Spas (htpcl) wrote in talk_politics,
Spas
htpcl
talk_politics

The Euros are like: "Trump? WTF!?"


Greetings, ma'fellow popcorn-munching scandal-consumers smart, reasonable, decent folks! Drat... this guy is everywhere! He has even somehow managed to populate my TV box - although I'm sitting here in the backward Balkans, thousands of miles away from the ridiculous circus that you guys call "US presidential primaries". As shocking as that may seem, Donald Trump is obviously hell-bent on becoming US president. For our American brethren, that may not sound so weird, but for many Europeans, frankly, it's unthinkable. A person without any political experience who's running for the highest post in the land, is boasting publicly about his wealth, and making fun of the painful experience of a war veteran - you may imagine how bewildered the Euros are about all this.

Just to put this into perspective, the most scandalous and ill-mouthed political person at the European political scene for the last few years has been some obscure finance minister who until recently was mostly famous for his leather jacket and his motorbike (yes, I'm speaking of Varoufakis). Even he was considered something unacceptable by the political elites at this side of the Pond, while Trump is currently heading the polls in the GOP primaries even after having spewed a shitload of crap. You can already hear a big "WTF" coming from Europe, can't you?

It's evident that us Euros and Americans perceive the qualities of their politicians quite differently. Trump is coming from the ranks of big business and passes for someone who has the "guts" to speak his mind (however stupid it may be) - he's a colorful, unusual, unconventional candidate - while Europeans prefer the more composed, calmer, more refined type of politicians.

As colorful a character as he may be, in Europe Trump is mostly known for his TV show, where he enjoys the privilege of being able to hire and fire people at will. When he made his announcement that he was running for president, people saw him descending upon the unwashed masses on his private elevator in his private skyscraper on the 5th Av. in New York. Yeah, we all saw that. It was yet another proof that he's an arrogant, self-centered asshole who perceives himself as a media darling - so he didn't spare his audience his spicy rhetoric this time, either. He has said he owns a Gucci boutique that costs more than Mitt Romney's entire wealth. But that was only the beginning. His shenanigans on Mexican immigration were by far more scandalous. ("They're rapists ... and I suppose there are some good people among them"). Thing is, the media does love people like him, because scandal sells. Big time. And Trump is a gold mine in that respect.

Granted, the media covers politics in a different way in America compared to Europe. There are two clearly defined camps in the US, so people with leftist or conservative convictions can just choose the info channel that suits their worldview better. A figure like Trump is enjoying so much success because he's a polarizing factor that the media love to either worship or hate. The European media, in contrast, largely share the same values and views, which is why their attitude to the likes of this clown is quite the same: very negative. And their audience, respectively, is shocked, shocked!, I tell you!, at the sight of someone who can afford to speak such grotesque monstrosities, and pass as a serious political figure in the meantime. It just doesn't compute. It grinds on our sensitive Euro ears.

In Europe, being politically inexperienced is much more unacceptable than it is in the US, where in certain circumstances that could even be an asset. Americans do love people who are not part of the establishment, which is why so many of them view Trump as a maverick, especially when comparing him to the likes of Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.

In other words, the "unpolitical politician" is a phenomenon that's almost unfamiliar in Europe. There *are* some populists like Le Pen and Tsipras, who get a lot of attention as persons, but their political programs tend to be viewed with suspicion. With Trump, things are looking rather differently.

The only politician who tried to behave somewhat similar to Trump's pattern in Europe that comes to mind is one Peer Steinbrueck, a Social-Democrat candidate in Germany who back in 2013 used a sharp tongue during an interview for a big German magazine. He even dared to flip the bird at the camera. That didn't go well with the public at all, who considered it too vulgar and immature. So, Steinbrueck was crushed at the election. We shall see how far this sort of behavior brings Trump in the race to the presidency.
Tags: elections, scandal, trump
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