redemption over the next few weeks.
What are Republican bigwigs waiting for? There are calls to replace him with the ultra-conservative Mike Pence who's so embarrassed he's gone to ground but not before issuing a statement stressing how offended he was "as a husband and a father" and offering prayers for Trump's family.
The Washington Post's Philip Rucker tweeted: "A source close to Trump camp told me Pence and his team are 'absolutely apoplectic', 'melting down' and 'inconsolable'."
However, Tea Party supporter Pence lacks broad appeal. He's described homosexuality as incompatible with the military and is a vehement pro-lifer. He's against the idea that climate change has been caused by greenhouse gas emissions or even that smoking increases the risk of cancer.
He's voted against raising the minimum wage and doesn't support laws guaranteeing equal pay for men and women. Whether or not one agrees with some of his stances, most cannot be characterized as populist in the current American social climate.
The GOP is in a quandary. There is no one with sufficient charisma or popular appeal to replace this whopping two-legged mistake. Barring the unforeseen, the winner is a given. That said the party still has a chance to maintain its credibility if it acts swiftly to give trump the boot he so sorely deserves.
• Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British political columnist.