Heather Hastie on why Europe has benefited from the Trump administration

No, it’s not what you think, but you should read this nice and well-researched post at Heather’s Homilies. Think about what is happening to the far right parties in Europe before you click over to her post.

The upshot; her conclusion.

Not long ago, there were worries that far-right nationalist and anti-EU parties might sweep to power across Europe. Now, the reality of what it’s like to  actually be governed by someone like Donald Trump is frightening a lot of people off. Thank you for your example, President Trump. (And those aren’t words you hear every day, even from his fans!)


  1. Mark Joseph
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Great post, Heather.

    And, is this the unintentionally funniest line ever:

    The poll carried out among 45 countries, covering nearly 75% of world population shows that Hillary Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump in all but one country, Russia.

    • W.Benson
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      The Russian view is not unexpected. Hillary and the DNC practically ran on the platform of war on Russia.

  2. DT58
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    But what happens when a competent and more persuasive Trump comes along? We’re screwed as it is, but perhaps saved by Trump’s boorishness and sheer ineptitude.

  3. Yuki Janssen
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Wilders went from 15 to a mere 20 seats due to:
    – other rightwing/center parties copying his critical stance to immigration.
    – his horrible campaign. He was grumpy, evaded media and debates and did not present his plans beyond a mere piece of paper.

    On the other hand, the government parties went from 79 to 42, with the left wing Social Democrats got decimated (from 38 to 9), with the seats spread over a plethora of parties left and right.

    So, it does not seem like a rejection of the ideas, just the particular form in which it is expressed.

    • Craw
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Yes. There’s some blindness here. Wilders gained, quite solidly. The PM lost, bigly. But certain people, who were sure Hillary would win and Brexit would lose, anticipated more extreme swings. Conclusion: Wilders got killed. That’s just the wrong conclusion.

      • Tom
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        We have a saying here in Brexitland “a week is a long time in politics”
        A strong showing by Ms Le Pen will throw the whole circus into turmoil again.

    • Michiel
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Wilders basically disqualifies himself before entering the game with his uncompromising and unrealistic stances on the issues, particularly islam/immigration. Yes many people are worried about islam, about immigration but running on a platform of closing all mosques and banning the quran in a country that’s basically built on the very principle of religious freedom is just never gonna translate into a true election victory. Also his party is “climate sceptic” (ie man-made climate change denying) which makes it an absolute no go for people like me who do worry about immigration and the influence of islam in The Netherlands (and Europe) but are more…let’s say “fact-based” on that issue.

    • FiveGreenLeafs
      Posted March 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The Social Democrats lost 75% of their seats, Rutte’s VVD lost 20% and Wilder gained 30% … and people claim this as a failure for the far right, or, as a sign that the wind has turned?

      And, as you say, (as far as I understand), Rutte has in many ways co-opted Wilder and is (when it comes to immigration) basically running Wilder’s political platform from 2014, while Wilder has moved even further to the right.

      What I see is (in many ways) a political polarization, away from the middle ground, and to the extremes, both to the left and the right, and a very significant (continuous) strengthening of the right, both in regard to actual numbers, and a shift in the political position of main stream parties.

      AND, when main stream parties are radically altering their political platforms, (as they do in Europe at the movement) you need to analyze the actual current policy content, not just rely on surface characteristics like a party name…

      I think many people simply (still) do not understand what is really going on here and why this is happening.

      Until they do, they will (I think) continue to fail disastrously…

  4. somer
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Good article but in my view this is merely a hiatus – Erdogan recently appealed to Turks in Europe to have 5 children each so as to have maximum impact in Europe. We are naive about the rigidity of Islamic culture and their inherent mechanisms to resist change.
    https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article162946953/%5BI INSERTED BREAK TO PREVENT INSERTING]Erdogan-ruft-Tuerken-in-Europa-zum-Kinderkriegen-auf.html?wtrid=socialmedia.socialflow….socialflow_twitter
    and Turkey is pushing hard to make Europe comply with the visa streamlining for Turkish citizens
    Moreover we can ensure that who we take is likely to have skills /abilities that fit into the economy and also that we don’t take too many people whose values are deeply antithetical to liberal democracy. Higher skilled overall are more likely to be more liberal. Migrants we can select for skills more easily for obvious reasons. We have a duty to take refugees but not in numbers that in the longer term threaten liberal democracy

    • somer
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Better link to first article

      https://twitter.com/%5BINSERT TO STOP BREAK]welt/status/842768698368839680

      • somer
        Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink


        join together if want to see – I’m trying to prevent it embedding


        • Diane G.
          Posted March 19, 2017 at 4:09 am | Permalink

          somer, what usually works to prevent embedding is posting the link minus the https:// part. WordPress will add that back in in your posted comment but it will be a hotlink, not an embed.



