December 10, 2015

The rise of the European right and Donald Trump

Sean Illing, Alternet - Over the weekend France’s far-right National Front won 30 percent of the national vote in the first round of regional elections, becoming the most popular party in France. The FN, as Salon’s Ben Norton noted, “runs on a harshly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim platform. Le Pen [president of the FN], wants to eliminate immigration and make it much more difficult for migrants already in the country to attain citizenship. The FN says it has zero tolerance for undocumented immigrants, and hopes to ban dual nationality for non-Europeans.”

The rise of the FN is an indication of where France – and Europe more generally – is heading. Across Europe, parties that traffic in xenophobia and neo-fascism are finding more and more success in electoral politics, and right-wing demagogues are capitalizing on growing frustrations among their electorates.

And it’s impossible to miss the parallels in America.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, argued that the fascistic undertones of Donald Trump’s campaign mirror those of Europe: “I see the phenomena as very similar. Trump is the functional equivalent of the far-right in Europe, he performs the same functions in the political system, and attracts the same kind of support…white, nativist, lower-educated and very unhappy with the establishment.”

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