SR is read in 125 countries around the world, and I frequently hear from readers in those nations. Recently I have begun to get emails from outside the U.S. basically asking: “What in the world is going on in the U.S.? How can a man like Donald Trump be a serious contender for President?”
I don’t think many Americans, including people in the media, really think much about how this trip through the Great Grimpen Mire of sleaze that is the current election cycle plays in other countries. We all should though, because it is going to haunt us for years. So here’s some background data about which I think you ought to be aware.
When Donald Trump repeatedly claims the election is “rigged,” it doesn’t just undermine voter confidence at home. It can also hurt the country’s standing around the world, where people have been closely following the presidential race.
Because of the United States’ predominant role in geopolitics and global economics, foreign governments and their citizens scrutinize the candidates and their positions, which can hint at future American policies. The campaign also acts as a snapshot of American democracy. According to political scientist Joseph Nye, America’s soft power—its ability to persuade foreign leaders and exert influence abroad—partly depends on how the rest of world interprets our political process, values and outcomes.
In order to assess what the world has been thinking about the ongoing election, we’ve been tracking global media coverage via 60 different news outlets in regions that represent over 1.5 billion people. Using the Media Monitoring …