Read: Trump already won the midterms.
In the U.K., where midterm coverage has dominated the front pages of major newspapers and websites in the run-up to the vote, the public seems to be paying more attention than it did in previous midterm elections. On the eve of the vote, approximately 300 people filled a conference hall in Westminster to watch a two-hour debate, hosted by Intelligence Squared, on what the election outcome will mean for the Trump presidency. Panelist Timothy Snyder, an American historian and author, told attendees that overseas interest is about more than palace intrigue.
“Whether you’re looking at it from Poland or Hungary or Germany or Austria or Russia or Ukraine, everyone else sees things that they recognize,” Snyder said, noting nationalist populist surges across the globe. “The things we do in America affect what people do in the rest of the world, whether we see it or whether we don’t see it.”
The midterms are also being closely watched in France, where coverage has emphasized that the vote is a crucial indicator of Trump’s popularity. “Trump’s Record to Be Tested at the Polls,” ran the lead headline in the November 6 edition of Le Monde, the French center-left daily. The newspaper has dedicated an entire online vertical to the midterms in recent weeks, offering extensive coverage on Trump’s immigration rhetoric. It has focused on the racial dynamics underpinning certain contests—for instance, it described Lauren Underwood, who is running in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, as “a Black Candidate in a White Area.” The paper also interviewed Trump supporters across the Midwest and the West Coast and said these voters’ greatest fear was “that white men would lose their dominance.”
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In Italy, where the populist government has certain ideological affinities with Trump, some coverage has explored how the midterms could affect Europe, where immigration has also become a defining issue—not least in elections for the European Parliament next May. Those elections will pit candidates espousing greater European integration against populists who want more national sovereignty, especially on issues such as immigration.
“If not even Trump’s hard line on immigration and the environment and his machismo will spur a real mobilization for the Democrats, the path toward 2020 will be even more difficult,” Massimo Gaggi, who covers the United States for Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading daily, wrote on Tuesday in a front-page piece titled “A Message for Europe From the United States.”
In Germany, the media’s coverage of the midterms has been as frequent and intense as its coverage of the Trump presidency more broadly. Though German news organizations always covered U.S. elections and political news, the Trump era has spurred a more granular focus on what’s happening in Washington, from Trump’s White House to the top-tier congressional candidates whose victories could weaken the president.