US President Donald Trump has been an eerie blessing to the world. Thanks to his erratic and unstable leadership style, everything that Trump touches he breaks. He has proven to be the best political repellent against far right, populist-conservative forces breathing down Europe’s neck.
His most recent row with Germany prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to announce that Europe could no longer rely on the US and UK “was over to a certain extent.”
The first country visited by Trump is the most conservative and autocratic muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He signed lavish arms deals with the kingdom while giving Europe the cold shoulder.
Writes the Washington Post: about Trump’s first foreign tour as president:
But many European leaders emerged from their meetings with Trump filled with fresh worry. Trump was far more solicitous toward the autocratic king of Saudi Arabia earlier in the week, telling him and other leaders of Muslim-majority countries — many of them not democratically elected — that he was not “here to lecture.” Days later in Brussels he offered a scathing assessment of Washington’s closest allies, saying they were being “unfair” to American taxpayers.
There is an old saying that when life tastes sour, we must use lemons to make lemonade.
The bitter taste for many came when Trump was elected president in November.
The initial shock that the US could elect such a president came as a surprise to many. It seemed that populist anti-immigration and ultranationalist forces had scored another victory in the US after Brexit in the United Kingdom.
The scandals coming out of the White House and Trump’s erratic leadership style has turned out to be poison for the far right. He is also the face of the worst things that money can buy: power and privilege.
I’m certain that many European voters thought twice about voting for politicians in Europe that had the same agenda as Trump and Vladimir Putin.
The election losses of the far-right and right-wing populists started to come in at the end of last year, before Trump was inaugurated in January.
Elections in Austria saw Green Party contender, Alexander Van der Bellen beat the far-right FPÖ hopeful Norbert Hofel. That was followed by parliamentary elections in Holland in March, when Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) landed an election blow to far-right Islamophobic Gert Wilder of the Party for Freedom (PVV). Finland held municipal elections in April and saw the Perussuomalaiset* suffer a major setback.
All eyes, however, were on the French election in May. Even if the media in France and abroad gave a lot of attention to Marine Le Pen and the threat she posed to the EU, the Front National leader was no match to the new politician on the block, Emmanuel Macron.
The United Kingdom will hold general elections on June 8 and it already looks that matters aren’t going as well as Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May would like. Recent polls show that the Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is closing in on the Conservatives.
Will we see the “Trump effect” repeat itself in the United Kingdom next month as we did in Austria, Holland, Finland and France?
I wouldn’t be surprised if we did.
* The official translation to Finnish of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is the Finns Party. In our opinion, it is not only a horrible translation, but one that is misguided. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Such terms like the Finns Party of True Finns promote as well in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and thereafter the acronym PS.