Many Germans regard the presidential election in the United States with apprehension today as their most important ally toys with electing what the Cologne-base tabloid Express has called a “horror clown”.
Donald Trump’s German roots are no source of pride in the country of his grandfather.
Even the populist and right-wing daily Bild, which shares Trump’s critiques of multiculturalism and globalization, calls the New Yorker a “dumb, lying, dangerous, sexist swindler.”
An op-ed in Die Welt laments that whatever Americans decide on Tuesday, Europeans will have to live with the consequences.
Europeans hold their breath and should have recognized much earlier that the time of an American “Europe First” strategy is over; that Russia is challenging the West, today in Eastern Europe, tomorrow in the Black Sea; and that, in a word, the North Atlantic alliance lacks a viable strategy of containment.
Expect more of such pessimism to take hold if Trump wins the election.
Germans also worry that Trump’s rise forebodes similar trends in continental Europe.
Veit Medick argues in Der Spiegel, Germany’s premier left-leaning weekly, that the Republican’s success isn’t just due to economic hardship or a reactionary hatred of government. It’s also based on Trump’s willingness to break all the rules of decency.
In doing so, he has exposed democracy’s vulnerability to demagogues, Medick writes:
This is the frightening thing about his candidacy. All it takes is a dazzling personality with a simple message and a spectacular lack of scruples — and a substantial part of the population shuts off its brain.
This doesn’t bode well for the upcoming elections in France and Germany, according to Medick, where nationalist movements similar to Trump’s are planning their ascent.