It was on my very first day here way back in July when Marta asked the inevitable question: “Is America really going to elect Trump?”
One of the perks of being abroad is being able to temporarily escape the depressing sociopolitical situation in the states- the shootings of unarmed black civilians, Orlando, government deadlock, and of course, this endless presidential election. Obviously I’m able to follow the news back home online, but with classes and travel it’s not as frequent, and so I can be figuratively as well as literally detached from home.
The average Argentine, however, is consistently connected with what is happening in America. You know that saying that the world revolves around America?…it has some truth to it. Nearly half the conversations I’ve had with random Argentines eventually turned to the U.S. presidential election. People aren’t exactly enthralled with Hillary, but they’re horrified that someone like Trump could possibly occupy the Oval Office. How could it be that U.S. politics have become as dysfunctional as Argentine politics have been for nearly a century? For people here, his flamboyant personality and lack of shame reminded them of Carlos Menem, their president during the 90s who partied with celebrities and drove his sports car as the country spiraled into financial catastrophe. Many predicted the end of America as we know it if he gets elected. A woman in the elevator told me “Please vote for Hillary, for all of us who can’t”
For the first debate I wanted to be around other Americans, so I went to Sugar Bar in Palermo where CNN was being shown on a dozen different screens. It was a surreal experience being in the presence of other Americans speaking English, drinking beer, cheering, booing and fliping the finger at the screens. Some people in my program have talked about getting together on Election Day and getting wasted for the occasion. We’ll either be celebrating our country missing a close one, or commemorating the good 240 year run America had.