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The Trump Train is already heading for Europe

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With many similarities between the U.S and European political landscapes, which European country will be the first stop of the Trump Train? Daniele Scalea reports.

THE "TRUMP TRAIN" – once a Twitter hashtag and then a successful metaphor of the assertive, and to date unstoppable, reform wind blown by Donald Trump – has finally arrived at the White House.

But this is very likely not the final destination of its journey. The Trump Train could soon arrive in Europe.

And it would be a return trip. As Donald Trump frequently mentioned, his campaign owes a lot of its inspiration to the Brexit movement. Of course, Trump got in politics well before the Brexit vote in June, but he's started referring to his political rise as a “Brexit plus, plus, plus”. And it wasn't just a motivational motto.

The Trumpist and Brexiteer final arguments strictly resemble one another: a proudly nationalistic rebuttal of adverse fallouts of globalisation, from industrial outsourcing to the West's self-hating ideology of extreme multiculturalism. The Trump Train and the Brexit also share a common grass-roots social base of support — the white working and middle classes of small cities and rural areas, especially.

Even if U.S. society is still very different from that of Europe, the rampant globalisation of recent decades has made them quite close compared to half a century ago. Both the U.S. and Europe have experienced massive deindustrialisation with a geographical concentration of the remaining high-tech industries in a few islands of happiness — few compared to the many rust belts of the Western world. Both the U.S. and Europe have seen a deep financialisation of their economies. Both the U.S. and Europe have been overwhelmed by the new ideology of the so-called politically correct — a post-modern, constructivist, relativist and anti-Western set of theories and practices.

It's true: in the U.S. you can also find the "Bible Belt" but if we consider the European Union as a whole, we could see a Catholic Belt in its Eastern countries, as opposed to Sweden (a European California) or London and Paris (European New Yorks) or, in general, the more liberal Western countries. Exactly as in the U.S., in Europe, the post-modernism is currently hegemonic in colleges and mainstream media, which are trying to inculcate it also in the common man — and the common woman. Finally, the massive immigration flows of recent decades in Europe are resembling more and more the composite ethnic mix of North American society.

In so similar environments, it is predictable to find similar political trends and demands. Brexit-like and Trump-like movements are in high gear throughout Europe, with very few notable exceptions — such as Spain, but maybe only because the Partido Popular is quite a bit more rightwing than its conservative counterparts in other countries. The working class vote has largely migrated from the left to the right, whereas the upper class is now proudly leftist in majority. Larger cities are the liberal strongholds, while the suburbs are swarmed by Brexiteer-style so-called “populists”.

You have read in every possible way how Trump prevailed among the white electorate by 40-60%, losing among blacks (10-90%) and Hispanics (35-65%). Surely we cannot trust too much pollsters's statistics, but they are perfectly in line with surveys in previous elections. Now, take the Brexit vote: white voters chose "Leave" by a notable margin (and indeed determining the final result) of 47-53%, which would be ever wider if it was not for Scotland and Northern Ireland's white voters, who had a local-specific reason for prefering "Remain'. Anyway, the ethnic groups that voted to Remain in the European Union were not Scottish or Irish — they were Asians (35-65%), Muslims (30-70%) and blacks (25-75%).

No wonder if, looking into the foreign-born voters in Europe, or second and third generation immigrants, we find a clear support for the left. And since those groups are now numerically very considerable in many countries, they can actually determine the outcome of an European election. Precisely as blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. have been decisive in the elections of Presidents Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Obama, all with minor approval among white voters — prompting white voters to move rightwards.

With all these similarities in place, it becomes very likely for Europe to follow on the path already taken by U.S. politics. Bets are open on which major European country will be the first stop of the Trump Train.

Daniele Scalea is a geopolitical analyst and author, director-general of the Rome Institute of Geopolitics (IsAG) and Ph.D candidate in political studies at the Sapienza University, Rome. 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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The Trump Train is already heading for Europe

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