Policy Briefs

R. Perissich: How should Europe prepare for a second Trump term (and hope it will not happen)

It has already been a front-page subject for many months. It is now becoming an obsession. The subject is the upcoming US elections and the prospect of a second term for Donald Trump. Those who maintain that these elections could be the most consequential in a century, not only for the US but for the world, are probably not far off the mark. The prospect of a Trump victory is clearly at the centre of Putin’s strategy. Equally, if Europeans could vote they would keep Biden in the White House by a landslide. Instead, they cannot avoid being worried, considering that the relatively reassuring polls carried a few months ago are now overshadowed by forecasts that give Trump a small hedge. As time goes by, there is a serious risk that the obsession will turn into paranoia, which is always a bad adviser and could lead to paralysis. No matter how passionately close we feel to our American friends, there is little we can do to alter the result that will likely depend on small majorities in a handful of states, something that makes the outcome even more unpredictable. As the campaign unfolds, we shall therefore be well advised to maintain our cool and focus on three questions: what is there for us if either Biden or Trump wins and what should we do in the meantime?

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