US voters in HK see disaster or 'end to greatness'

Top News | Michael Shum 3 Nov 2020

American voters in Hong Kong are just as divided as those back home.

While Democrat supporters in Hong Kong said President Donald Trump seeking reelection is "leading the country toward disaster or even war," Republican supporters believe Joe Biden will "stop making America great."

But both sides agree the result of the presidential election will have little impact on Hong Kong.

An American teacher, who has lived here for 15 years, said she officially identified herself as a Democrat after Trump won in 2016.

"Trump is an agent of chaos. He is a lying, racist, narcissistic misogynist who has absolutely no clue how to lead a country and will continue to lead the US toward disaster - environmental, economic and health care - or even war," she said.

But she added: "The US needs to start electing youthful, forward-thinking, informed and diverse leaders who reflect all of society rather than old, white men."

Voting for the fourth time from Hong Kong, she believes Trump is not holding back Beijing as some people seem to think.

"I think Hong Kong is just a pawn in a proxy war. I don't think the mainland is all of a sudden going to feel free to move against Hong Kong more than it already has if Biden is elected. I am hoping his experience with foreign diplomacy will improve the situation," she said.

"The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as well as the Hong Kong Autonomy Act were bipartisan, meaning the Democrats also agreed. I think Trump could start a real war with China."

Tariq Dennison, spokesman for Republicans Overseas in Hong Kong, said this is "the most polarized, least rational and least civil election" since the 1960s.

"Most of the anti-Trump voters seem to not like [Trump] as a person, and don't seem interested in what he's actually accomplished," said Dennison, who has worked in Hong Kong for 10 years.

"Although I was not the biggest fan of Trump initially, what really eliminated any hesitation I might have was seeing Trump's nomination of the exceptional Judge Amy Coney Barrett [to the Supreme Court], and how disrespectful Senate democrats were to her."

Dennison said the election is likely to mean far less for Hong Kong than how much we thought the previous election in 2016 would mean for the city.

"In 2016, everyone 'knew' that a Trump victory would mean a trade war, but we were wrong about Trump being a disaster for Hong Kong. Hong Kong was instead hit by two shocks that had nothing to do with Trump or the US - the protests, then the virus-curbing measures," he said.

"In a longer term, I do see Trump as having defined the balance of power between the world's two superpowers across the Pacific in ways I don't think Biden would be strong enough to maintain, but I always hope to be pleasantly surprised."

Meanwhile, the Republicans Overseas did not plan any in-person activities for the presidential election due to the pandemic, while Dennison said there will be a few groups of members planning informal watch parties, mostly online.

On the other hand, Democrats Abroad Hong Kong have planned a watch party at 9am Wednesday morning.

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