          • Diane G.
            Posted March 19, 2017 at 4:11 am | Permalink

            Sigh. Why I love WP. Maybe it’s just the https: part…


            • Diane G.
              Posted March 19, 2017 at 4:12 am | Permalink

              Well, ignore my advice. I swear this has worked for me recently here…

              • Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

                Your instructions are correct, but it need only be used for videos. This is the method I use too.

              • Diane G.
                Posted March 19, 2017 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

                @ Smokedpaprika

                Coulda sworn I used it for text links as well but that’s no doubt just my senility kicking in.

                Thanks. 🙂

              • Diane G.
                Posted March 20, 2017 at 1:43 am | Permalink

                OMFG. Dawn breaks over Marblehead! And here I thought I was just joking about senility…

                Of course it’s only for video. Perhaps I was thinking of the way NYT articles do now embed, complete with any associated pictures…The exception that proves the rule and all that…

    • Randy schenck
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Funny, I thought our biggest threat to liberal democracy here in the U.S. was Trump. Certainly not immigration.

      • somer
        Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes definitely – but I think the article refers to his effect on Europe and it is an issue in Europe at least with some left policy that there should be no limits particularly to Muslim refugees. I just personally feel that right wing nationalism in Europe is by no means scotched – due to economic disenchantment but also continued polarisation of politics which is squeezing out or rendering less effective or impotent – the centre parties. Part of this is due to rise of new hard left – green parties and radical elements in Labour that ignore local working class interests for global ones in terms of High Principle – whilst they also feel ignored by the globalised economic establishment. Some of this may be unwarranted – but Labour parties don’t represent them as clearly as in the past. Thus for example, Marine Le Pen has gained popularity over her father not only because she is not (or has not publicly expressed)antisemitic but because she believes in strong state protections for the working class, protectionism for local industry and social welfare. The presidential race in France is not over yet. The Labour party in UK is in a complete mess now and is rock bottom in the polls. Labour in the Netherlands lost seats in the last election but the greens gained seats, and although Geert Wilders did not win his party is now the second largest where it was the third largest before.

        • FiveGreenLeafs
          Posted March 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink


          The main stream political parties in many countries in Western Europe (as far as I understand it) have in critical ways lost the connection with its voters.

          Some parties, mainly on the right are (internally) beginning to realize this, like perhaps Rutte’s VVD, and are now rapidly trying to adapt and adopt the same political platforms in regards to immigrants that are run by the populist parties.

          The Labour and Social Democrats are lost in the jungle of identity politics, and are rapidly losing support, like their Dutch representative that lost 75% of their seats.

          This leads to rather bizarre situations, like in Sweden, where the (main stream) liberal-conservative Moderate Party at the moment (in regard to its policies) is as, if not more extreme than the populist Swedish Democrats on immigration issues…

    • Michiel
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      I don’t see any future for the Turkish visa streamlining as long as Erdogan doesn’t tone down his his digsuting rhetoric. As appeasing as the EU has been towards him up till now, even they seem to be pretty much done with Turkey’s provocations and threats. Turkey will never comply with the EU’s demands on terrorism laws that are in the way of this deal and by this point I think acceptance by the EU of Visa free travel for Turks right now might lead to a revolt in several EU countries.

    • aljones909
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      “We have a duty to take refugees”. Why? Isn’t the duty to look after the maximum number of refugees? It is dramatically cheaper to look after refugees outside the developed “west”.

      Dr. Tino Sanandaji is an economics researcher in Sweden. His family moved from Iran to Sweden when he was a child.

      He compares the UN’s total budget for the 60 million refugees displaced around the world with Sweden’s spend on the migrants that made it to their country. Bear in mind that the ones who made it to Sweden were mostly economic migrants transported by people traffickers.

