The 2016 US Elections actually got considerable interest in China, with the general population there treating it like the spectator sport it really was. The Chinese online community enjoyed the elections; placing bets on the winners; creating memes and even a few online games over the whole affair. Today the Chinese media ran several articles and editorials giving the more official positions.
The general consensus among Chinese leadership is that their policies will not be much effected by the elections. They believe that Clinton is unlikely to change most of Obama's policies---which China opposes anyway. On Trump they are a little more split. Some praise Trump for his stand of making US allies in Asia pay for their own defense; but many also dislike his position on imposing Chinese import tariffs. Trump, however, has a reputation as a businessman, which the Chinese respect.
Universally, however, Chinese leaders and academics deplored the US electoral process. The ruling party's news outlet The Global Times stated that the 2016 campaign "has damaged the world's attitude towards the US democratic system, and the results won't fully represent US public opinion."
Xinhua News cited the results of the final Gallup Poll, which showed that Clinton and Trump had the lowest approval ratings in Gallup's history; the only known time when neither candidate had favorable ratings.
"This demonstrates the deep distaste by Americans for the two candidates in perhaps one of the nastiest campaigns in recent history." the Chinese paper stated. "Scandals, mud-slinging, and even personal insults have dominated the debates and near-daily media headlines."
Yuan Ping, a geopolitical advisor to the Chinese government wrote in The People's Daily today that "No matter who wins the election today, it won't be a victory for democracy. The campaign this year has been characterized by being dirty, chaotic, and low-quality. Trump has been haunted by allegations of racism and sexism, while Clinton faced the possibility of indictment all the way to voting day, with numerous allegations of official misconduct pending. Most debates and communiques from the two candidates focused on scandals and emotionally-driven personal attacks, rather than serious topics about policy-making and solutions for economic and social problems."
The Chinese analysts are right about all of this: and the American people should hang their heads in disgraced shame that we've made ourselves an international laughing-stock yet again. How is it even humanly possible for a representative republic like ours to nominate presidential candidates and the majority not happy with any of them?
If anything, this election is going to have to bring about some deep soul-searching among the American public. Start pulling their heads out the Hookah Lounges and away from Reality TV long enough to see through the Exceptionalist schmaltz and the conspiracy theories and start focusing on building a real nation again. Otherwise, countries like China are going to continue leaving us in the dirt and laughing in their sleeves on the way there.
Will the American people get their acts together? Probably not. Some Chinese analysts saw this coming. "I'm not surprised at all." noted Zhang Weiwei of Fudan University, "Five years ago, when I debated Francis Fukuyama, I predicted that the next US president would be even worse than G.W. Bush. The US political system still maintains the characteristics of the post-industrialization era; and maybe their system needs reform much more than we do."
Ni Feng of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences predicted that "the exhausting, bitter, and sordid elements of the campaign" will not conclude with the November 8th election.
"The drama of the scandals will not end with the election result." Ni told The Global Times, " During the debates, Trump hinted that he might not accept the results if he loses, and he may use the political scandals around Clinton to dispute those results. And if Trump wins, the consequences could be more interesting because Trump promised to reopen the investigations and put Clinton in jail."
Ni has a point: the profit that the Wall Street freebooters and media moguls have raked in over this election soap-opera have been astronomical. Why not keep it going if its selling and the public's buying? Given the Corporate Media's investment in a Clinton victory; a Trump victory is likely to cause the same kind of backlash.
That's the one point that the Chinese analysts really overlooked. Wall Street and Madison Avenue are the real rulers of America---not Washington. And a divided country makes loyal subjects and good consumers. So the drama will continue as long as its profitable.