European journalists have expressed shock and outrage that millions of Americans voted for President Donald Trump this week, the failure of Biden to deliver a landslide win showing the U.S. had failed to “purge” itself of Trumpism.
As Europe woke up to a closely fought election going down to the wire — an upset against the Biden landslide many clearly expected — some major European newspapers poured scorn on U.S. voters themselves for voting wrong.
In Germany, Deutsche Welle’s U.S. correspondent was particularly hectoring in expressing her disapproval at the early results in the presidential election, saying that “not enough Americans [are] appalled by Trump’s actions”. After a list of perceived failings that should have put every single American off voting Trump from the Muslim ban to the impeachment attempt, the piece made clear that Wednesday’s news was disappointing to Germany whatever way it went.
DW’s front-page analysis piece concluded: “The fact that a significant number of Americans still voted for Donald Trump despite his actions over the past four years shows what is acceptable in the United States. And that is devastating, no matter who ends up in the White House.”
Spiegel took a similar tack, reporting the “dismay” felt “outside the Trump bubble” that he was able to poll so many votes despite “four years of lies”.
Such sentiments were also expressed in France on Wednesday. Left-leaning daily Liberation noted that while the election could still go either way, “Trumpsim is here, alive and well”, and even if he took the presidency, Biden would be dogged by it. In an accusatory tone, the newspaper’s main editorial lambasted Americans for voting for the economy and not coronavirus, saying that President Trump “masterfully represents the deepest and most selfish contempt for victims”.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper was perhaps the starkest of all in its assessment of the first day results, bluntly stating that not only had American voters done “a very bad thing in 2016”, but they had also “pretty much done it again” by failing to give Biden a landslide in 2020.
The opinion piece by a Guardian columnist suggested the Democrat party would probably conclude its failure to wipe out Trump at the polls arose from their platform not being hard-left enough, something it said would heavily impact the 2024 election. Again hitting the theme, as with other European outlets, that America had let down the rest of the world this week the paper said voters had failed to deliver a “watershed moment” and a “cathartic rejection of Trump.”
The piece concluded: “The reality of the election is that the United States has shown itself to be, yet again, a 50-50 nation. Half of Americans backed Trump. The other half didn’t…
“The meaning of that grim conclusion should not be fudged. The result of the November 2020 election is that America has not purged itself of what it did in 2016. It has not turned its back on Trump’s climate change denialism, not rejected Trump’s racism, not spurned his isolationism, not punished him for rushing to pack the supreme court, not held him to account for his corruption and behaviour. The plain truth is this. Americans did a very bad thing indeed in 2016 and, whatever happens when the dust finally settles, Americans have pretty much done it again in 2020.”