Outrage over Trump's electoral fraud speculations

After the third TV debate in the US election campaign 2106, all the attention is focussed on Donald Trump's statement that he might not recognise the results of the election. In saying this Trump has sullied democracy and declared himself a loser, commentators say. They also warn that if the old guard wins we won't have seen the last of populism.

Open/close all quotes
Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Trump has the media around his little finger

For Helsingin Sanomat, Trump's claims about electoral fraud are a cunning chess move:

“Trump knows what the polls are saying and he knows that he will probably lose. But he doesn't want to spend the last week of the election campaign in the sidelines. So he has to give the media something to chew on. ... And by implying that he has no intention of playing his role like a good boy, Trump has managed to grab all the attention once more. ... He has had the media wrapped around his little finger for the duration of this election campaign. As you will have noticed, in this commentary I, too, am concentrating on Trump rather than Hillary Clinton. ”

El País (ES) /

A stress test for American democracy

All that remains at the end of this election campaign is a pile of broken crockery, El País laments:

“It is no exaggeration to say that US democracy has been going through a stress test ever since Trump decided he wanted to become the Republican presidential candidate and move into the White House. The party is deeply divided and shaken to the core, its leaders forced to watch the often absurd blathering of its official candidate on TV and the Democratic candidate forced to respond to pointless attacks on more than one occasion. Trump carried on regardless, striding across every conceivable red line in the belief that he is immune to the fires he starts. But on Thursday morning he went too far. ... Like all bad losers Trump hurls the game to the ground when he loses, defiling in the process the democracy that has tolerated him with resignation.”

Le Vif / L'Express (BE) /

Trump's carefully devised business plan

Le Vif/L'Express explains why Trump has no real inclination to rally support beyond his own camp:

“According to observers he doesn't even want to win. Why? Because his future market - what really interests him - is the market of white America. He knows this class lacks the numbers to get him into the White House. But he has secured its support. By launching a TV channel that disseminates his views with all their excesses for this class, he can secure a juicy advertising market. … Trump knows that his hotel business ceased to be lucrative long ago. So now he wants to switch to the media industry. Just imagine a Trump News media outlet that dedicates itself for the next four years to attacking President Hillary Clinton's every move: a delight for all those voters who fiercely detest her.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Populism not defeated with Clinton's election

Hillary Clinton's victory seems certain after the last TV debate. But what if that means victory for the establishment everywhere else? political scientist Lucio Caracciolo asks worriedly in La Repubblica:

“Because then the prophets predicting an imminent apocalypse now that the remains of liberal democracy have been taken hostage by irresponsible demagogues or xenophobic ultra-nationalists would have to beat a retreat and inform us that the emergency is over. Everything is fine again, better than before, in fact. They would be wrong though. The sickness that has befallen western democracies to a greater or lesser extent will not be cured with an election victory which is revocable by definition, and still less with the rhetoric of goodwill. The sickness can only be fought and perhaps cured if we give the people an opportunity to chose between two real alternatives.”

Aamulehti (FI) /

Why Clinton held back

Hillary Clinton went easy on Donald Trump in the TV debate so as to win over undecided voters, Aamulehti suspects:

“Clinton was cleverer than expected in that she was likely vying for the votes of the undecided, moderate conservative voters. Perhaps this is why she chose not to destroy Trump in Las Vegas. The liberals and the radicals would no doubt have loved to see a political ritual slaughter on Wednesday evening. Clinton disappointed them. But if she had wiped the floor with her opponent she would only have reaffirmed the intentions of those who have already decided to vote Democrat. By speaking out for upholding traditional American values she was courting new supporters. She is hoping to attract votes from those states where Trump is now struggling, having had a clear lead until just recently.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Democrats could face Brexit scenario

According to the polls Hillary Clinton is set to win the election. But the Democrats cannot afford to be complacent, De Morgen warns:

“The aversion to Clinton could mean that despite everything lots of Republicans vote for Trump in the end, a man they actually liked a few weeks ago. Plus, the polls do not take the shame factor into account. Many Trump voters are candidly open, but there are also plenty of Americans who don't want others to know who they support. ... The Hillary campaign will now go all out to mobilise the Democrat voters and drive it home to them that they must go out and vote on 8 November. ... We can only hope that Clinton doesn't make the same mistake as the Remain camp in Britain: they won the polls but lost the referendum against politicians who are almost impossible to gauge rationally and who are capable of making sure horrible things happen when it matters most.”

Huffington Post Italia (IT) /

Trump wants to destroy faith in democracy

When asked at the end of the debate whether he would recognise the election result, Trump refused to commit himself. His position casts doubt on America's most sacred values, the Huffington Post Italia states:

“The fact that if he were to lose the 8 November election, Trump might refuse to recognise the result, constitutes a break with a political-religious dogma in which all Americans believe unconditionally. It is the first time such a thing has happened in the history of US democracy, the first time in 240 years. It is a new phenomenon that speaks volumes about the gravity of the political crisis in which the country finds itself, a country that is the leading power of the western world. ... It is clear Trump's candidacy has been all about heresy. He is shaking people's political-religious belief in America. The problem is the millions of Americans who just can't get enough of this heretic.”

Die Zeit (DE) /

Europe would be immune to Trump

The weekly paper Die Zeit explains why a politician like Donald Trump would never make it to the top in Europe:

“To put it bluntly, in Europe frustrated citizens have to found a new party, for example the AfD. In America they can take an old one hostage - just as their man Trump has done, and the 'socialist' Sanders very nearly, too. In Europe a desperado won't get further than the party committees. And if somehow he does manage to pull off a coup? Unlike the American electoral system the European system doesn't produce absolute majorities, only coalitions. If a Trump hijacked an old party he would be blocked by its established members. And outside it you can kick up a fuss but you can't have a share in government. But in the American two-party system a Trump can indeed become president and revamp the republic. Europe, you're better off. There are no clear majorities, so the system balances itself out. Boring, but stable. If it wasn't for Austria, Hungary and Poland ...”

More opinions

Der Standard (AT) / 21 October 2016
  Blame the others: Trump's long-term ego-protection strategy (in German)