      “And just those initial costs that Sweden spent in 2015 were twice the UN’s funding! The left likes to talk about the privileged 1%, but the 0.3% of refugees that made it to Sweden got twice as much resources as the 99.7% displaced around the world.”


  5. Randy schenck
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Heather uses facts to point out the far right movements in Europe are not doing so well and have certainly cooled off. If Trump and his crew have assisted in this decreased popularity we can give him credit for one thing. Unlikely that he gets credit for anything else in the positive direction.

    • W.Benson
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      The Trump fiasco — unless he does something really, really stupid — may ultimately result in much greater political gains by progressives in the US than a Hillary Clinton presidency could ever have produced.

      • yiamcross
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        How long I wonder before the “most important thing”, protecting the American people, requires them to be protected from themselves? That or a war with Mexico or even China to divert attention from failure to deliver on election ptomises. Dark days ahead whichwver way you look at it.

      • yiamcross
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Considering how Widers suffered a 33% increase in seats, the government and centerists were decimated, actually far worse since they’re down by around 50%, with the left virtually destroyed with a 75% reduction, I’m not seeing much to celebrate.

        Ms Hastie appears to be expressing a triumph of hope over experience and there’s no reason to expect Europe’s lurch ro the right to be checked because Trump is a buffoon. When the effects of Brexit begin to feed through to the UK and European economies with lower living standards and loss of jobs it wouldn’t surprise me to see a rerun of the 1930s with similar consequences.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Europe benefits from Trump in the same sense that white rats “benefit” from noxious stimuli in a Skinner box — by learning what to avoid.

  7. Posted March 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Is be more interested in a comparison between Trump and Saunders.

    The cultural conflict is constantly portrayed as one of the liberal elite vs Right-wing populism.

    Left-wing populists opposed to elites are being tarnished with association with the Right.

  8. Posted March 18, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I think this Trump Effect in Europe is not due so much to rvoters changing their minds but but rather to waking up “normal” people who might not otherwise have voted.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      Would that it had started in Europe rather than the States. If only USian sluggards had sat up and taken notice after Brexit.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I think once you get past the immigration thing which is much more concern in Europe, most of the republican and Trump ideas simply do not fly in most of Europe. There is no way the people in England or France or Germany want anything like these guys are wanting over here. Europe departed from this mess long ago.

    So, they may be watching or paying attention to the circus here, but they sure as heck are not going there. Anyone in Europe wanting to kill their health care? How about their other subsidies and rail transportation and govt. aid and on and on? They are smarter than that.

    How do you know Trump is already in deep shit? The lies get bigger.

    • Posted March 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      The definitions of Left and Right are different on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

      If a Clinton was elected in most European countries that would be a lurch to the Right.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Clinton is a centrist even by American political standards. She feigned a lean to the left in this last campaign. But she and her husband have been playing the middle-of-the-road triangulation game since Bubba launched his first run for office in Arkansas in the Seventies.

  10. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    True, both of you.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Oh bugger, that was in response to Randall and Speaker to Animals. Did I ever mention I hate WordPress…?


  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Summarising that into a click-bait headline:

    ‘Trump gets Nazis a bad name.’


    (nobody ever accused me of good taste)

  12. Posted March 20, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    The question in my mind: are other (non-trumpesque) parties now more propular, or are people just less likely to not support them?

  13. Posted March 20, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    them = trumpesque

  14. Ken Elliott
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I got a kick in the gut from the clip of Trevor Noah discussing Wilders, in which Wilders is stating something to the effect that Islam is a horrible ideology, that he hates Islam, but does not hate Muslims. Noah’s response was – “Whoa! Wait til he learns which religion Muslims follow….”. This is the blindness of too many – right, left, middle, high, low, whatever – that we can’t attack the ideology of Islam separately from the followers of Islam. Now, Wilders wants to ban, abolish, and blow-up stuff, which is entirely the wrong approach, but right now he and Trump are the only large audience voices that correctly state the problem, and that’s a big problem in and of itself. What’s the solution(s)? I’m not keen enough to know. Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Rizvi, Maajid Nawaz and others call for a move toward reformation and/or moderation, so I have to take them at their word. It was those folks, as it so happened, from which I was able to glean the essence of the issue as I’ve stated above, so it is those folks from who I hope will come the best solutions. But they must be heard, and heard widely, and heard correctly. This message will only be rejected if uttered by Donald Trump and Geert Wilders.

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