Following the Far Right: The Rise of Conservative Populism in Europe and America

By Jordan Hollinger (PZ ’19)

During the watershed election cycle of 2016, American society was brusquely familiarized with an organized populist movement, one heavily influenced by the tenets of far-right ideologies. Throughout the Republican primaries, Trump’s bombastic rhetoric continuously garnered support from both voters and politicians alike, establishing for Trump a reputation as a demagogue who speaks for his people and as a Washington outsider detached from the entrenchments of establishment politics. Unlike the classic ideologue, however, Trump is overtly without conviction in many of his political stances; he has simultaneously embraced positions that are in line with right-wing, left-wing, centrist, progressive, and far-right ideologies. It is functionally impossible to label Trump based on his political ideology. Therefore, we shall analyze Trump in this essay simply for his most evident characteristic: that of his regular and successful use of populism.

Populism is inherently unaligned as far as political spectrum is concerned.  This practice of appealing to the will of the masses to seek political capital is regularly employed by candidates across all parties and ideologies. However, this essay will analyze specifically the use of populist appeals by those on the far-right. This is not to assume that populism is a tool known only by far-right officials, nor that only far-right populism is worthy of critique. What this essay will argue is that, by aligning his iconic brand of populism with prominent far-right leaders such as Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, Trump has created an extremely potent political identity, one best described as “far-right populist.”

In order to understand this rise of far-right ideology as associated with populism in the United States, it is beneficial to compare the similar rise of these ideologies throughout the West – particularly in Western Europe, where comparable political situations have played a prominent role for decades prior. Therefore, we will compare the developments and successes of European far-right political parties in recent years to the current Trump era in America. We will first analyze the influence of the far right in modern European politics, highlighting examples in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. We will then use this information to deconstruct the driving forces behind the rise of far-right populism within America specifically, breaking this phenomenon into two primary factors: a growing disdain for government in general and a fear of deteriorating self-identity in an increasingly globalized world. Once we understand the nature of the far right through both theoretical and tangible examples, we can then begin to uncover what specifically attracts American voters to conservative populism and the far-right and why Trump manages to resonate with so many Americans today. While it might be easy – in light of Trump’s significant loss in the popular vote and his continuously descending approval ratings – to waive off this presidency as a fluke and a one-time issue, this assumption is naïve to the reasons for Trump’s success in the first place, thereby failing to prevent the spread of this dangerous phenomenon.

  1. Defining Far-Right Populism

Before discussing the history and the influence of the far right, it is necessary to understand what is covered by this term and what the goals of the movement are. In the most general sense, far-right (a term often conflated with alternative-right/alt-right[1]) could incorporate any conservative policy that is considered more conservative than those adopted by a state’s more mainstream right-wing party. However, the American far right has evolved into a more unified movement than this definition affords, with key characteristics that are essential to the functional identity of the far right as a political movement. The most prominent characteristic of the far right is the influence of nationalist, identity-driven populism.[2] Through couching the movement in heavily xenophobic, pro-isolationist, and often anti-elitist ideology, proponents of the far right are able to connect with large portions of any given population where the issue of identity is most at question. This emphasis on identity politics is strengthened by the far right’s tendency “to picture politics per se as corrupt.”[3] By portraying not only the presiding government but the very idea of government itself as corrupt, far right ideologues can therefore present themselves as reformists, as revolutionaries who will return power to the disenfranchised from corrupted elites.

