Why Russia sympathizes with Trump: Super Tuesday in the Russian press
Following big wins for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the contests for the Republican and Democratic nominations for the U.S. presidency on Super Tuesday, Russian media offered their interpretations of the leading candidates’ credentials.
(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA SOROKINA, RBTH – March 3, 2016)
Super Tuesday, the day on which 11 U.S. states hold their contests to nominate Republican and Democratic candidates for the White House, saw the frontrunners on each side underline their credentials for the nomination.
Donald Trump won seven of the 11 states, which strengthens his potential to become a Republican candidate for the White House.
Meanwhile, ex-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out victorious on the Democrats’ side. Despite the general opinion that Russians support Trump, the mass media gives diverse evaluations of the presidential candidates.
Gambling on the populist
Out of the two favorites for the primaries – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – Moscow knows Clinton very well, but sympathizes with Trump, writes the RBK newspaper.
Russian officials have been following the unfolding U.S. election campaign for a long time. Once, when speaking with journalists, President Vladimir Putin referred to Trump as a “talented person.”
“It is not our business to evaluate his merits, this is for the American voters. But he is the absolute leader in the presidential race,” said Putin.
“He says that he wants to switch to another level of relations with Russia, a more compact, deeper level. Do we welcome this? Of course we do,” he said.
“Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have their pluses and minuses concerning relations with Russia,” said parliamentarian Vasily Likhachev, Russia’s former permanent ambassador to the EU.
“Trump is more active and wiser in playing the Russian card, and it’s interesting that his positions and views are supported by the electorate. Clinton knows a lot about Russia but she has a big problem: She is prone to occasional anti-Russian and Russophobic sentiments, which she has had since she was first lady,” explained Likhachev.
In his opinion, Trump has more potential for creating positive dialogue with Moscow, but Russia should prepare itself for all possibilities.
At the end of 2015, after Putin made his compliment, Trump responded that for him it was a great honor to receive praise from “such a highly esteemed person, in Russia and elsewhere.”
On Feb. 27, Reuters said that Trump’s advisor on Russia was Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who supports closer cooperation between Moscow and Washington.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has often been critical of Russia. Last year during an event at the Brookings Center she expressed her conviction that efforts must be made to steepen the cost of Russia’s policy on Ukraine for Putin.
“I belong to the category of people who want America to do more as a response to the annexation of Crimea and the continuing destabilization of Ukraine,” said Clinton back then.
SuperTrump and SuperClinton
Trump’s triumph demonstrates the profound crisis in which moderate Republicans have found themselves, writes the news website Gazeta.ru.
In the opinion of President of the Institute of Strategic Evaluations Alexander Konovalov, “American society is tired of the succession of familiar politicians.”
“This means bad news for Clinton, who is a member of a famous political ‘clan.’ American citizens are not thrilled about the fact that the presidential throne is constantly and alternately occupied by successors of the Republican Bush family and the Democratic Clinton family.”
Thus, in Konovalov’s view, if Trump becomes the sole Republican candidate, he will look fresher and more original than Clinton. And this will play a key role as the presidential race nears the finish line.
Clinton and Trump drawing closer to their goal
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump obtained important victories on Super Tuesday, significantly raising their chances of meeting in November at the general elections and fighting for the right to succeed the current American president, Barack Obama, writes the Izvestiya broadsheet.
If in November Trump and Clinton meet in the general elections, Americans may have to decide who is “the lesser evil.” Both have high “negative ratings:” According to certain evaluations, most Americans are negatively inclined towards both of them. In this regard, their opponents within their parties often said that “they have no chance of winning” the general elections.
Essentially, the current election campaign in the U.S. is a classic example of a fight between those who state that “it’s no longer possible to live like this” and those who are generally satisfied with the status quo, even if they have certain reservations, concludes Izvestia.