The Donald Trump Show

With Republican voters’ overwhelming choice of Donald Trump as the party’s standard-bearer in November’s US presidential election, the ethos of reality TV that has cannibalized American popular culture for two decades has achieved its breakout moment. And not just in America.


The prospect of a Trump presidency, once a surreal scenario, can no longer be dismissed, and Project Syndicate commentators have been assessing the likely consequences of his triumph for the United States and for the world. Equally important, they have been suggesting that Trump represents merely the leading edge of a transnational populist wave that could profoundly influence global economic performance and geopolitical stability.

It’s Not Gonna Be Great

Bill Emmott, who, during his years as Editor of The Economist, endured numerous legal spats with Trump’s Italian doppelgänger, Silvio Berlusconi, thinks that countries “must hope for the best but prepare for the worst” in the event of a Trump administration. Above all, they must bolster “their alliances and friendships with one another, in anticipation of an ‘America First’ rupture with old partnerships and the liberal international order that has prevailed since the 1940s.”

But Trump is throwing as many verbal hand grenades at the economy as he is at America’s alliances and post-World War II global institutions and rules. For Benjamin J. Cohen of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Trump’s views on finance and economics, particularly his recent suggestion that “the US should negotiate with its creditors to buy back much of its debt at a discount,” are “the product of a fevered imagination.”

As Cohen rightly points out, “even the hint of a default would jeopardize the government’s credit rating and raise the cost of future borrowing.” And, beyond the direct costs, “the dollar’s role as an international currency would be jeopardized, which in turn would severely impair America’s superpower standing.”