In perhaps the most interesting reaction out of Beijing to the stalled election outcome, Chinese state-run Global Times on Thursday published the reaction of two of its notable foreign policy analysts and geopolitical experts. With the fate of the election hanging in the balance and the world still on edge as all look for a definitive result, Global Times posed the question:
Even if Biden gets elected, will Trump and his doctrines disappear? Will there be another Trump from the Democratic Party?
As the headline to the piece underscores, officials in Beijing are fretting that Trump doctrines will exist regardless of who wins US election. Here’s how Zhang Tengjun, an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, put it in the state publication:
One should not be too naïve to believe that with Trump’s departure, the social environment that brews Trumpism would disappear. On the contrary, the forces represented by Trump will continue to exist and affect US politics. Trump’s ilk will inherent his doctrines. The US needs more than four years to digest the long-term destructive impact on US politics from Trump’s rule.
And another thinker at a major public research university in Shanghai was further cited as saying that “Trump-style” politicians will continue to emerge.
China of course sees this as a destructive force which will likely perpetuate already severely damaged Sino-US relations for the foreseeable future, apparently regardless of the presidential outcome. Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, had this to say – again likely reflecting the view among many top Beijing officials:
Trump proposes America First, not to pay much effort in international affairs or take unnecessary global responsibilities. As long as Trump believes a treaty or an organization does not fit US interests, he will make a quick divorce from it. Many of his measures reflect what the US public wants, at least a large proportion of them. This time, although Biden leads Trump as of press time, the election also shows that almost half of the voters support Trump. The election of Trump four years ago was never an accidental incident. Populism has already become a powerful trend in the country.
Qiang further said what he dubbed the “Trump Phenomenon” will not end anytime soon.
While netizens from Chinese mainland watch the ongoing US presidential election like a soap opera, it seems that some living on the other side of the Straits are not as calm and poised. https://t.co/oHub65tEQH
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) November 5, 2020
“As long as such a populist public trend exists, it is very likely that in the future more and more untraditional politicians will have no alternative but to step on Trump’s path in order to win more support,” he said in GT. “After all, winning elections are US politicians’ ultimate goal. Therefore, more Trumps may come into being because they will justify their approach by their goal. I call it the Trump Phenomenon.”
This is to continue, both analysts agreed, “no matter who wins the election” and could come from within either the Republican or Democratic Party. Probably both, they said.
US opinion polls are now ridiculed by Chinese netizens. They are even less accurate than China’s Yiwu index. Don’t know how those polling organizations will survive in the US.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 4, 2020
The Chinese state-affiliated analysts also made reference to Bernie Sanders, his supporters, and the popular progressive movement among young people as potentially a continued force of division for a possible Biden administration, which would be “bumpy”.
“As for the Democrats, since its internal division is inevitable, it is likely that a politician who always thinks otherwise would emerge from the left-wing radical forces,” the analysis in GT underscored.