The Italian people have an important message for the Americans: beware of Donald Trump. They made a fatal decision, much like the one people living on this side of the Atlantic appear on the verge of making, and they are urging this country to save itself.
The Italian version of Donald Trump is Silvio Berlusconi, a mere nine years older than the Republican presumed presidential candidate. The Italian Trump led the country for four terms, much to the Italians sorrow.
Trump is a real estate mogul, and his Italian twin is a media magnate who started out in real-estate development, according to an USA Today interview. As a matter of record, the two billionaires jumped into the political pudding by promising their followers business experience was exactly what the countries’ needed to take over the world.
Italians are not smitten by Trump. Retired school teacher Barbara Conti, 78, says:
‘There might have been a time when I would have liked Trump, and it’s true he can be charming. But that doesn’t work on me anymore.’
‘I supported Berlusconi and ended up losing part of my pension by being forced to retire early. When you get taken advantage of by one con man, you can see the next one coming 100 steps away.’
Hopefully, the two men were separated at birth, because it would be too awful to know they are part of a niche population.
Gian Franco Gallo, an Italian political affairs analyst with ABS Securities in Milan, says:
‘For Italy watching the election in the U.S. gives us a sense of déjà vu. It’s like you’re rewatching a horror movie, and as the protagonist is about to get ambushed, you throw your hands up and scream at the screen, “Don’t go through that door!” ‘
The world laughs at Berlusconi’s sexual antics the lecher calls “bunga bunga,” and they include wild parties inviting barely legal, and perhaps not legal, teenage girls and other old, rich men. The old pervert was caught paying a minor girl for sex.
After winning four elections to rule Italy, he buried himself in a world of crime, Italy actually banned Berlusconi from holding office until 2019. According to Maria Rossi, who is the director of Opinioni polls, the former leader couldn’t get “one in seven Italians” votes.
Trump’s twin has a brassy personality matching the U.S. version. Burlesconi is brazen and blessed with a huge ego, which both dirty old men feed with unpleasant and disrespectful treatment of women.
Stefano Matucci 55, a restaurant manager said:
‘Every time I see Donald Trump, I think of Silvio Berlusconi. I don’t say not to vote for him. In fact, I supported Berlusconi for a while. But if you do vote for someone like that, understand what you get. Silvio always did what was best for Silvio.’
‘I think Trump is probably the same.’
Trump and Burlesconi scapegoat immigrants and float along on a cushion of crudeness and blunders that would kill off traditional politicians. But as Trump bragged, he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people” and he would not lose voters. Berlusconi seems to be made of the same fabric.
The two men are both vain about their hair. Trump has the most elaborate comb-over on this side of the Atlantic, and Berlusconi is transplanting plugs of hair as fast as his hair can fall out.
If Trump manages to get himself elected, we can look forward what the Italian act-alike did to his country. He left Italy in a financially fragile state and tangled in political corruption. The longer Berlusconi was in the public light, the more sex scandals and outright crimes crawled out, with everything from unscrupulous accounting to tax evasion thrown into the mess.
‘In a way, Italy has always looked to comparatively orderly elections in the U.S. as something to strive for.’
‘I think it’s a bit confusing that the Americans are considering the same kind of error Italy already made: voting for a seductive demagogue like Trump.’
Author of a Berlusconi biography, U.S. journalist Alan Friedman describes the Italian Trump as “the second-most influential Italian leader of the last hundred years, after (wartime fascist leader Benito) Mussolini.”
‘He transformed Italian politics. “But in the end, he will be remembered much more for his scandals than for his achievements.” ’
The powerful Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, editorialized that Trump is:
‘…a parasite that destroys the political establishment through the use of self-marketing and advertising techniques.’
The Italians should know. Hopefully, Americans will avoid such a terrible pitfall.