President-Elect Trump, say hello to the world.
Perhaps lulled into a false sense of security by polls that showed Hillary Clinton well ahead, the global community now seems to be scrambling to figure out who Donald Trump is and how he might govern. As shown below, data from Google Trends confirms that worldwide searches for “Donald Trump” are at an all-time high.
(100 arbitrarily designates the most Google searches ever recorded for a given search term since 2004, with everything scaled relative to that. In other words, the number of people worldwide Googling Trump has more than quadrupled in the aftermath of the election.)
The top six non-North American countries to evince interest in President-Elect Trump are apparently Kenya, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Singapore, and Nigeria. I’m not sure what to make of that, except that there’s probably bias in favor of English-speaking countries built into those results.
More qualitatively, I can attest to how strong interest in the American election has been in the Delhi region, and how powerfully people here have been affected by the surprising result. An Indian colleague took the Wednesday off as a sick day to deal with her incipient depression. And just this afternoon a forum on the future of Afghanistan-Pakistan-India relations surprisingly segued into a long Q&A about Trump’s likely future foreign policy. Now admittedly these have been happening in the milieu of the Indian intelligentsia, so I’m glad that Google’s data confirms that this part of broader, worldwide trend.
I’m not a believer in American exceptionalism, but for a variety of material, cultural, and historical reasons much of the rest of the world does continue to pay exceedingly close attention to developments in the United States. The rise of Donald Trump doesn’t seem likely to change that anytime soon.