Who’s to blame for the Trump phenomenon? It’s a question being posed by the Swiss media about the presidential candidate’s air of inevitability after key primary elections in the United States, and answers range from the Republican Party’s ineptitude to the real estate mogul’s effective stage presence.
The headlines say it all: the French-language newspaper Le Temps leads with “The delinquency of the Republican Party”, while the Blick tabloid declares that “A wave of anger is rolling over the USA”.
“Wake up, America!” cries the German-language Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), and the Tages-Anzeiger foresees a battle looming of “The teacher’s pet versus the big mouth” – or Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.
Continuing with its school metaphor, the Tages-Anzeiger views Trump as the entertaining child on the playground who captivates everyone with his unpredictable and interesting nature.
“But as soon as the class is up on a mountain and the teacher gets struck by lightning, it’s the teacher’s pet who will carry the day, because she’s the one who can read the map,” the commentary concludes, calling Clinton “the most qualified presidential candidate since Dwight D. Eisenhower”.
A real threat
But however qualified Clinton may be, the media in Switzerland agrees that Trump is not to be underestimated. He is successful among middle class white male voters who feel their share of the American Dream slipping away into poverty and blame immigrants as well as outsourced jobs for their woes, point out both the Tages-Anzeiger and the NZZ. But the Tages-Anzeiger also stresses that Clinton must fight for and win some of those white male votes if she goes up against Trump in November – perhaps a tall order.
“His unpredictability is what makes him so dangerous,” the NZZ argues. “A President Trump would be fatal for America and the rest of the world”.
“That a berserk person like Donald Trump without any diplomatic experience whatsoever could order the use of nuclear weapons is a scary thought,” says the Tages-Anzeiger.
Even if the media is aware of Trump’s power, the Republican Party is guilty of having massively underestimated him, the NZZ says. And Le Temps agrees, stating that “this crisis shouldn’t surprise anyone” and has been bubbling up for years within the GOP, dating back to ballooning federal government budgets under George W. Bush and the backing of a moderate Mitt Romney in 2012 when the party’s adherents were becoming more conservative.
Is it too late to avoid a Trump nomination? Not if the Republican field “finally thins out,” the NZZ argues, since Trump’s rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are currently splitting the delegate votes that don’t go to Trump.
But the Blick, which plastered large photos of Trump across its front and centre pages, seems to be declaring all but inevitable a general election between the real estate tycoon and Clinton.
“Trump isn’t president yet,” the tabloid acknowledges. “But he knows how he’ll get there.”