Donald Trump is not a joke: A warning to Americans from an Italian who survived Berlusconi

Don’t let Trump troll his way to the presidential candidacy. He may not even be the worst candidate on the Republican side—as far as I can tell, that’s a very, very close race—but in any case he needs to be taken seriously. What he says is worrisome and has enabled and indeed normalized some of the darkest and most racist beliefs of his base. (Nearly 20% of his supporters in South Carolina believe slavery shouldn’t have been abolished.) The time for voyeurism and condescension and exclamations of “You won’t believe what he said!” has long passed.

Because I grew up in Berlusconi’s Italy, I have worried that Trump would get the Republican nomination for quite a while now. But unlike what happened in my country, I believe Americans won’t make him their next president. That said, a word of warning to Americans and the American media: Enough with the humor and the sarcasm, what you need now is straightforward, fact-based, political confrontation. On the brink of “Super Tuesday,” your country risks becoming the butt of a joke.

And believe me, there is absolutely nothing funny about that.

Fascinating read. The author does seem to have a track record comparing world politicians to Berlusconi though, including Narendra Modi. While I don't agree with all of what the author writes, the takeaway is something I totally agree with.

Populism works. Even at the highest office of the country. Don't deride it. Don't ignore it. Worse, don't underestimate it.