“Populism” seemed to have suffered a premature death a year ago. Emmanuel Macron had beaten Marine Le Pen in the French presidential elections, Dutch right-winger Geert Wilders had underperformed massively, and the EU had found — or at least thought to have found — new popularity all around Europe. After a turbulent 2016, in which the UK voted to exit the EU, and which saw Donald Trump become US president, everything seemed well again.
Ever since, however, the tide has turned again, and Europe’s drift to the right, coupled with the ongoing demise of center-left parties, has continued. Highlights of the past year included a strong performance by the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany (they are polling second behind Angela Merkel’s CDU right now), a right-wing coalition government in Austria, and the Italian election in March, which saw two “populist” movements come to power together (and since then causing havoc on the European level). Continue reading