Monday, March 27, 2017

European Populism Not Dead. It has Powerful Friends in America.

Although the European establishment and the EU bureaucracy feels more secure after the Netherlands vote, the attraction of populism and nationalism remains strong in many European countries. It will next be tested in France.

The EU establishment cites recent polls that show EU favoring candidates in France and Germany have been surging into tight leads. But, if one conclusion came out of the recent Donald Trump and Angela Merkel summit, it is that the Trump administration is pro-populist, pro-nationalist and anti-EU. Their meeting highlighted no consensus exists on trade or EU’s open borders.

U.S. populist and nationalist money and online campaigning was spotted in the Netherlands. Expect behind-the-scenes support in France. Because Trump and his policies are an easy target for the European left, low-key campaigning will be the tactic.

In terms of Germany, although Trump and his team would prefer a party of the right, Merkel is such an object of resistance that they would likely prefer any chancellor but Merkel, even a socialist.

The sense of confidence for the European establishment or Brussels bureaucracy should be tempered by the challenges they face and the forces arrayed against them. And then there is, of course, the disinformation and aggressive campaigning of Russia.

The Buzz: Populism dominates 2017 European politics
The Buzz: European nationalists cheer Trump
The Buzz: Germany vs. U.S. – Policy and political battleground
Crossley Center: Netherlands moves right on immigration, but rejects the chaos of fringe nationalism

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