The U.S. held another Republican presidential debate last night to help American voters choose between the union-busting tactics of Scott Walker, the anti-universal-health-care platform of Ted Cruz, and the anti-climate-change stance of Ben Carson.
But outside of the U.S., and particularly in China, the Republican party’s tangle of candidates can loosely be classified in three groups: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and everyone else. The last Republican debates were translated and broadcast in China, and Chinese netizens mostly found the candidates wanting. (They also overwhelmingly don’t like Hillary Clinton.)
“Just looking at these faces, I feel Hillary being the next president is already certain. These old men look so terrible. Why can’t the Republicans find someone young and handsome?” one Chinese blogger wrote below a photo of the last debate, which featured Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. (Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina was added this time around.)
Just as in the U.S., Trump is commanding the lion’s share of attention among Republican candidates in China. As a “new master of politics of rage,” Trump has “unscrupulously” revealed the problems of American democracy, argues The Global Times, the state-run nationalist tabloid. A September 8 op-ed in the newspaper asked, “How far can ‘Trump for president’ mania go?”
Trump is not a politician, much less a statesman. None of his popularity is derived from policy proposals. It’s just that compared with other candidates, his show is so entertaining. Although he has received scant endorsement from the Republicans, and his political experience is thin, he dares to speak what other politicians can’t and won’t.
The article argues that Americans see Trump as harsh critic of “the malfunctioning two-party system,” which has caused anti-war protests and racial conflicts. But it also notes that “a political amateur fond of playing dramas is not a savior” and that Trump winning the presidency would be “jaw-dropping.”