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Analysis: Could the advance of the far right in Europe be a prophecy for Trump?

In June 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union, in a populist uprising that foreshadowed Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory a few months later.

Now, in June 2024, far-right candidates, many of whom share Trump’s populist nationalism, hostility to immigrants, blunt economic message, and disdain for ruling elites and global institutions, have just made sweeping election gains. of the EU.

Is political lightning about to strike twice?

US voters do not follow the guidance of foreigners, and American presidential elections, which take place state by state, are very different from those in the European Union. Furthermore, Trump’s victory eight years ago had more to do with the shortcomings of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign than Brexit.

But President Joe Biden should be worried. The latest campaign in Europe successfully tested a message that mixes a potent political cocktail – public anger over what is seen as uncontrolled migration, the pain of voters facing high prices and the cost to individuals of fighting climate change. . Trump harshly attacks these issues in decisive states that will decide the race for the White House.

Another lesson from the European elections is that, in an era of inflation, those in power are vulnerable to a disaffected electorate.

When Biden arrives at the G7 summit in Italy this week, he will join a quartet of four other politically diminished Western leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suffered defeats in European elections that rewarded far-right parties that echo the continent’s dark past.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s low approval ratings mean he may not even lead his Liberal Party in elections scheduled for the end of next year.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to be voted out at next month’s general election after 14 years of Conservative rule. Ironically, the safest European leader in the G7 will be Giorgia Meloni, the right-wing prime minister of Italy, a country known for dismissing leaders at a frantic pace. Meloni’s party won big over the weekend, making her one of the most powerful leaders across the Atlantic.

One saving grace for Biden may be that the US election is not a traditional showdown between an outside insurgent and an unpopular sitting president. Trump is, in many ways, an incumbent who boasts a controversial legacy in the White House and carries heavy political baggage as an impeached and convicted former president. And populist nationalism is not on the rise everywhere.

Biden led a surprisingly successful midterm election campaign against the influences of the Republican Party’s “Make America Great Again” fringe in 2022.

An expected return to power by the Labor Party in Britain next month would buck the trend of rising right-wing parties. And Poland has just rejected eight years of Trump-inspired populist rule.

Macron responded to the rise of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party with a bold strategy that surprised commentators watching his post-election speech in TV studios. He dissolved Parliament and called new elections.

The National Rally is an evolution of the ultra-right anti-immigrant National Front, which has never managed to navigate the country’s electoral system to win the presidency. Le Pen has now moderated some policies to appeal to a wider group of voters.

Macron, who leads a centrist party that was defeated in the European elections, may be betting that greater turnout in legislative elections could reverse the trend.

A post-election coalition against the far right could also emerge in Parliament. But if the National Rally wins the two-round elections that end weeks before the Paris Olympics, Macron could be forced to name 28-year-old far-right star Jordan Bardella as prime minister in a strange deal. cohabitation.

Cynics question whether Macron hopes that a far-right government could be so disastrous that it could tarnish Le Pen’s hopes of succeeding him in 2027.

Macron told voters that his bet was based on confidence “in the ability of the French people to make the fairest choice for themselves and future generations”. He implicitly implores voters discouraged by the economy to save their country’s fundamental values, calling his announcement an act of “confidence in our democracy.”

This is quite similar to the warning that American democracy is in deep danger and needs to be saved by voters, which Biden voiced alongside Macron last week, during commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

That’s why the White House is following the results of the July 7 French elections even more closely than Sunday’s European elections.

Source: CNN Brasil

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