In recent years, there has been a growing political deviation in the Western world. A variety of countries have experienced a dramatic political shift. Marine Le Pen's rise in France, the election of Donald Trump in the US and Britain's Brexit lead by Nigel Farage are prime examples of this change. Judgements of these movements can be reserved for later, but an analysis of what they have in common is in order. What do these movements represent? And what does it mean to the Western world? First, each must be evaluated for a fair comparison.
In 2011, Marine Le Pen was elected as the President of the National Front, a French political party. Le Pen ran for President of France in 2017, earning an unexpected 33.9% of the vote. What's particularly interesting, however, is her political trends. The French National Front party has clear stances on popular political issues. The policies they promote are particularly isolationist — more specifically with regards to leaving both the Eurozone and EU. The party wants to reduce France's 140,000 net immigration rate to only 10,000. Most importantly, Marine Le Pen specifically has stated her position in favor of protectionism.
Donald Trump has his own political agenda. While running on the Republican Party platform, he does not fully conform to classically Republican ideals, policies or goals. He has made statements regarding immigrants pouring into the United States causing citizens to lose jobs. He has made strong and consistent attempts to acquire funds from Congress to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. He has also aligned himself against free trade in numerous instances. Under Trump's instruction, the United States has instituted a variety of tariffs against Chinese imported goods.
Last, but certainly not least, Brexit. Brexit is a political movement in the United Kingdom that started to gain traction in 2016. It is primarily an economic movement pushing for the separation of Britain from the European Union. The measure was moved to a referendum and was supported by the general populace. As a result, Britain will be leaving the European Union in March of 2019. Brexit has significant underlying political implications, however. The party at the forefront of this movement is known as UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party). UKIP, like Trump and Le Pen, has taken strong positions on political issues. UKIP is particularly fond of nationalism. They are categorized as a British Unionist Party. As one can infer, they are strongly opposed to the UK's membership in the European Union. Their reasoning includes the flooding of their country with immigrants, which they consider one of the largest problems facing their country.
What connects these movements is their populist, nationalist, anti-immigration agenda. Each of these parties takes strong positions against immigration. These movements are very anti-establishment and consistently criticize a certain class of individuals for the poor economic effects that their country may suffer. The anti-immigration sentiment has been a consistent factor in their comparison. Moreover, they are considered some of the most right-winged parties within their respective countries. But what is both interesting and shocking is that their rise came in the same three-year span. The three examples I have provided are not the only ones that exist. Ukraine, Brazil and multiple other countries are also facing the strengthening of their far right.
What has been causing this expansion is unclear. In the United States, many have attributed it to a group of voters who have been "forgotten" by the establishment. I believe it to be slightly more nuanced than that. It's most likely a result of an economic underclass that has suffered significantly. Regardless of why, this underclass has found it difficult to rise above, climb the ladder, or shift their economic position. Many far-right parties appeal to this class along with anyone related to them. These far-right movements paint a very clear picture: there are reasons apart from yourself that you are in poverty.
In each respective country, the party can paint a slightly different picture, whether it's related to the EU or liberal policy. However, there are two constants across countries: trade and immigration. This can be boiled down to the passage of "things" through the border. If you look closely enough, it's quite obvious that nationalism drives this sentiment.
Whether or not you take issue with these movements, their success is obvious. They make strong appeals to people who suffer consistently. Unfortunately, they rarely solve many problems, and I predict that they will be voted out by the constituents who once trusted them to fix their country.