Since we Americans are mired in the presidential campaign, it sometimes good to step back and gain a different perspective. What are other leaders saying about our presidential candidates? From what I read, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have more notoriety, while Bernie Sanders is a lesser known candidate, which is not necessarily bad. But, what is profoundly interesting, the difference between Clinton and Trump outside looking in is startling.
As former first lady, US Senator and Secretary of State, Clinton is more widely respected by other leaders outside the US. In a poll of European and western Asia national leaders, only Vladimir Putin would support Donald Trump, with the rest going to Clinton. Why? Two reasons, in my view.
First, she has traveled to almost every major nation on earth in her roles. She is widely known and as a woman is an exemplar like Angela Merkel and Christine LaGarde that women can succeed. With women being maltreated around the globe and even here in the US, she shows a path forward. Her experience in these relationships show that she will be starting out on good footing.
Second, Donald Trump’s racism, bigotry and bombast is not restricted to our shores. Leaders are looking incredulously at our consideration of someone who not only lacks knowledge of global affairs and has already made the world less safe with his remarks, would not know diplomacy if he tripped over it. They see a man and party who publicly denies climate change which would take us backward as a planet. They see a thin-skinned, narcissist who is not the kind of person you want leading anything and are sharing that concern openly as did David Cameron, the prime minister of our longest ally, Great Britain.
I recognize fully Clinton has her imperfections. I also recognize that the criticism she receives is fair and unfair, as stories are re-aired that were not true to begin with. The would be Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy let slip last fall that the continuation of the Benghazi hearings have been a smear campaign of Clinton, which was known but not uttered. He had to end his candidacy for speaker as a result. On the flip side, her unforced error on using her own email server is worthy of legitimate questions.
Many Americans may not see clear differences between the two, but other leaders are hoping Clinton wins and don’t mind saying that openly, which is rare.