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12/29/15

USA: To understand Donald Trump, look to Europe - by Dan McLaughlin

If you want to understand Trump, look across the ocean. In an American context, Trump's politics are incoherent. In a European context, Trump would fit more comfortably.

Many countries on the European continent pursue a “consensus” politics of the center-left and center-right. The moderates in power support a generous social-welfare state and more business regulation than Americans would accept, marginalize religious social-issue conservatives, and ignore crime and immigration.

By shunting so many issues beyond the pale of the mainstream, the elite fuel right-wing populist parties.

Leaders like Geert Wilders in Holland, Marine Le Pen in France and their counterparts in Poland, Sweden, Belgium and Hungary give vent to the anxieties that establishment politicians would rather pretend did not exist. Accordingly, like conservatives in the United States, they stress security, including border security. But reflecting their working-class constituencies, European right-wing parties are often more anti-business, anti-trade and pro-social-welfare than American Democrats, let alone American Republicans.

There are historical and demographic reasons for the vast differences between the European and American right. Europe has denser populations, physically smaller nations that don't share our ideas about state and local government, less vigorous Christian churches (especially evangelical Protestant churches), and less tradition of immigration, gun ownership and frontier self-reliance. T

The European right wing traces its heritage in part to the old monarchists. Yet its populist leaders also echo mid-20th century dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler, who were simultaneously violent nationalists and self-proclaimed socialists who disdained individual rights and sought domination over private business and Christian churches.

Read more: To understand Donald Trump, look to Europe - LA Times

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