What Trump’s victory means for the European populists
Now that Trump dramatically swept five states in the Northeastern United States, averaging around 30 percentage points ahead of any rivals, people in the US are starting to switch their focus to the general election. Some Democrats are celebrating, because they think Trump will be the easiest to beat. (I vaguely remember some Republican acquaintances celebrating Obama’s triumph over Hillary in the primaries along the same lines). And Hillary is just looking tired.
What this means though is that Trump is the presumptive nominee. It also means that a skilled communicator can be politically incorrect and still win elections. Especially if they are media savvy and maintain a strong social media presence. You can say that it is right to put your nation first and question globalism, and you can refute mass migration in clear and simple language, and still win.
What does this mean for the European populists standing against mass migration? Great things, really.
Europeans have been blessed with some amazing populist and patriotic politicians in the last decade. We’ve seen Pia Kjærsgaard, who is now Speaker of the Danish Parliament, take the Danish People’s Party from obscurity to the backbone of the Danish government. Marine Le Pen’s Front National is the leading party in France. Christian Blocher’s SVP is the leading party in Switzerland.
Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party has consistently been ahead in the polls for months, as has Heinz-Christian Strache’s FPÖ. The FPÖ also just had a phenomenal win for the first round of voting in the presidential election. Jimmie Åkesson has also helped double the Sweden Democrats share of the vote every election, and now frequently also polls as the largest party in Sweden.
Nigel Farage and UKIP have had great successes, so that even key figures like Boris Johnson have joined the fight to take Great Britain out of the EU. Frauke Petry’s AfD has gone from an obscure party complaining about the Euro to the party that wins German State elections with between 12 and 24% of the vote. The list is very encouraging. We have a movement going on here, a transition to sanity.
And all of these parties have had to wrestle with a very controlled left wing press that is able to play one off the other in the name of political correctness. Always the same accusations that one party or another sounds like the French National Front (mon Dieu!), or the Swedish Democrats (Va?), or that nasty man in Hungary, What’s his name? The one that just released a joint Statement with Chancellor Helmut Kohl calling for an end to Merkel’s disastrous immigration policies? Yeah, that guy!
Donald Trump’s success does more to counteract the biased media than any PR doctor could in any of their respective parties. You can’t filter his opinions out as some fringe occurrence happening in France or Hungary, with everyone accepting the authorized version of the news since they speak little French and no Hungarian.
Trump is winning elections, he speaks English, he has a sense of humor, people understand him, and he is definitely all over the evening news. When the Republican frontrunner and likely nominee says loud and clear that Merkel's immigration policies are insane, people hear it. They look around at what’s happening to Europe, and they get it. They see it with their own eyes.
Trump has shown us that the gatekeepers aren’t as invincible as we thought. We know that laws have made free speech in some European countries amazingly unfree. (Just the fact that Angela Merkel is now silencing German satirists to please Erdogan is breathtaking.)
Nevertheless, after the front runner of the Republican party says it is time to build a wall with Mexico and stop Muslim immigration until the government can figure out what the hell is going on, it won’t be so shocking when Petry or Farage says something similar. The mainstream media and the establishment can try to make it sound shocking. They will try.
But it won’t.