Trump-style populism winning over European millennials

European millennials are embracing a new attitude that jibes with President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” theme.

According to an article in Axios on Sunday, there is an “anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, right-wing populist movement sweeping the continent.”

“As unemployment rates peak across Europe and the migrant crisis continues, young people, especially men, are increasingly fed up with the European Union and establishment leaders that they believe allowed conditions to deteriorate,” according to the report.

“Migrants and refugees have provoked an ‘us vs. them’ mentality among disaffected European millennials as they witness their nations welcome outsiders while their own prospects remain stagnant.”

Right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen is gaining popularity among French youth in her run for the presidency, with 33 percent of 18-24-year-olds supporting her. And in the Netherlands, 18-25-year-olds’ support for Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom rose from 7% in 2006 to 27% in 2016.

In an effort to appeal to younger voters, right-wing populist parties have begun to air more socially liberal views.

For example, “the National Front paints Marine Le Pen as a defender of women’s rights — but with a twist — proclaiming that they’re currently under attack from Islam.” Immigrants and refugees are portrayed as “religiously fundamentalist outsiders who won’t accept their lifestyle,” while the National Front works to welcome LGBT voters.

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders has taken the same approach by pointing out, “The freedom that gay people should have…is exactly what Islam is fighting against.”

A “rising star” on France’s political scene is Le Pen’s niece, 27-year-old Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who has been a member of the French Parliament from the south of France for 5 years. The younger Le Pen has voiced staunchly conservative opinions regarding social issues by conducting a public campaign against France’s legalization of gay marriage and calling for an end to “the full and unlimited reimbursement of abortion.”

She also proclaimed that Muslims could only be French “if they follow customs and a lifestyle that has been shaped by Greek and Roman influence and 16 centuries of Christianity.”

Results of the upcoming elections across Europe will prove whether or not the younger generation has enough influence to turn the tide against traditionally liberal values. The Netherlands’ election will take place this Wednesday, and France will conduct its two rounds of presidential voting in late April and early May.

H/T: Axios


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