Geopolitics

Women And The White House, Foreign Eye On Campaign 2016

Global coverage of the U.S. presidential race has zeroed in recently on the gender issue, from the only woman in the race, Trump's wife and the influence of female voters.

Trump supporter at meeting in Bethpage, New York, on April 7
Trump supporter at meeting in Bethpage, New York, on April 7
Worldcrunch

Top Italian women's magazine Io Donna ("I, Woman"), a weekly supplement of Milan daily Corriere della Sera, has been busy covering the U.S. campaign in its own way. Io Donna columnist Costanza Rizzacasa d'Orsogna has reported in recent weeks on a women's movement in the U.S. to block Trump's election by refusing to have sex with their husbands until the misogynist billionaire is defeated. Rizzacasa d'Orsogna has also covered the apparent falling-out between unlikely gal pal VIP daughters Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump, the competing political loyalties of Hollywood stars, and the latest twists and turns in the primaries of both parties. But most notable may be the moniker of Rizzacasa d'Orsogna's campaign series, which leaves no room for doubt about how she sees America's future: Hillarylandia.

It's not the only global coverage focusing on female voters and the only woman in the race for the presidency, as Worldcrunch continues to follow foreign coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign, from all languages and corners of the world.

In a piece titled "Why Does America Dislike Hillary Clinton?" Katarzyna Wezyk writes in Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that sexism remains a pervasive plague and that a capable woman in the United States "apparently is still two steps behind a man."

"Toughness is a stereotypically male attribute," she writes. "It is men who need to be aggressive and pertinacious. It's their job to protect a woman, the family and the country. If a woman wants to be successful in politics, she needs to prove that she is tougher than her male competitors, that she will not let others push her around and that she will not serve sandwiches. But if she is tough and hard-boiled, she stops being womanlike. She becomes a Tartar, a butch or an ordinary bitch. A man who defends his opinions is assertive, a woman — aggressive. And indeed nobody likes an aggressive woman. On the other hand, nobody wants weak leaders. So either way is no good."


The Melania card

In a fascinating Yonder News essay entitled, "Can Melania Knauss Save America?" New York-based Andrej Mrevlje ponders what will become of his fellow Slovenian-born Big Apple transplant Melania Knauss Trump, "a former model, now the third wife of the most stormy, reckless, impolite, vulgar, violent and bossy presidential candidate that American politics has ever encountered."

"To me, Melania is similar to a sleeper cell," Mrevlje writes. "She's not a terrorist, of course, but she could be radicalized in the same way former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's wife, Veronica Lario, was."

He notes that Berlusconi approached his future bride, a B-list actress, on a bus station in Milan and ultimately fell "for her big boobs." Like Melania, she lived in a lavish home and was in the background throughout much of their marriage. "Then Veronica met an intellectual — a philosopher and former mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari — and became radicalized. She'd had enough of her husband's nonsense. Illuminated by Cacciari, she didn't want her kids to be like their father. She filed for divorce and started the end of Berlusconi era. All this after the whole country failed to get rid of him."

Feminism in the age of Trump

Trump's "misogyny firestorm" over the past few weeks — in which he argued that women who have abortions should be punished, among other things — has provided a "tidy" solution for Clinton's "woman problem," columnist Nicole Hemmen writes for Australia's The Age.

"An April 1 Gallup poll showed that seven out of 10 women view Trump unfavorably," Hemmen writes. "With Trump as the nominee, the debate over women's role in politics and society moves back several decades, making Clinton's second-wave feminism relevant again. In the face of Trump's anti-women politics and rhetoric, Clinton has an opportunity to position herself as both an underdog and as a feminist icon who transcends generational boundaries."

First dude

The New York correspondent for Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo focuses on what could be Bill Clinton's role in the White House if he returns as "first dude" or "first gentleman." It's unlikely he'll be making tea for the president, Anna Virginia Balloussier writes, nor should we expect to see him engage in a cookie bakeoff, as Hillary did with Barbara Bush.

Instead, the former president's role would be one of political support, with Columbia University Professor Robert Shapiro saying that America's first female president would likely entrust him with certain policy matters, as Bill had in fact done by letting Hillary lead the (ultimately futile) attempt to reform the health care system in 1993. But what would no doubt remain unchanged, says first lady expert Carl Anthony, is that people will continue commenting on the woman's wardrobe and not on the "first gentleman's" tuxedo.

Unfit to be tied

William Hague, former British foreign secretary and secretary of state, a staunch conservative, writes in The Telegraph that Donald Trump is "unfit" to be president. "We foreigners have to be careful how we comment. Yet with Donald Trump having swept, until this week, so much before him, it is vital we try to understand what is going on in America."

Hague tackles in detail some of Trump's more troubling foreign policy convictions, but he writes that there are more fundamental problems with the 69-year-old Republican candidate. "Two characteristics make Trump fundamentally unfit to be president: his attitude to women and the way he treats rivals. The first of these, including crude and offensive remarks about female interviewers and candidates, shows deeply patronizing instincts. This isn't just foul manners. It really matters because the way to liberate the greatest quantity of untapped talent in the 21st century is to achieve the full social, political and economic empowerment of women. Having a leader of the world's most powerful country who shows no recognition of that cannot be a good idea."

In a piece entitled, "Donald Trump would never rise to the top in Australia," political consultant Ed Coper argues in the Sydney Morning Herald that "loudmouthed narcissistic billionaires with political aspirations exist the world over, but rarely do they capture the political imagination in the way Trump has enthralled America."

"Sometimes, though, with enough bluster and stardom you only need one message: America is losing, when it should be winning. That intersection of patriotism, pedestals and political plurality hits people in the guts in the U.S. Yes, we would ridicule a Trump-like candidate on this side of the Pacific, but we may also have to lay out the red carpet for President Trump's first official state visit soon."

Swedes v. Cruz, Norwegians v. Sanders

Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter is skeptical that Ted Cruz, around whom the party establishment is rallying, would be a better option than his foul-mouthed primary nemesis. The GOP has for long hoped for a miracle to end the nightmare, Gunnar Jonsson writes. In other words, "anyone but the nutcase." But, he notes of perhaps Washington's most reviled politician, "the plague is no better than cholera."

Norway, of all places, should appreciate a socialist Democrat, right? Think again. Norwegian daily Aftenposten notes that some of the reforms proposed by Bernie Sanders are quite radical even by European standards. A $15 minimum wage is about the same as Norway's, though the cost of living there are considerably higher than in the U.S. Raising the minimum wage to $15, which New York and California have pledged to do, would by far bypass Germany's 8.50 euros per hour.

Olympic standards

Russian daily Kommersant provided a recent candidate-by-candidate roundup of the race. Inevitably, "The Donald" stood out from the pack. On a substantive level, the paper called Trump the most "pro-Russian" of the presidential contenders, noting that he is the only candidate to have left the door open to better relations with Moscow. But journalist Nikolai Zubov also tried to quantify the innate marketing skills that the New York billionaire has brought to presidential politics. "If the primaries were the Olympics," he writes, "then the mascot of the games would unconditionally be Donald Trump."

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