Spaniards Don’t Take Trump Seriously, Take Clinton for Granted

Spaniards assume Trump cannot win, but they haven’t given much thought to a Clinton presidency either.

The sun rises in Madrid, Spain, June 14, 2011
The sun rises in Madrid, Spain, June 14, 2011 (Wendy Rauw)

There is unanimous support across the Spanish political spectrum for Hillary Clinton. Even on the Spanish political right, Donald Trump is seen as beyond the pale.

Spanish politicians have been obsessed with their own problems, however. In recent weeks, the Socialist Party has removed its leader and then abstained in parliament to allow the center-right People’s Party of Mariano Rajoy to form a government. Having finally achieved a government after nearly a year of interparty squabbling, Spain had perhaps understandably been distracted from events elsewhere in the world.

That said, there has been little debate about what a Trump presidency would mean — for Spain, Europe or Latin America. Spaniards simply assume that Trump cannot possibly win.

But neither has there been any real analysis of a potential Clinton Administration. Spanish commentators tend to treat it as the only viable outcome and assume it would mean business as usual — a continuation of the Obama policies. Few realize Clinton’s priorities may be different, that her focus is on Asia and that she insists Europe needs to pay more for its own defense.

Nor has much thought been given to the dangers of a weakened Clinton presidency as a consequence of divided government and Republican opposition. Moscow looks far away from Madrid. As Spain embarks on a weak and unstable minority government, relations with Washington will not be a priority (Brexit is more urgent). The focus in Spain will be on squaring its own budgetary circle with Brussels without bringing down the government it took so long to form.

Leave a reply