The world is watching this Presidential election cycle with more than the usual interest. Presidential elections are always of interest to other countries. We have the largest economy in the World, a tremendous cultural influence and of course the military capacity to destroy the world several times over. Some of these countries, such as Italy, have had centuries of political campaigns and intrigues, but none have ever seen anything like Trump vs. Clinton. They are watching in astonished horror at the self-destruction of American politics and respect in the world.
If you follow foreign media giants such as the Toronto Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Deutsche Zeitungen, Times of India or The Australian, you can see a gradual evolution from the novelty of Trump, to surprise that a xenophobic nationalist movement could become a political force in the USA, to a mockery of our system and genuine fear of a Trump victory. This election is a source of humor and derision of America in foreign media, and a source of comfort to our adversaries.
The fact that our elections have gone from being the democratic model to the world to an object of derision is bad enough, but the damage being done to our overall prestige and influence in the world is considerable. Our adversaries must be relishing the idea that the typical American acts and talks like Trump, or that bedrock principles of Americanism are so easily abandoned because of fear.
This campaign may have destroyed the GOP. It might have destroyed any opportunity for the next administration to succeed. But even if Hillary should win, the damage has been done to our image and influence around the world. Even Trump supporters rail about the lack of respect our country gets, although they probably would attribute it all to Obama. With a month to go in the campaign we will see an unshackled Trump raging like King Kong on the Empire State building (while grabbing a white woman), but the World will see the evolution of an America in Trump’s image: vulgar, buffoonish and a self-perpetuating parody of what America used to be.