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French press review 8 November 2016

How have American newspapers been describing the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? Is America on the brink of another revolution? What is the average value of the property held by the poorest 10 percent of the French population? And does grunting and groaning help you win tennis matches?

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As the US prepares to elect its 45th president, Le Monde looks at how American newspapers have been describing the campaign.

"Bizarre, ugly and discouraging," just about sums it up for the New York Times.

The Washington Post says the level of political debate was "abysmal".

Other writers describe "a political nightmare", a winding, tormented process which has undermined the solidity of American democracy.

The campaign was terrible, the presidency will be worse

And the worst may still be to come. The Charlotte Observer says the character and stature of the United States have been diminished and that the damage will take a long time to repair. The same paper warns that things will get worse before they get better.

The Miami Herald says the choice faced by electors today is between a "calculating liar" and a "clumsy" one.

The New York Times calls Donald Trump an "ignorant and dangerous tyrant" and asks readers what they did to prevent his dramatic rise. If she wins, Hillary Clinton will be one of the most unpopular presidents of all time, collecting votes from those who will support the least bad option in the hope of some kind of damage limitation, it believes.

Nations get the politicians the deserve

Americans should accept that the situation is of their own making, according to National Public Radio. US society is deeply divided along many fault lines and Trump has been able to exploit those weaknesses.

The Washington Post says the fact that Trump exists politically is the result of profound racial, social, sexual and geographic divisions. He has been the "prophet of pessimism" according to the Los Angeles Times.

French daily Libération says the possibility of a Trump victory inspires nothing but fear.

And all the signs are that, if their man loses, the Republican legislative majority, the conservative media and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation will work to make the life of the first woman president of the USA a nightmare. The Seattle Times says that, if you thought the 18-month campaign period was bad, just wait till you see the next four years in the White House.

Prophets of paralysis and revolution

The same paper says Washington is on the brink of political paralysis and warns of the danger of revolution in four years time if nothing fundamental changes. Others, like the Bloomberg journalist Andrew Ferguson, are inclined to be optimistic on the basis that the nation has survived civil war, world war, terrorist attack and the assassination of presidents. It can surely survive a political campaign that has looked, and sounded, a bit like a street fight.

Right-wing Le Figaro says the candidates represent two different visions of America, and that tomorrow's result will have huge implications for the future of the United States and, indeed, the rest of the world.

Interestingly, Le Figaro notes that most ordinary Russians support Trump, while the Kremlin distrusts both candidates.

To read our coverage of this year's US presidential election click here

To look back at the 2012 US presidential election click here

Speaking of different visions, Le Figaro says the top 10 percent of the French population have an estate valued at 595,700 euros; the bottom 10 percent have to settle for an average net value of 4,300 euros.

Is this a tennis match or are you just pleased to see me?

Le Monde's science pages ask if the modern fashion for tennis players to grunt, groan, whine and wheeze their way through matches has an effect on their opponents.

The paper says Raphael Nadal and Serena Williams sound like they are providing the soundtrack for a pornographic movie; Maria Sharapova's service is accompanied by cries that reach 100 decibels, just six short of the level at which she would damage the hearing of her opponent and thousands of spectators.

And there's scientific proof that these orgasmic utterances do make the opponent less accurate.

Volunteers watching a tennis shot on screen were asked to predict where the ball would land. Those who saw the pictures and heard a 60 decibel grunt at the moment of impact were consistently slower and less accurate than those who simply heard the impact of racket on ball.

The researchers describe the advantage as "enormous".

Le Monde wonders how long it will be before noisy players are docked points for grunting.

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