Who would the world have voted into the White House, had it a vote?

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 9, 2016

us-elexMuch of the world – the more populous parts to the east – wakes not knowing who America has elected to be its next president.

But who would the world have voted into the White House, had it a vote?

The pollster YouGov conducted a survey of 19 nations, asking people to pick either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president of the United States,

As The Economist put it, the survey found that “Mr Trump’s appeal seems limited to America. He would win less than 25 per cent of the vote in all of the other countries surveyed.”

The Economist pointed out that India is not a fan of Mr Trump, despite his recent claim he is an admirer “of Hindu [sic] and a big fan of India”. YouGov found that just 20 per cent of the Indians surveyed would vote for him.

In Vietnam, Mr Trump garnered 12 per cent support. In Malaysia, 9 per cent. In Denmark, less than 4 per cent.

But those who support the UK Independence Party (UKIP, which is in Britain, obviously) rather likes Mr Trump.

Forget Mr Trump’s abysmal figures in Denmark for a moment. It has a European mindset. Forget UKIP for a moment. It is anti-European, a right-wing part of the British political landscape. Instead, consider Mr Trump’s support in India, in Vietnam and in Malaysia. These are countries that export human capital (as well as goods) to America and the West. They want access, entry, a listening ear. Their tepid enthusiasm for a Trump presidency indicates that the billionaire is seen as threatening to non-Caucasian vendors of labour and services. Their unease about Mr Trump is a self-preservation strategy. That can hardly be good for America in this century when building bridges and doing deals is important.

That said, Mr Trump does not admittedly have to reassure the Indians, Vietnamese and Malays.  An American president is elected to serve the people of the United States, not the rest of the world for all that the US is the most powerful and richest country on the planet.

But global opinion does tell us something important about how the world perceives America and how it dreams about it. In America’s imperfections, its very public striving towards self-improvement and its sturdy, if sometimes wobbly rules of fair play, the world sees a way forward. Or possibly, the way forward. How else to do anything without blowing up the system?
Mr Trump, the world fears, might set off the fireworks just for the heck of it.