Current global news, including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Insider, The Telegraph, and Politico, warns of a rise of the right, mainly citing the rise of far-right parties in continental Europe and the popularity of Donald Trump, and right-wing thinkers and pundits, in the US. Examples of this political shift can be seen throughout Europe.
Marine Le Pen has been gaining popularity since 2012 when she first ran for the French Presidency on a platform of anti-immigration, interventionist government, and economic nationalism, she now serves as parliamentary party leader of the National Rally in the Assembly.
Politico has reported that Le Pen and her party ‘National Rally’ are facing accusations of being “the Kremlin’s mouthpiece in France”. A deep fake, AI altered video of Le Pen speaking Russian in her New Year’s speech was also posted by a member of Macron’s ‘Renaissance’ party, Politico claims.
In a new chapter for Le Pen’s rise, the Financial Times reports she has adopted a political protege, 28-year-old Jordan Bardella. The FT also claims that one of the causes of the surge of conservative popularity in France is the influx of refugees and asylum seekers in the last 10 to 20 years.
In the Netherlands the same story is unfolding with Geert Wilders victory of 37 parliamentary seats in 2023 with his PVV, Party for Freedom, on a platform of anti-Islam and anti immigration rhetoric.
The Freedom Party of Austria, led by Herbert Kickl, is reportedly leading national polls, once again on a platform of anti-immigration, covid scepticism, and ideological conservatism.
Only last week, on the 1st of January 2024, a rally in Rome outside the former headquarters of the Italian Social Movement (which morphed into the Brothers of Italy party, led by Giorgia Meloni, the incumbent Prime Minister of Italy), was invoking pro-Mussolini rhetoric, performing a reportedly fascist salute.
While all these stories exist on the sidelines of the mainstream news zeitgeist, the upcoming American election can be expected to, once again, take up a more primary space in the collective political consciousness.
The performance of Joe Biden as US President since his victory over Donald Trump in 2020 has been widely and palpably questionable, verging on distressing. His advancing age and worrying public embarrassments - slurring his words, being visibly confused, and occasionally falling down - leave quite a lot to be desired, and make 77-year-old Trump seem vivacious in comparison. Again, Trump rose to popularity with an anti-immigration and economic nationalist campaign.
Joan Didion wrote in her essay ‘Insider Baseball’ of “the process” of American politics. This process exists only to maintain itself, it occupies another plain of existence. Didion wrote that American politics’ disconnection was stark to her because it seemed to have no relation to the people who hung around gas stations, people who were presumably definitive of the American non-political class to Didion.
Joe Biden fits seamlessly into that definition of an American politician. Donald Trump, however, could believably have a conversation with people who hang around gas stations. Beyond this capacity for conversation, on a more symbolic level, and I believe Didion would agree, it is believable that Trump exists and has a relation to those people. This is, of course, a bi-product of all populist parties. Populism, by definition, translate an interest in the general populus, which today, as leftist - widely elitist and corrupt - politics has unfolded, necessarily excludes politicians.
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