I, like every American from Toronto to Timbuktu and even unknown corners, have been watching the fiasco that is the presidential election process and the show-stopper that is Donald Trump.
Each week that I write this column I have pledged not to weigh in on the campaign. As a former political editor and as former Washington Bureau Chief for The Detroit News, you can imagine how difficult that has been.
But my silence is being broken today.
I wondered what my fellow expats think about the way that Donald Trump is being portrayed in the media abroad and so, I decided to ask. There are 7.5 million Americans living abroad – that’s potentially a lot of votes!
I reached out on Facebook to some of my American friends who live in Austria. Though it is not scientific research, it gives some indication of how a Trump presidency is playing abroad. Here is what they had to say:
“I would be devastatingly embarrassed by a President Trump. As an American living abroad I am frequently taken aback by how much attention is paid to our elections on an international level. Unfortunately I am often left at a loss for words in explanation of the most common question: Donald Trump. The vast majority of Americans know that even if Trump ran against a coconut, he would never be president. However, it is impossible to explain the disgraceful state of “the Republican Party,” that has for the last 8 years laid the groundwork for a Donald Trump to succeed … If/when Trump receives the most votes by the Republican Convention, you will see the mainstream GOP align against him enough to effectively elect a Democrat this cycle, thus saving the integrity of The GOP for 2020,” wrote Anthony Hill.
“I have to quote someone else on the subject of Trump. I could not say it any better than Mugatu…’Does anyone else notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!’ But honestly, I have my theories. 1. Trump wasn’t getting enough attention and, win or lose, he stands to get a whole lot of attention. This is a complete ego trip. 2. He wants to destroy the Republican Party, as this would be the only way for his friends to get back into the White House. He is a Clinton fan, and she would have no chance without a divided Republican Party. 3. Regardless of his motives for running, he doesn’t believe a word he says. He will say what he needs to say to get the “angry and scared” people in America to give him the attention he wants. What he is saying, even if he doesn’t believe it, is scary and it is scary that so many ‘Republicans’ are flocking to him. I always held out hope that ‘Republicans’ and ‘Evangelicals’ were not the crazy type that the liberal media always portray them to be, but he somehow is gaining their support. (NOTE: I identify myself as both Republican and Evangelical. I put quotes above because the things Trump is saying are not indicative of either Republican or Evangelical sensibilities. The quotes indicate that these people supporting Trump are neither truly Republican, nor Evangelical.) In regards to if Trump actually gets the nomination and wins the election and becomes … President Trump … (I just threw-up a little), I would explain that, as an American who is proud of his country, I see Trump as a result of an increasing inability of diametrically-opposed world views to live in harmony with each other. No country is immune to such problems and we don’t have to go too far into history to see the problems of European countries. .. Or we can just observe what is happening right now in European politics and reply, ‘Who would like to cast the first stone?’
In conclusion, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills,” wrote Bobby Harnist.
“I joked with my wife (Czech) that if Trump wins I’d consider Czech citizenship. If he does win then I’ll be praying that it’s only for four years!,” said Brian Reynolds, who is originally from Illinois
In an article written last November about the group Democrats Abroad, Guardian newspaper writer Jana Kasperkevic quoted 23-year-old Alyssa Chassman, an American studying in London, as saying: “How could this man get even close to touching the White House? Within all of my American friends here, we are all kind of like … if he wins, we are not going back.
The Arab Times quoted David McCarthy, a native of Pittsburgh who lives in Saudi Arabia as saying: “Donald Trump does not represent the majority of Americans and his views are unconstitutional. America is a diverse country of immigrants and that’s what makes America strong. As an American, I welcome all people to my country,” he said.
Despite these comments, there are clearly many people who support Donald Trump, unfortunately – or fortunately – I could not find any in my limited research.
Regardless, the good news may be that more potential American voters are paying attention to this election, and in the end, that’s a very good thing.