Crossing my mind since the inception of our seemingly interminable (November can’t come soon enough!) presidential campaign is a question: How do foreigners view this lunacy? Do they consider it a freak show? Is Donald Trump’s vulgar bombast an affront to their sophisticated sensibilities? Do they hope and pray for a Hillary Clinton victory?
The answers may not be as obvious as you think. Recently, I spoke to several foreigners (two of whom are my cousins) to get their take on our very unique and potentially milestone election. What they had to say was very telling and not at all predictable.
Is Trump “out of the far reaches of the absurd”?
Some of the comments I heard are that Trump will be stricter with immigrants especially from Syria… And when the American president pays attention to a specific problem, they will most likely see results, which they think will have an effect on the immigration in the European Union and the UK, too.
As for Dubai and Egypt’s support for Clinton, Saleh said these nations are “more emotional” about the choices before the American public:
They feel that Hillary most likely will not start a new war with a Middle Eastern country and will continue to use diplomacy like President Obama… They think that Trump will be a disaster for them as he will start wars and be very tough with Arab-Americans who live in the US. Plus, people from Egypt are saying that going to the US to work and live will be almost impossible when Trump becomes the president.
Another reliable bête noire for foreigners is the Electoral College. Ed Rossiter, a Hong Kong-based British expat who owns a custom-shirt business, blasted it as an “archaic system, designed for a period when the pony was the fastest mode of communication.”
Every developed country evolves its governance systems via public referendums to avoid vested interests abusing power… But the US just looks to have old and tired systems that favor those on the inside.
One of my cousins, a self-described “left-wing, red-haired Brazilian Jew,” was more voluble, erudite and damning in his withering denunciation of the American political system:
Every US election is an embarrassment, right off the bat. The Electoral College is total BS and the death knell of every third party. The two-party system forces upon the American people the least distinguished, blandest contenders, the ones more likely to placate the media-smothered, change-fearing public.
While my left-wing, red-haired Brazilian Jewish cousin considers Clinton to be a “healthcare sellout,” he hopes she wins because“there’s going to be worldwide hell to pay if the American people elect the Ewok-haired, real estate Lyndon LaRouche for the highest office of the Republic.”
My cousin naturally wanted Bernie Sanders on the ticket, not Clinton. “He was my absolute wet dream. Sanders versus Trump would have been the ultimate clear-cut choice: a veritable showdown of good against evil, like Daredevil up against the Kingpin.”
Not all foreigners are rooting for Clinton.
“This election is not a brilliant moment in American history,” my cousin noted, somberly. “And Europeans are looking at it all in disbelief.”