The Rise of the Global Far-Right

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Far-right wing supporters rise their right arm saluting the fascist anthem as they remember former Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco on the 39th anniversary of his death, in Madrid. Nov. 23, 2014
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The surprise electoral victory from President-elect Donald Trump has bolstered anti-establishment movements across the globe.

In recent years, we've seen successful far-right victories in places like France with Marine Le Pen; in Poland with the rise of the conservative Law and Justice Party; and the U.K.'s Brexit referendum last June. These movements are looking inwards towards nationalist identity, and continue to gain steam. 

With elections coming up all around the world in countries like Austria and France, where far-right nationalist parties might continue to gain power, we speak to two people who have been studying and writing about the far-right's political rise, and what that rise will look like with President Trump at the seat of American power.

Today we turn to Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on Government at Harvard University and a fellow at New America, and Mark Blyth, Eastman Professor of Political Economy at The Watson Institute for International Affairs at Brown University.

Interview Highlights 

Yascha Mounk on the disparity in how different generations in the U.S. value democracy:

"How important is it to people to live in a democracy? Well, in the United States, people born in the 1930s and 1940s still have real attachment to democracy. Over two thirds say that it is essential to them to live in a democracy — 10 out of 10. Once you get to younger people, to millennials born since 1980, that value drops very rapidly — you’re at less than one third who think it is really important to live in a democracy."

Yascha Mounk on the effects of economic prosperity on racial tolerance:

"Social psychology shows very clearly that when people are doing well economically, when they feel optimistic about the future, they become more racially tolerant … They are happy when other people are doing well too. And once they start being worried about the economic future … they become very jealous when other people are doing well. So this whole debate we've had over the two or three weeks, ‘Is it racism or is it economic anxiety?’, I think is really missing the larger point, that these two things are fueling each other."

Mark Blythe on the problem with broadly accusing conservative voters of racism:

“[The center-left] abandoned their core constituents and did a set of policies that benefited the top 25 percent. This is true everywhere, now they're getting payback for this, and the narrative that it is all racism is completely exculpatory for these people. Because it allows the left to say, ‘We didn't do anything wrong, it's not us, we're perfect. It must be those terrible people, those ‘deplorables.’’ And I think that's a deplorable argument."

Mark Blythe on the approach liberals need to take when rebuilding voter confidence:

“A very large part of it, at least for the left of the center parties, is to re-engage with their own base. The Democrats in this country [had] a strategy for around 15 years which was, essentially, Wall Street money plus identity politics equals win. That is now a failing strategy … If you don't go back and actually re-engage with the 20 to 40 percent of the income distribution — whose interests you’re meant to represent — and actually argue for the things that are genuine concerns in their lives, then why do you exist as a party?