Since I moved here (October 2015) I’ve been routinely questioned about the U.S. presidential election by Italians. I've gotten everything from, “So what do you think about the election?” to, “Who are you voting for?”and “Does anyone actually support Trump??”
Most of the time I try to steer clear of this topic because it’s a pretty depressing situation for my country to be in and is one of the perks of living abroad. To celebrate the end of the the election cycle and the return to general decency among all Americans (hopefully), I decided to turn the tables on my Italian friends and ask them the same questions I’d been assailed with for over a year.
My (very) informal survey was done over dinners, in English lessons, and conducted in both English and Italian, so please allow for some misinterpretation and don't assume that these few opinions represent Italy as a whole or my own views!
So enjoy some excerpts from those conversations below, added in no particular order.
But... do people actually like Trump?
"Trump wants to start a war with every country. While he has a strong desire to improve business relations with other countries, he lacks judgment."
“I can't believe people with a head and a brain can support and believe in Trump”
And from a signora too polite to say what she really thinks: "Do people really think THAT man could be president?"
Hillary as a shifty character
"But what happened with all those emails?"
"Hilary lacks the “forza” (strength) that a president needs, she isn’t honest and hides things from Americans and the world. She is anything but transparent."
"Maybe her husband is actually running the show..."
When we're all just sick of our options
"Neither candidate would be a good option for me. One of them is crazy (he’s too rich and his empire is too big). The other is a proven liar and can't be trusted."
"How did you guys allow yourselves to end up with these two?"
Impacts on Europe
“Europe looks to America as a great nation with a strong military. If you also have a strong leader, the US can be a 'driver' for Italy and Europe, cementing trade and political relations. If not, it is disastrous for world peace.”
“I don’t care about the US election, Italy has enough issues of our own to worry about as it is.”
The Berlusconi comparison
"We dealt with Berlusconi and his shady behavior for decades, so we feel your pain. "
"We're just glad that there's a even more embarrassing candidate out there"
"And we thought our guy was bad!"