Populism, by its very nature, “prioritises the opinions of people over anything else.”[4] It is not a sense of social welfare nor even pragmatic political solutions which are the primary concern of the far-right populist, but merely the “overt opinions and demands emanating from within the body of citizens.”[5] The continued homogeneity of society, the maintenance of a sedentary sense of identity unaffected by technological or economic development, is given paramount importance in far-right populism[6]. Within those who share this sense of threatened identity, the far right is especially attractive to those who feel a sense of “subjective deprivation,” which is to say “the subjective feeling of being unprivileged.”[7] This attitude of subjective deprivation is distinct from those who are factually underprivileged within a society (although it may include those who are); by targeting those who are not necessarily underprivileged but who nonetheless feel underprivileged within their own society, far-right ideologues are capable of using this curious cognitive dissonance to foment significant societal change away from globalism and progressivism and towards conservative, idealized notions of what they believe society ought to be. In an increasingly globalized world, the process of social adaption is seen as a threat by those who stand to lose from the influx of non-native migrants and non-traditional ideologies into a previously homogenous society, even if that “loss” if merely cultural. Far-right leaders are also characterized by “their attempt[s] to make use of social issues,”[8] and have therefore “emerged as media professionals in many places,” where they “stage themselves to … utilise the media’s natural interest in drama and conflict, not without success.”[9] The far right has become a prominent fixture in global social media and political discussion then, not by virtue of a significant presence within the local electorate, but because of the extremely vocal nature of those who push the message. Hence, by tapping into the fears held by the general public of globalization and its respective competitions, the far right has applied populist leadership strategies in order to realize these desired isolationist worldviews.

  1. International Comparison

Belgium (Flanders)

Following this brief understanding of the intentions of the far-right political ideology, we can now incorporate concrete examples of these strategies in Western politics. One of the more successful far-right political parties in recent times, the Belgian party known as Vlaams Belang – “Flemish Interest” (formerly Vlaams Blok – “Flemish Bloc”) is a prime example of the far right in action. Currently holding two seats in the Belgian Senate and three in the Chamber of Representatives, the Vlaams Belang has been a substantial player in Belgian and Flemish politics since the party’s foundation in 1978.[10] However, as the other mainstream parties of the Belgian government have since 1989 maintained a cordon sanitaire (a political quarantine) against Vlaams Belang, the party has been summarily refused from participation in legislation at the federal level.[11] Despite this shunning from parliament – and in some ways strengthened by this clear “outsider,” “underdog” appearance[12] – Vlaams Belang has managed to grow into one of the dominant forces of political ideology in Flanders, the northern, Dutch-speaking region of Belgium.

Another hallmark of the far right, the leadership and history of Vlaams Belang has direct connections to fascism and shows support for authoritarian leadership. Filip Dewinter, one of the party’s most prominent figures, has openly advocated for “a total amnesty regarding acts of collaboration” with Nazi Germany before and during World War II.[13] Similarly, Dewinter blatantly wears discrimination and racism as a defining feature of his party’s policies, professing that “If people say we are racist because we apply the principle ‘our people first’ and give priority to it, then we consider racism an honorable title!”[14]  These bold statements from Vlaams Belang are tied to hyper-nationalistic party stances through the oft-repeated line “We are saying what you think,” a slogan employed by Dewinter in an attempt to connect the far right to the minds of the average voter.[15] Through statements such as these, Vlaams Belang is able to normalize racial and cultural exclusion, thereby succeeding in its goal of creating a more conservative, traditionalist Flemish society.

This normalization of far-right ideologies can be seen in the policies supported by more centrist Flemish parties. The mainstream is forced by the electoral success of Vlaams Belang to “incorporate aspects of the far-right agenda,”[16] including the redrawing of electoral districts, the adoption of a stronger stance on Flemish autonomy, and an increased efforts to maintain “law and order.”[17] By comparing the evolution of other, more mainstream conservative parties in Belgium and particularly in the Flemish regions, we can best see the influence of the far right as these mainstream parties attempt to fill the increasingly large gap between that which is considered politically possible and that which rapidly grows popular.

We can then connect parallels in the characteristics of Vlaams Belang to the successes of Trump. The popularity of Vlaams Belang can be attributed to three populist characteristics: “extreme nationalism, anti-immigrant program, [and] charismatic and undisputed leadership.”[18] Undoubtedly, Trump’s most visible trait – and his most divisive – is his grandiose and pugnacious personality, following in the footsteps of previously successful, modern far-right leaders such as Dewinter and the Dutch Politician Geert Wilders, who is discussed below. We can similarly connect this to studies on the opinions of Trump voters in the 2016 Republican primaries, which show that voters who view Trump positively are inclined to view external threats, or threats from “the other,” as issues which “can only be met by strongman Trump.”[19]

