Why are Trump and Johnson still so popular?

Despite impeachment proceedings for Trump and a crushing defeat before Britain's Supreme Court for Johnson, the two leaders are as popular as ever. Journalists discuss why these two politicians still stand a good chance of winning the next elections in their respective countries: today in two opinion pieces on Donald Trump.

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Večernji list (HR) /

The facts are in the US president's favour

Trump stands a good chance of being re-elected, Vecernji list explains:

“The fact is that things have improved in the US and the unemployment rate is at a record low. The fact is that the economy is growing and the number of illegal immigrants is dropping, which was one of the main concerns of average Americans, especially in the south of the country. ... The fact is that jobs are returning to US factories and, as far as foreign policy is concerned, the main thing for the average American is that Trump supplies weapons to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps Trump is not a good US president in the eyes of the rest of the world. But for most Americans he's the president they've been waiting for. And they will do everything they can to give him another mandate in the White House.”

segodnya.ua (UA) /

Trump's style goes down well

In segodnya.ua US political scientist Jason Smart lists more factors that could lead to President Trump winning a second mandate:

“It's scandal after scandal. That's his style. That's normal for him. Why? When you can keep changing the agenda like this, few people can remember the next day what happened the day before. ... The Democrats are losing the support of the working class. Trump is a very simple creature. He wrote to Erdoğan: Don't be a fool! That's how people talk to each other on the street. The average American doesn't read serious diplomatic texts. The typical voter in the US doesn't know where Turkey is or who Erdoğan is. For these people Trump's letter hits the mark. Cool, the average American thinks.”

De Standaard (BE) /

The unimaginable has become reality

De Standaard sees a major threat to democracy:

“Suddenly, the tools that were once set up for the unlikely, purely hypothetical scenario of the executive getting the crazy idea of developing totalitarian traits must now be put into operation. We now find ourselves in this unfortunate situation. This is a great challenge for liberal democracy. Not only because of the shamelessness with which Trump and Johnson are trampling on the basic rules of the political system, but also because of the sympathy that this is eliciting from their supporters. ... Democracy is being used as a weapon against itself. The opposition is cornered.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

The duel between democracy and populism

Trump and Johnson are symbols of today's conflict between leaders and parliaments, columnist Antonio Polito comments in Corriere della Sera:

“A tug of war is going on across the globe between old parliaments and new, rising autocrats. ... On the one side are the leaders, who seek to derive all their power from their own position and their direct ties with the people. On the other side are the parliaments, which want to subject these leaders to the law that they as representatives implement. This is inevitably an ambivalent battle, because when it comes down to it the etymology of the two diametrically opposed terms 'democracy' and 'populism' is the same: the Greek term 'demos' means the same thing as the Latin term 'populus'.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Return to the way things used to be unlikely

Populist politicians will continue to be successful as long as social discontent prevails, writes Helsingin Sanomat:

“In strongly polarised societies only the version put forward by one's own side is believed. If deep distrust of the opposing side prevails, not even a violation of the law will turn the most passionate supporters against their leader. This is not the end of the story. At some point the political leaders will be replaced. But if the reasons for popular discontent persist, there will probably be no return to the old days. ... It has already become clear that harsh speeches can help potential successors come to power.”