Donald Trump: no longer a joke

Article published on Nov. 9, 2016
Article published on Nov. 9, 2016

The ramblings of Donald Trump have now become a reality. This morning Europe awoke to find that Trump would be leading the United States for the coming four years. Although Hillary Clinton was believed to fly ahead in the polls, the results reflected a victory that will affect not only the US, but the rest of the world. 

The facts no longer count - The Independent, UK

The fact that Donald Trump has been able to get so far despite his many untrue assertions is proof that post-truth politics has the upper hand, columnist Matthew Norman complains in the Independent:

"The truth has become so devalued that what was once the gold standard of political debate is a worthless currency. ... How did we come to a mass state of altered consciousness, as foreseen by George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four? ... Trump is not the originator of a frantic desire to flee reality. He is its manifestation. How this even begins to be reversed, how internet-reared and internet-addled generations can be taught to venerate provable fact over the lies which reinforce whichever truth they have chosen, I have no idea.”  (9/11/16)

The dam of xenophobia has broken - România Liberă, Romania

Trump's election win will strengthen xenophobic parties all over the world, writes România Liberă:

“It has become increasingly clear that the Western world has had enough of being friendly and open to those who need help and to the foreigners in their midst. The growing popularity of right-wing extremists in Europe is proof of this. The Brexit, which is mainly driven by the desire to get rid of migrants in the UK, is the official confirmation. And the election of Donald Trump is the current climax of this profound intolerance. The misogyny, racism, aggressiveness towards migrants and pro-Putinism propagated by the man who will be the president of the most powerful country on this planet are now things and values which all those who had honoured them in secret can now display openly. This is the core of the disaster that will ensue.” (9/11/16)

Paying for a misguided policy - The Irish Independent, Ireland 

With a rigid monetary policy in the 1980s and the Nafta free trade agreement, the US Federal Reserve and previous governments deliberately weakened the middle class in the US - paving the way for Trump's victory, the Irish Independent comments:

“The political cost of these developments has been the gradual erosion of the working man's wages and the marked amplification of inequality. ... Ultimately, the Fed won its 20-year war on inflation but at a cost of greater social inequality, which would come back to dominate this presidential campaign. The undermining of the American working- and lower middle-class was not the unintended consequence of policy; it was the aim of policy - and now America is paying for it. This is what has happened in the US and this is what is behind this election result.” (9/11/16)

Is Obama partly to blame? - Jornal de Negócios, Portugal 

Jornal de Negócios wonders, was it eight years of Obama that ultimately led to Trump's victory?

“It is legitimate to ask whether eight years of Obama can help explain why this new cycle in US politics is beginning with such a divided America. Several US analyses have put forward the hypothesis that Obama himself created the substrate for Trump's rise. Did Obama trivialise the concerns of white, conservative America, of the white American without a college education - or even sacrifice them for those of the minorities? Is Obama to blame for this broken America? After all, he bears the responsibility for the last eight years of government. ... The world will not end with this 'Brexit-style' Trump victory. But it will probably become a worse place to live in.” (8/11/16)

This America will not be great again - Právo, Czech Republic 

Donald Trump will have a hard time implementing his campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," Právo predicts:

“A divided country can hardly be great. And America will remain divided as long as one tenth of the population continues to accumulate wealth while the queues of those who depend on food stamps grow even longer because people can't make ends meet in the most moneyed country in the world. ... After these elections the world's only superpower will do even more navel-gazing. For the US, the rest of the planet will become a place where it half-heartedly maintains old alliances, or even flexes its muscles just to divert attention from domestic problems. Both prospects are not exactly encouraging.” (9/11/16)

Fight fear and anger - Les Echos, France

The same factors that are dominating Europe's current political discourse held sway in the US election campaign, Les Echos points out:

“Fear for one's own identity and anger over economic decline. ... The fears of the simple white man, who is condemned to becoming a minority by the middle of this century, reflect the fears of a 'huge population exchange' that populists have been exploiting in Europe. Just as Donald Trump was able to get people who had stopped voting to go to the polls again, Marine Le Pen is in the process of waking up a silent France. And let there be no mistake: in America, as in France and Germany, the newly elected leaders will need an exceptionally strong will and enormous legitimacy to overcome the germs of disintegration that are now firmly anchored in our societies, represented by multiculturalism and communitarianism.” (9/11/16)

US facing four lost years - De Tijd, Belgium

De Tijd wants to see the renewal of US democracy:

“American politics is reaping what was sown years ago. The rift between the Republicans and Democrats has grown in recent years. … A new political culture is needed to reconcile the US with its politicians and itself. … It's hard to see Donald Trump as the conciliatory figure who can lift American politics out of its misery. There's a high probability that the US is in for four lost years. … The country has reached the end of a political cycle and the politicians must have the courage to change the political structure. The two-party system is completely outdated: the Republican Party is increasingly a melting pot for all kinds of far-right tendencies that are far removed from traditional conservatism. And the Democratic Party is dominated by a few great dynasties that won't allow renewal.” (9/11/16)

Trade wars and security threats - Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

A global trade war and less security for Europe are the likely consequences of Trump's victory, Gazeta Wyborcza believes:

“The Republican candidate has contradicted himself and changed sides so often that one really doesn't know what to expect from his term in office. ... But if you look at the statements he's trumpeted the loudest, his mandate will above all mean the following: the foundations of free international trade will be weakened in favour of economic protectionism. Trump has signalled his willingness to renegotiate the terms. That concerns not only the free trade zone with Canada and Mexico (Nafta). He has proposed high tariffs on goods from Mexico (35 percent) and - more importantly - from China (45 percent). This could lead to global trade wars. In addition, the US's security guarantee for Europe will be watered down. In line with his maxim 'America First', Trump plans to focus above all on his own country's interests.” (9/11/16)

Icy times - Die Welt, Germany 

The new US government faces major challenges in foreign policy, Die Welt maintains, seeing icy times ahead:

“Those who warn of a new cold war are overlooking the fact that it began long ago, but following a different script than in the 1940s and 50s. The world won't give the new government in the White House a 100-day pause. Russia is demonstrating in eastern Ukraine and Syria how the phase of crippling agitation surrounding the election and the change of government in the US can be used to present the world with this or that fait accompli. Nato partner Turkey is sending contradictory signals in all directions. The Europeans are holding their breath and should have realised much sooner that the times of America's Europe-first-strategy are over, that Russia is continually testing the West, today in Eastern Europe, tomorrow on the Black Sea, and that, in a nutshell, the North Atlantic Alliance lacks a sustainable containment strategy.” (9/11/16)

US president not an autocrat - Salzburger Nachrichten, Austria 

The US president may be the most important politician in the world but he is not all-powerful, the Salzburger Nachrichten stresses:

“He's the leader of the executive branch - the 'head of government' in the European sense. So when the Americans speak of 'the government', they mean all those who do politics 'in Washington', meaning the president plus Congress. Seen from that perspective, the American 'government' is comprised not only of the president (and his administration), but also of the other 535 people who govern the country, namely the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. ... Consequently the supposedly most powerful politician in the world must share power with one of the most powerful parliaments in the world. The political powers hold each other in check (checks and balances). The president won't be able to bypass Congress or the judiciary.” (9/11/16)

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