US President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again rally at Kenosha Regional Airport November 2, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON — As the day of the 2020 U.S. election dawns, the whole world is watching on with baited breath.
Campaigning by incumbent Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden amid an unprecedented public health crisis — the coronavirus pandemic — has given the outside world an insight into the issues that matter to American voters, from the economy and jobs to health care and racial equality.
The run-up to the vote has also highlighted the political polarization that has split American voters.
Beyond its shores, the U.S. election matters because the next president will shape not only America’s future, but the international political landscape too.
A disputed result and potential civil unrest in the U.S. are in focus the world over. CNBC has a round-up of what the world’s media thinks as Election Day finally arrives.
The U.K. is a good place to start given its “special relationship” with the U.S. Papers are focused on the possibility of a disputed election result, protracted wrangling over the vote count and even potential unrest on the streets.
The left-wing Guardian newspaper headlines its coverage of the election and the final hours of campaigning by the candidates with “U.S. braces for historic election amid fears democracy is in danger,” leading with concerns over Trump’s “incendiary” tweet Monday (that Twitter also labeled as potentially misleading) that there could be “violence on the streets” if the vote count is not cut short in Pennsylvania.
The right-leaning Telegraph newspaper also leads with concerns over a disputed result, its election coverage headlined with “America braces for election violence with shops boarded up and National Guard on standby.”
The election dominates world politics coverage by Europe’s news outlets on Tuesday with quick guides to the vote and opinion pieces weighing up what a Biden administration, or continuation of the Trump presidency, could mean for international relations, particularly Europe’s relationship with the U.S. following a fractious four years between Trump and the continent’s leaders.
In France, an editorial in Le Figaro newspaper is headlined “An American Suspense” with author Philippe Gelie noting that “outside of the World Cup (soccer) finals, there is hardly any planetary suspense comparable to the U.S. presidential election.” Italian daily La Repubblica leads its coverage saying “the world is waiting” for the results of the vote, with its editor writing about the need to “reconstruct” America.
Supporters of the President Donald Trump listen as he speaks during a rally on November 3, 2020 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Kamil Krzaczynski | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden gestures after speaking during a Drive-In Rally at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 2020.
JIM WATSON | AFP | Getty Images
Russian newspaper Kommersant discusses the importance of a victory for the candidates in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania while an opinion piece by commentator Sergei Strokan discusses whether Trump or Biden would be better for Russia.
Ultimately Strokan argues that “there is more and more reason to come to the conclusion that we have not needed America for a long time, although we do not openly admit this. Neither Trump’s America nor Biden’s America.”
Europe is not the only continent watching the U.S. election closely. Latin America is focusing on the contest, as well as the importance of the Hispanic vote.
El Pais Latin American edition notes that “the Latin vote will be decisive in Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona,” adding that “the participation of the Hispanic electorate in some states may overturn the presidential elections in the U.S.”
U.S.-Latin American relations have been somewhat strained given Trump’s opposition to immigration and U.S. intervention during Venezuela’s 2019 political uprising against the leftist regime of that country’s President Nicolas Maduro. Newspapers in the region, including the Buenos Aires Times in Brazil, weighed up how the election “could set the tone for the next phase of U.S.-Latin America relations.”
Election workers sort through some of the thousands of mail-in ballots at the Orange County Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana, California, November 2, 2020.
Mike Blake | Reuters
In Asia, Chinese state outlet Xinhua news agency wrote that “anxiety, pandemic prelude U.S. Election Day as candidates make final push,” but editorials are more critical of the vote.
An editorial in the Global Times, a tabloid newspaper in China that is published under the auspices of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper, accused the U.S. election of stalling the “global Covid-19 fight.”
“The U.S. presidential election has seriously impacted Covid-19 prevention, resulting in an untold negative influence,” the editorial said. “The Trump administration misjudged the epidemic early this year, leading to its ineptitude in the virus fight. The election has made the Trump administration stick to its wrong approach.”
Pulling no punches, the editorial concludes that “the U.S. epidemic fight and its election have set a terrible example to the world. It is not only a disgrace to U.S. power but also to the American liberal system.”