World Affairs

Monday, May 7 at 2:00 pm

The Pendulum Swings Right: The Rise of Populism

During recent elections, we saw populist far-right parties gain momentum in Europe and the US. The message from leaders in this political movement was clear and galvanized large numbers of supporters: mass migration is threatening economies as well as cultural values and the establishment is doing very little to serve and protect citizens.

President Trump's message was similar on the campaign trail, and as president he continues to criticize immigration and trade policies which he believes are hurting Americans. In Western Europe, we saw Britain vote to break from the EU due to economic concerns and a rise in nationalist sentiment. The swing to the right seemed to stop with the election of Emmanuel Macron and the re-election of Angela Merkel. While the outcome might have calmed onlookers, there is still lingering concern after Le Pen’s record support and parliamentary gains in Germany. The recent presidential race in Italy reflects much of what we have already seen with voters voicing their opposition to the establishment and its policies.

Is this the beginning of an era which will see the far-right gain more power? To what extent are individual rights and independent institutions under siege? What is at stake for liberal democracies?

Yascha Mounk, a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University and Senior Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, will join us to discuss the rise of populism and far-right politics and the growing uncertainty of liberal democracies.

Yascha Mounk
Lecturer, Government, Harvard University

Markos Kounalakis
Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

To listen to the audio of “The Pendulum Swings Right: The Rise of Populism” on World Affairs online, please click HERE.