A Right Turn
Robert A. Levine November 28, 2023
Why are so many democracies electing right-wing parties or coalitions to power? Nations that were previously centrist or leftist are suddenly giving the right governmental control. Is it because of local issues or is it a global phenomenon? Does it have any implications for the 2024 national election in America? Even where the right has not attained power, it is gaining more support from the populace. It is also occurring in strange places like Sweden, the Netherlands and Argentina. In Germany, the AfD, Alternative for Deutschland is now the third largest political party, a successor to the Nazis, polling between 19 and 23 percent behind the Christian Democrats and the Socialists. In France, Marie Le Pen’s far right National Rally in one of the major political parties with a racist and fascist past. In an April poll by Paris Match, Le Pen came out ahead of President Macron, 47 percent to 42 percent. The National Rally is the major opposition party in the French Assembly.
In October 2022, Sweden elected the most far right-wing government in its history led by the Sweden Democrats, a party that is anti-immigrant and anti-multi-culturalism. Scandinavian nations have been traditionally left wing and almost socialistic, so the election was a major surprise. Other European nations with right wing governments include Italy where the Brothers of Italy Party and Lega rule, with Giorgia Meloni as Prime Minister. In Hungary, the Fidesz Party under Victor Orban has been in power for years, controlling the media and the educational system. The Finns Party in Finland, the second largest political party, is also right-wing and the rightest United Serbia Party controls Serbia. In Switzerland, the Swiss People’s Party, a right wing nationalist organization runs the country. Slovakia, a neighbor of Ukraine, elected a right-wing coalition government in September 2023 that supports Russia, as does Hungary.
Latin America which defeated a right wing President Bolsonaro in Brazil last year, elected a rightist government in Argentina this month headed by Mauricio Macri who has strange economic ideas including making the dollar the nation’s official currency. Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador all have right-wing or right leaning governments. New Zealand also elected a right wing government this year. And at the moment, right-wing Republicans control the House of Representatives in the U.S. and Trump is ahead of Biden in polls for the presidential election in 2024
Right-wing populism appears to be booming in the western world. Why?
The two main reasons are a reaction to immigration and unhappiness with inflation. Nations with a predominant ethnic group are unhappy about what they see as hordes of immigrants either entering their country or trying to get in. They’re afraid about competition for their jobs and that some or many of the immigrants may require government support, the funding coming out of their taxes. Even more important, they don’t want mixing of their ethnicity with that of immigrants, particularly if the migrants are African or Middle Eastern in origin.
Inflation is also making citizens in many western nations unhappy with their economic status and that of the country itself. Their wages do not go as far in meeting their needs and they are not happy with their incomes and purchasing power. They see the elites on top of the heap doing well, while working men and women suffer.
Social media amplifies the issues of immigration and inflation even if these problems are relatively minimal in some countries. The populace believes they are a threat to their way of life. With artificial intelligence becoming more common, misinformation may surge even more online which is where many individuals get their news. Will this right-wing renaissance stop? Inflation will likely moderate over time in most countries. However, with global warming, immigration to temperate nations will only increase in the coming years. If centrist and left leaning governments cannot find a way to control immigration, the right will continue to gain more power.
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