The New Populism?

Massimiliano Meta, Reporter

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In the last year, many important events took place. But 2016, will be remembered for the years to come for the rise of populism in the western world. As a matter of fact, America wasn’t the only place in which a candidate for office vowed to defeat the ruling elite. In the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Italy, and other places similar political events happened. This then begs the question, what’s causing this new wave of populism? There are three main reasons and they are: immigration, growing discontent with the ruling class, and increasing radical Islamic terrorist attacks.

Over the last few years, Europe has experienced increasingly high levels of immigration from the Middle East and North Africa. In 2015, Germany accepted 890,000 asylum-seekers and many other immigrants. Italy has experienced a 56% surge in migrant boat landings in Italy. This wave of immigration has fueled discontent from poor Europeans, who see these immigrants being given special treatment and this leads to growing tensions between these two groups.

Another reason for this rise of populism is citizens feeling that their leaders are detached from the people they govern over. This can be seen both in Europe, and in America, by looking at how bureaucrats and liberal leaders talked about Middle America, and how the European Parliament has disrespected the will of the people in several instances. In addition, the growing bureaucracy in the European Union has made governing oftentimes an undemocratic process.

Another cause of this new political phenomenon is a growing number of terrorist attacks. There have been 11 jihadist terrorist attacks in France since 2015, 6 in 2015 and 5 in 2016. There were four Islamic terrorist attacks in Germany last year. There also was a terrorist attack in London on March 22. Therefore, it’s no surprise that people have turned to candidates who promise that they will stop Muslim immigration.

Going into the future, it’s uncertain whether this populism wave will persist or if it will go away. So far, the U.K. has decided to leave the European Union and the U.S.A. has elected a President who promised to get government back in the hands of the people. Many liberal leaders that were in power at the beginning of last year aren’t there anymore, it’s only a guess if the number of ousted liberal leaders will increase this years.

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