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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

USA 2016 - What's in it for Europe?

Following the unexpected victory of Donald Trump, many Europeans will be wondering if the same could happen here. My answer is a simple "yes". Whether it will also happen, depends on the attitude of the mainstream political parties. Many politicians still don't really understand what is going on.

The classic political differences between left and right are almost gone as a result of decreasing inequality. The remaining left-right differences are not large enough to win an election. Some politicians appear to have understood this but many do not. They still think in left and right and thus label nationalists as far-right in lack of an answer to this nationalist surge.

The nationalists blame the newcomers, like Muslims in Christian countries, economic refugees and immigrants in continental Europe, and Polish people in the UK. This Blame Game will work for some time but will then erode because it only brings slogans and not solutions.

Many European politicians just deny the arguments of the European nationalists, despite that voters believe these arguments. This situation mirrors the 2016 American Presidential election and we now know the outcome. Hence, my "yes" answer to the question if this political surprise could also happen in Europe. Denial prevents learning from past mistakes.

The classic left-wing parties will pay the biggest price as they are in deep denial. Newcomers (eg, immigrants, refugees) have always been a recruiting source for left-wing parties and this explains their traditional positive stance towards newcomers. The new ball game brings a Catch-22 dilemma: changing the attitude towards newcomers - or continuing denial - will both bring political disaster.

Many right-wing politicians act like monopolists, refusing to accept an oligopoly. They don't treat nationalists as healthy competition but argue on their right of existence. The Dutch PM is an exception as he appears to understand this new ball game. The opinion polls (eg, DDSTPO) between nationalist Geert Wilders (PVV) and Mark Rutte (VVD) show this too.

The only way forward is to accept the validity of the arguments of nationalist parties - and their voters. It's somehow like the old saying: if you can't beat them, join them. The remaining difference between nationalists and other parties is solutions. In general, nationalists are big on slogans and shallow on solutions.

People like Farage, Le Pen, Trump and Wilders are not wrong. Early on, they recognised something amongst the voters and then successfully leveraged on that. Only denial of the validity of these arguments will bring nationalists into Power. The rise of Donald Trump is proof of this. The future fall of Donald Trump (ie, Allan Lichtman's prediction of Trump's impeachment in WP) does not change this at all.

Accepting Change is hard for humans and thus also for politicians.


Lisa Stansfield - Change (1991) - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

If I could change the way I live my life today
I wouldn't change a single thing