US presidential election: Eighteen months in America

It has been a scarring election campaign, writes Siobhán Brett, and America will welcome the end

Hillary and Bill Clinton ahead of a campaign rally in North Carolina yesterday Pic: Getty

Ted Cruz was nervous. Repeatedly steepling hands. Uneasy pallor, shiny chin. Quietly laughing where a few unscripted words would have helped immeasurably. Unsecured by a lectern, not entirely certain which way to move, or when, as he spelled out his impression of “the promise of America”.

The audience stood and chanted his name when, in the 28th minute of a half-hour speech, the Texan senator declared his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.