Trump Has Dented Populism in Europe | Justin Bowie

After the initial shock following Donald Trump’s election last November had subsided, concerns emerged among many in Europe that his rhetoric would prove successful across the Atlantic, in a year where key elections were going to take place.

Already the continent had witnessed the shock of Britain deciding to leave the European Union, and there was fear that if politicians such as Marine Le Pen and other populists found themselves in significant positions of power, Europe would be more divided than it had been in decades.

Of course, this has largely not come to fruition thus far. While victory for Le Pen in the French election was always unlikely, and her chances were almost certainly overstated due to other shock election results, she will nevertheless have been disappointed with the mere 33.9% of the vote she received in the end.

Simply reaching the second round of voting was a significant boost for Le Pen compared to previous campaigns, however the final result demonstrated that she remains distant from any genuine source of power, still a fringe voice in French politics, unlike Trump in the US.

Similarly, Geert Wilders’ bid to see his party win the most seats in March’s Dutch election ultimately proved fruitless; in the end the Party for Freedom gained a mere five seats, finishing with 13 less than incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party.

The efforts of the Alternative for Germany party ahead of this year’s federal elections also appear to have stalled. In December, they were polling at 15%, however a recent YouGov polls indicates that their support now stands at just 8%. Reigning Chancellor Angela Merkel, faced with a ton of criticism in the immediate aftermath of the refugee crisis, now appears set to retain her position once again.

To place the failure of right-wing European populists in achieving their aims completely at the feet of Trump would, of course, be disingenuous. Inner party politics and domestic political events will have also played a role. In France, Emmanuel Macron’s steady rise as a viable centrist option perhaps dented Le Pen’s hopes, and the near-complete evaporation of UKIP’s vote in the most recent UK election was due to the party achieving their central aim after the country voted for Brexit.

Justin Bowie is a journalism student and writer for Student Voices.

Trump Has Dented Populism in Europe | Justin Bowie Trump Has Dented Populism in Europe | Justin Bowie Reviewed by Student Voices on 13:58 Rating: 5

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