My global search for fans of Donald Trump has finally borne fruit, but it was not easy. Ever since Donald Trump started monopolizing headlines in the United States, I have made it a point to ask people around the world their thoughts about the American presidential campaign.
In fact, I always try to find out what people are thinking as I travel around the world. But it's been particularly intriguing to gauge global attitudes in the time of Trump.
I will not pretend my survey follows a scientific method. But I was stunned that after talking with scores of people from more than a dozen countries, I had not found a single person who said (or admitted) that he or she hoped Trump would win.
So far this year I have asked my questions in six different countries, during travels for different projects. But it took flying some 10,000 miles away from U.S. shores, to an island in the Indian Ocean, to find my first non-American Trump supporter.
|Who in the world really wants Donald Trump to win?|
When I tell people in the U.S. that most of the world dreads a Trump victory, Trump supporters often explain that this is a good sign, an indication that the world knows Trump would look after American interests, not everyone else's. But what I have heard abroad is quite different.
People who admire and respect the United States -- America's friends -- want Trump to lose. Those who think a weaker America is desirable -- America's foes -- want Trump to win. It's no wonder that another poll of America's closest allies concluded recently "Europe is terrified at the prospect of President Donald Trump."
To find people hoping for a Trump victory I had to travel to the island of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. "I hope Trump will win," Iresh Edirsinghe told me. He sounded like a variety of American you can find in 2016 when he said, "I hate Hillary." In fact, Edirsinghe, a 40-year-old who runs a one-man car service, told me he has no great admiration or even respect for Trump, but believes Clinton is "too close to the terrorists, to the Tamils."
I heard similar comments from other Sri Lankans. Gayani Perera, a shop keeper, also prefers Trump because she believes "Hillary didn't see our side" in the war against the Tamil Tigers.
Clinton was secretary of state during the final months of a 26-year war between the Sri Lankan military and the brutal separatist terrorist group known as the Tamil Tigers. In 2009, Sri Lanka's final offensive soundly defeated the terrorists, but at a steep price for the civilian population. At the time, Clinton warned of "untold suffering" in the Tamil areas. And in fact, United Nations investigations have now concluded that some 40,000 civilians were killed in that campaign, with both sides -- the Tigers and the government -- committing crimes against humanity.