Why don't Liberal Democrats like Hillary Clinton?

US presidential election"Trump is a puke, but elective in terms of foreign policy"

Hacke argued that many voters might prefer "jumping into the deep end" with a President Trump than another eight years of Democrats. Eight years under Barack Obama, during which the USA did not make particularly good progress and distinguished itself through a confrontational foreign policy. The liberal America of the past, which its generation still knows, no longer exists, said Hacke. The differences between rich and poor have grown steadily.

The Democratic candidate in particular, Hillary Clinton, represents an enemy image for many. She stands for a certain double standard and, among other things, for a failed foreign policy with a view to the Arab Spring and a confrontational position towards Russia and President Putin. Hacke stressed that he was not a Trump supporter.

"Only Trump can defeat Trump"

In Germany there has recently been an idealization of Clinton and a demonization of Trump - and he is opposed to this. Because Trump stands for a "lower side" of American civilization, which has always been there. America could act brutally and ruthlessly in the economy, as Trump personified it. But we would always have hidden that. "We in Germany" wanted to cut away the unpleasantness of American society - and would therefore come to a crooked picture.

At the outcome of the election, Hacke said that only one person could defeat Trump - and that was Trump himself. Anyone who had appeared decent and treated Clinton nicely would have won the election by a large margin.

The interview in full length:

Dirk Müller: The Americans are already voting, for a long time, the polling stations open first on the east coast, the last ones then close their doors in Alaska, seven a.m. tomorrow morning, German time, if we have researched it correctly. Citizens have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump - after an election campaign that was so fierce, so controversial, and so often below the belt, like hardly any other dispute in the United States in recent years.

Political scientist, conflict researcher and renowned US expert Professor Christian Hacke has now listened in on the phone. Good day.

Christian Hacke: Greetings, Mr. Miller.

"From a foreign policy perspective, I would vote for Donald Trump"

Müller: Mr. Hacke, let's stay a little in the subjunctive. Who would you choose?

Hoe: Oh ha you are good. I would be like any American. I really don't see what to do. And if I did vote, I don't know until the last second. He's a puke of course, that's clear and many Americans say that, but he has emotions, he stubbornly sticks to his program and there are many who will say, oh better then, let's jump into the deep end, let's see what the change comes with brings him another eight years of Democrats, for which Hillary Clinton stands, and that is eight years in which America has not made any further progress, but everything that we have heard, it is getting worse internally and a foreign policy that is very confrontational Russia is positioned. In terms of foreign policy, I would vote for Donald Trump.

Müller: Now I don't even know where to continue. For now, let's stay with your first statement, Mr. Hacke. That was very rarely the case with us on Deutschlandfunk, where we tried to capture the voices as diverse as possible, but there were naturally many German interlocutors, you are, too, who was also in the USA a lot, there too worked, followed the whole thing now. You are one of the few who have basically now suggested, well, Donald Trump would be an alternative for me, would be eligible for me. Because Hillary Clinton is so "bad"?

Hoe: Well I mean, of course, it is the ultimate enemy for many. Whether double standards, whether the Clinton Foundation, whether much more, whether her failed policy as Secretary of State with a view to the Arab Spring, her confrontational position towards Putin, I find all of these very problematic. Here would be a continuation, a continuity of liberal-hegemonic America politics, which I consider to be very problematic and difficult for the present international one. While on the other hand you have Trump - I know he is highly problematic. Since the mouse bites from no thread. But in terms of foreign policy, it stands more for protectionism, nationalism, and these elements, none of them are flawlessly clean. But I am very afraid of a further confrontation with the Russians and therefore I would decide as I just indicated.

"This is no longer the liberal America that my generation knows"

Müller: This is also a crucial point for you, that the two apparently get along very well, at least over the phone, however. We are now talking about Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, both of whom have attested a certain amount of recognition. Is that enough to go that far, even as a political scientist?

Hoe: No, Mr. Müller, of course that's not enough. But always provided that the man develops from, let's say, a very insane campaigner into a sensible, halfway sensible personality. Of course, I also have a stomachache when I think about the man choosing nuclear weapons. I am not a Trump supporter. I'm only answering your question because between bad and worse, who would I choose. And I think that many Americans say, eight more years of Democrats, we don't want that, and Hillary Clinton also stands for plutocracy in the USA. That is, Mr. Müller, no longer the liberal America that my generation knows. This is pure plutocracy and the rich have become richer and richer, the poor poorer and poorer. Trump did not fall from the sky, but has this popularity due to the massive structural problems in which the US is sitting. And racism has grown and Obama's record in terms of domestic and foreign policy is not particularly good either. So everything is cozy!

And just one more thing: In Germany we have had a certain idealization of Hillary Clinton in the last few weeks and months and a demonization of Donald Trump, and that's the only thing where I would vote against a little.

Müller: I almost miss the questions because I no longer have the feeling that we are in the interview. I'm trying to catch up on that now. - I wanted to ask you that too, it's really true: Why do Germans always see it so differently? We have now read 90 percent would vote for Hillary. That was also the case with Barack Obama. That was 90 percent against George Bush at the time. Americans are mostly kind of fifty fifty. Don't Americans know what's going on in their country, or do we know better?

Hoe: No no. Mr. Müller, that has to do with our view of the USA. We love this liberal America and something from the "New York Times", probably decent, clean and elegant. So is Hillary Clinton. We forget that Trump is not just an exception; Trump is America too. But this is not like Jekyll and Hyde, we don't want to exaggerate right away, but it is a bottom of American civilization and politics and economy that has always been there. America can act brutally and ruthlessly in the economy as he personifies it for me. He can perform in a way that is not only enjoyable internationally. Only we always faded it out and I would say that in my reflections on the USA I saw too little in the past, just as I saw too little up to September 11th and afterwards the unbelievable importance of religion in America Politics. We cut away a little something that is unpleasant in American society, in American politics, and idealize a little bit of the liberal that Ms. Clinton represents, and that is why we often get a crooked picture.

Great respect for the self-made man

Müller: How is it that Clinton is connected to Wall Street and that billionaire Donald Trump is supposed to stand for the fact that he can also stand up for the poorer, for the underprivileged whites?

Hoe: Americans like, of course - it's still different from us - that Americans look and speak like us, but they are different. And of course, Americans still have a lot of respect for the self-made man. That made America great in history. He advanced the economy, from Rockefeller, as they are all called. And of course there is also a shirt sleeve and that is admired in a certain way. Of course we don't like that type. But we must not forget: in America he is one of them and enjoys a great reputation.

Müller: Now I'm already getting punitive looks from our broadcast driver, we have to watch the time, we only have a few seconds left. But I have to ask you this: How does it all turn out?

Hoe: Only one person can defeat Trump, and that is himself. Anyone else who would have been nice to Ms. Clinton, treated her decently as a gentleman does, would have won this election by a large margin. If he doesn't, then he has only lost to himself, because everything spoke in favor of the new dynamic, that change is necessary, and now we are waiting.

Müller: The political scientist and US expert Professor Christian Hacke. Thanks for the time, have a nice day and we'll see you again for the next few days.

Hoe: Thank you.

Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt statements made by its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.