The UK’s Obsession with American Politics

Seren Livie

Over the past year, American politics has come to the forefront of British news. Media outlets ranging from the BBC to the Daily Mail regularly run headlines detailing the ins-and-outs of the Trump administration, and it isn’t unusual for broadcasters to regularly analyse key pieces of American policy alongside Britain’s own. With the wall-to-wall coverage that has been going on since Donald Trump’s election last year, many members of the public can likely name as many members of Trump’s cabinet as they can Theresa May’s.

This amplified interest in foreign affairs can be linked to the rapid globalisation and interconnectivity that has happened all over the world throughout the past decade with the rise of the internet and social media. It is now easier than ever to obtain news from around the world instantaneously, with the USA often dominating online conversations.

The focus on American politics could be accredited to the country’s importance and dominance in world affairs, and to the UK’s reliance on things such as the USA’s willingness to implement trade deals, especially in the wake of Brexit. However, other countries whose influence is comparable to that of the USA, such as Germany and China, are often given nowhere near as much air-time by the British press, nor are they regarded with as much interest by the public. The reason for this hyper focus on recent American politics can be linked directly to the selection of President Trump.

Twice as many British people tuned in to watch Donald Trump’s election last year than did Barack Obama’s in 2012. As a well-known celebrity before assuming office, and as a controversial figure now, Trump has held the attention of people around the world through his divisive actions. For the media, he is a figure of both entertainment and horror; his errors are easy to mock, while his policies can be awful to witness.

This makes his presidency enthralling to watch, especially from a British viewpoint. His actions, while causing potentially seismic changes to the US citizens, largely do not affect us. We as a country love to laugh at his blunders and shake our heads at his policies, while not having it impact our everyday lives. We can read about it from a safe distance, and as long as we continue to read it, the British media will continue to print it.