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Politics

Why European Populism Is on the Rise

The EU leadership's commitment to globalism over nationalism has citizens objecting.

Thomas Gallatin · May 28, 2019

Over the weekend, the countries making up the European Union held elections for representatives to the EU parliament. As the results came in, it became clear that Europe is becoming increasingly divided. Nationalist parties gained significant ground, though pro-EU groups still maintained a sizable majority. In Britain, the months-old Brexit Party was the big winner, garnering 32% of the vote, clearly sending the message that Britons are not happy with the soon-to-be-departing Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to secure a Brexit deal. May’s Conservatives and the left-wing Labour Party were routed.

In Italy, Matteo Salvini, leader of the conservative League Party, celebrated a big election victory by declaring, “There is a wind of positive energy. It has brought in fresh air.” Salvini’s populist party campaigned heavily against the EU’s pro-migrant policies. After years of nearly unchecked mass migration from mainly Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa, many Europeans have tired of being relegated to the status of second-class citizen by their elitist, globalist-minded leaders. They’re turning to new populist/nationalist parties to fix it.

Writing for The New York Times, Bret Stephens observes why these parties are gaining ground around the world, as well as why he believes President Donald Trump will win a second term: “The common thread here isn’t just right-wing populism. It’s contempt for the ideology of them before us: of the immigrant before the native-born; of the global or transnational interest before the national or local one; of racial or ethnic or sexual minorities before the majority; of the transgressive before the normal. It’s a revolt against the people who say: Pay an immediate and visible price for a long-term and invisible good. It’s hatred of those who think they can define that good, while expecting someone else to pay for it.”

It certainly would seem that rejection of left-wing elitism is becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

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