A populist Domino effect?
The Domino Theory was a theory — commonly referred to during the 1950’s t0 80’s — that stated that if one country fell to Communism so would its neighbours and it was the basis for many foreign policy decisions — including the War in Vietnam. But could we be facing another domino effect; regarding populism? Could it be that Brexit was the domino that triggered Trump's election and could Trump’s election trigger victories of populists - such as Marine Le Pen — in Europe?
Donald Trump frequently mentioned Britain’s exit from The EU during the campaign and drew comparisons between Brexit and himself, having called himself, “Mr Brexit”. Trump certainly tried to capitalise on the ‘anti-establishment’ sentiment created by Brexit and other Right-wing European politicians are doing the same. Could this and Trump's election generate enough enthusiasm to propel the likes of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders to power?
The next election in Europe where the far-right could win is in France, where Marine Le Pen is currently benefitting from controversies surrounding her two opponents, and then, after that there is an election in Germany where The AFD is expected to make gains.
But, the rise of the populist right in Europe could actually be in spite of Trump's election. A poll — conducted last year found that only 9% of Europeans had confidence in Trump and a poll out this month found that Germans were more afraid of Trump than Russian President Putin. However, while Trump himself may not be popular in Europe, his policies seem to be, with a recent poll showing Trump’s immigration ban has large support across Europe.
And, the populist right are continuing to rise in Europe and it’s not impossible to think that in one year's time Marine Le Pen could be President of France and Angela Merkel could no longer be German Chancellor. So we’ll have to wait and see whether the far-right have reached their peak or whether Trump’s win and Brexit are just the beginning.