JAMES ROYCE WRITES — Unless you have spent the last couple months under a rock, you’ve been keeping up with, or at least have heard about, the wild presidential election currently going on within the United States. And although Australia’s capital of Canberra is located more than 16,000 kilometers away from Washington, Aussie media can’t get enough of it.
Currently an ultra-conservative, a self-proclaimed socialist, a product of the political machine and more have been facing off one-on-one in a battle for the White House. But there is one candidate in particular who has grabbed the attention not only of the American people, but also the international community as a whole. And that is none other than Donald J. Trump.
Trump, a billionaire business mogul, reality TV star and current Republican frontrunner has been causing quite a stir lately with his surprising campaign success. Unfortunately though, it’s not for good reasons. The thought of Trump becoming the next American president scares a lot of people. His abusive rhetoric, outlandish proposals and xenophobic undertones have been the center of controversy for quite some time now. But, against all odds, and despite all predictions, Trump has been holding the GOP hostage and the collective global media captive.
At this point, those outside the United States can only sit back and watch as a country that was once the leading model of democratic stability slowly transforms into a whirlwind of political uncertainty.
Australian media is well versed when it comes to covering questionable and eccentric political candidates (see Tony Abbot). And now, no longer having to be on the defense, Australian political writers and satirists have been having a field day covering both the American election season and Trump.
In fact, Huw Parkinson, a satirical journalist for ABC, made the front pages of CNN, BBC and the New York Post with his YouTube video mash-up featuring Trump. The video, which has now gone global, depicts Trump living in a Game of Thrones like saga, portraying him as a villain within several of the popular HBO series most pivotal scenes.
“I got home from work and suddenly saw a clip of Whoopi Goldberg introducing the clip on The View, and that kind of blew my mind,” Parkinson told ABC after realizing how popular his edit had become.
Parkinson isn’t the only Australian writer finding success though. The Shovel, well-known for being the state’s leading satiric news source, has been putting on a comedic clinic as well, churning out several articles a week mocking the absurdities of election time in America.
“I want to remind you that this is actual real life. You are actually choosing the guy who will be President — not which show to watch on TV tonight,” The Shovel quoted in one of their sarcastic pieces. “Just to be really clear here, this is to decide who will be in line to run the country. Not who will go through to next week’s grand finale.”
Unfortunately, jokes aside, the thought of Trump potentially becoming the newest leader of the United States is a legitimate concern for Australians. In early March, news.com.au, Australia’s number one news site, highlighted the potential of Trump being US president as being rated ‘among top 10 global risks.’
Also, Trump’s outspoken disapproval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership worries Australia. Trump threatens to oppose the ratification of the TPP if elected, which would leave Australia subject to trade barriers when entering the American free-trade market.
No one really knows what a potential Trump-led White House will mean. There’s no guarantee of course, but as the prospect becomes more real, what was once a laughing matter could become a legitimate concern for Australians.