Share

The rising tide of populism

  “Mainstream political parties have responded very late and very poorly to the frustration and anger,” said Matthew Goodwin, a British academic from the London-based think-tank Chatham House.

In a time of uncertainty, a strong state with secure borders seems the best defense against a fast-changing world. Protectionism is cast as the antidote to decades of globalization.

Trump’s election is the latest example of surging political populism fueled by supporters’ fears that globalization is leaving them behind.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s foul-mouthed tirades against the Filipino elite helped him cultivate a man-of-the-people image that propelled him to the presidency in June.

Commentators have drawn strong comparisons between Trump’s victory and Britain’s shock referendum vote in June to quit the European Union, which was driven by anger over immigration and the perception that Brussels bureaucrats wield too much power.

In France, Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front is set to make it into next May’s presidential runoff, although polls predict she will be beaten by a more mainstream conservative candidate.

From Austria to the Netherlands, to Germany and even famously tolerant Scandinavia, once-fringe parties are gaining ground and public acceptance.

Meanwhile, powerful leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping are also ruling with a strong style of leadership and conservative rhetoric.