Donald Trump isn’t just a threat to American democracy — he may also be hurting the prospects for democratic rule in the most populous nation on Earth. On Monday, China’s state-owned Global Times published an editorial that casts Trump as proof of democracy's inherent dangers. The piece opens with a description of the clashes between protesters and Trump supporters in Chicago Friday night.
“Fist fights among voters who have different political orientations is quite common in developing countries during election seasons,” the paper observes. “Now, a similar show is shockingly staged in the US, which boasts one of the most developed and mature democratic election systems.”
In other words: Even advanced democratic systems breed violent divisions among the people. What’s more, such systems are vulnerable to takeover by an “abusively racist” and possibly fascist “clown” like Trump:
“Usually, the tempo of the evolution of US politics can be predicted, while Trump's ascent indicates all possibilities and unpredictability. He has even been called another Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler by some Western media. Mussolini and Hitler came to power through elections, a heavy lesson for Western democracy.”
As the Washington Post notes, the editorial also contains an implicit critique of the American economic system, pinning Trump’s rise on the anger of “lower class whites” in the wake of the Great Recession. While the paper acknowledges that Trump is unlikely to win the general election, it argues, “Even if Trump is a false alarm … The US faces the prospect of an institutional failure, which might be triggered by a growing mass of real-life problems.”
It may be propaganda, but it still has a point: How strong can American democracy be if it’s elevating an authoritarian so brutal, he actually praised the Communist Party’s crackdown in Tiananmen Square?
For a longer look at the United States, as seen through the eyes of Chinese state media, check out the newly released 45-minute documentary below.