The world is watching our presidential election, and just like our own country, holding its breath. Seth Doane has been watching the watchers:
It may be America’s election, but the world is watching.
The presidential campaign is headline news in neighboring Mexico, where that “wall” (and who’d pay for it) is a regular part of the discourse.
Russia has figured prominently with allegations of hacking and trying to influence the election.
- How the U.S. election is playing out in Russia (“CBS Evening News”)
Some leaders have started to publically court candidates. Israel’s prime minister has kept his options open, meeting with both, while North Korea’s state media indicated that country would lean Trump.
Sarah Varetto, vice president of news at Italy’s Sky TG 24, believes people there are paying more attention to this election than in years past. “I think in this case, with Donald Trump as a candidate, it’s a huge story.”
Varetto says they’re dedicating “more and more” airtime to the campaign, because it’s good TV.
“We cannot imagine two candidates that are so different, or more opposed,” she said. “And also because of this campaign. It is dominated by scandal.”
And, it’s not just the personalities, but the political issues that are relevant. In particular, she says, the rise of populism, and not just in the United States.
“I think there is a part of society in the U.S., but also here in Europe that is not voting for something or somebody, for a political platform, but they simply are voting against the establishment,” Varetto said.
Take Brexit, for example, the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union, or Iceland’s anti-establishment , which tripled its parliamentary seats in a recent election.
Sky News in Britain is promoting its coverage with a rap battle spoof that pits the “candidates” against each other in a boxing ring.
Appropriate, since in real life, this match has gotten ugly.
Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged it’s made it tricky to push world leaders to promote democracy. “There are moments when it is downright embarrassing,” Kerry said.
At a rally in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani asked Iranians, “Is this the kind of democracy you want?”
In China, where the ruling Communist Party often speaks through state media. A recent “Xinhua” commentary noted the election revealed the “defects … of democracy,” adding, “the selection of [the U.S.] leader has become a shouting match of insults.”
Still, CBS News found Chinese watching the presidential debate at a Beijing coffee shop, live at 9 a.m.
The debates aired at 3 a.m. local time in Italy. Sarah Varetto told us Italians tuned in anyway. “Yeah, we have ten times the usual audience that we have during the night,” she said.
People in each country, of course, are paying attention to the issues that will affect them most. In Iran, it may be the future of the nuclear deal; in Mexico, issues of immigration and trade.
In Italy, parallels have been drawn between Donald Trump and the scandal-plagued billionaire businessman and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The world is watching, and wondering, and can barely wait for November 9th.