First off, sorry for the spotty postings over the past week and a half; I’m back from a business trip/family vacation in Europe and the time to post/availability of WiFi factor has a significant impact on what I was able to do online. Our trip took my family and I through Hungary, Austria and Italy and when we engaged with locals, shopkeepers, taxi drivers and tourists, the question posed to us most often was, “Does Donald Trump have a real chance of becoming president?”
I offered my best assurances of “no” citing specific websites for people to check, but after Brexit American voters should take no chances.
Europeans in general cannot believe the utter stupidity of the Republican party voter than cast a ballot for Trump to lead the free world. Many applauded the Scots for their often vulgar and aptly-described signs of protest of Trump during his visit to Scotland last week. One European technology journalist told me, “If Trump’s on the ballot, the rest of the world deserves a vote.” I asked if I could have the same courtesy over the Brexit vote. He believes this move will ultimately result in the break-up of the United Kingdom as England and Wales opted to leave the European Union with Scotland and Ireland electing the stay; the unification of Ireland seems a vague possibility but would be very difficult to pull off. But the English journalists concern was shared by other technology journalists from Russia, Poland, and Germany.
In the next breath, Europeans asked about Hillary Clinton. I covered her active policy positions as First Lady, her eight years as a Senator from New York and her time spent as Secretary of State. Many Europeans seem to have forgotten her term as Senator. They sought assurances that she’s be the sort of leader in the White House that President Obama was and I was able to offer assurances that Obama has already endorsed her candidacy and they agree on many policies. They seemed satisfied with that answer and expressed hope for her election.
I asked what Europeans thought about Bernie Sanders; most had no opinion. Many didn’t know who he was. Some thought of him as a “looney Grandfather type.” Italians remembered his trip to the Vatican as causing some additional traffic issues but most didn’t know who he was. I mentioned Sanders was a Democratic Socialist, and most were surprised that someone with that philosophy could have done so well in the American election process.
I’m still unpacking but have several great columns from UK newspapers on Brexit to share as well as thoughts on healthcare abroad and high speed rail that will come later this week. It’s good to be back home.