The first two of these traits, however, are closely connected and are quite apparent in the recent American election. Following the results of Trump’s victory, nationalism and identity played a key role in the decision of many voters, revealing “a portrait of a split that is tied more to social identity than to economic experience.”[20] Drawing directly from the theories which found success for Vlaams Belang in Flanders, Trump connected to rural Americans through scathing remarks on immigrants, resulting in 74 percent of rural Trump voters who believe that “immigrants are not doing enough to assimilate to life in America.”[21] As findings like these reveal, the very same climate for far right success in Flanders is increasingly present in rural America, allowing for far-right leaders such as Trump to employ highly similar tactics.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has traditionally born a “reputation for tolerance,”[22] regarding both political, religious, and racial minorities. However, in the post-World War II era, this reputation has been tested by a sudden influx in the number of non-European immigrants to the geographically small nation. Where once acceptance was an identity proudly carried by the Dutch, conservative populist movements now stand to oppose the trend of globalization and societal change, rejecting the identity of the Dutch as especially tolerant. Again, we see the interjection of far-right populism into a society which suffers from an identity crisis spurred not only by the direct ramifications of globalization but also from the society’s response itself to these ramifications.

Following the highly publicized assassinations of two outspoken conservative icons in the early 2000s, conservative populism achieved a strengthened sense of credibility, as too did the sense of conservative ideology as being “under attack.”[23] Drawing from the cultural tear left by these high-profile deaths, Dutch politician Geert Wilders rose to prominence. While the party of Pim Fortuyn – one of the assassinated leaders – failed to maintain power for long after the death of their resident ideologue, Geert Wilders’ own Party for Freedom (PVV) has managed to achieve unparalleled levels of success for a far-right party in the Netherlands. Not so much a party as a personal soap-box, Wilders’ self-branded PVV obtained 9 seats in the Dutch parliament in its first election in 2006,[24] maintaining 20 seats out of 150 possible in the 2017 election.[25] Continuing where Fortuyn left off, Wilders is perhaps best known for his hardline anti-Islamic stances, going so far as to label the Qur’an as fascist and proclaiming that all Muslim immigration into the country should be halted immediately.[26]  Whereas in decades earlier, Dutch culture was overtly opposed to such messages, when “anti-racist and anti-fascist groups built up considerable popular support, to the extent that anti-racism in the Netherlands became the norm and any dissenting voice was immediately labelled racist or fascist,”[27] now entire factions of the Dutch government stand for the deportation of Muslims in order to cater to the conservative imagery of traditional Dutch society.

As with the Vlaams Belang, we can see directly how the successes of the PVV have influenced the stances of larger parties which represent significant portions of the population. As the PVV forged a large percentage of its voter from the mainstream conservative parties, those parties then felt obliged to alter their positions on certain issues in an attempt to win back these lost votes.[28] In a letter addressed “to all the Dutch,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte remarked that “Sometimes it seems like no one acts normally anymore,”[29] signaling an acceptance of far-right populist views on traditionalism. “People who refuse to adapt,” Rutte continues, “criticize our customs, and reject our values … I completely understand that people would think: ‘If you reject our country so fundamentally, I’d prefer you’d leave.’ Because I feel the same way. Act normally, or get out.”[30] This message directly adopts many of the primary talking points of far-right populism. Beyond merely signal approval for far-right populists, this letter represents an embrace of populism, a notion supported by Rutte’s statements that his party has triumphed over Wilders’ “bad populism,”[31] subtly implying that he champions a “good” populism. Populism in the Netherlands, then, is no longer political anathema; cultural and political victories from the far right have shifted public approval drastically.


Few nations are as familiar with the consequences of far-right populism as is Germany. The German people still bear the wounds of xenophobic, identity-driven populism and therefore carry a heightened awareness of the destruction such ideologies create. Yet even in Germany, where the scars of fascist tragedy are still readily apparent, the far right finds success. While these successes are not as pronounced as in other regions of Western Europe, the ingredients for far-right populism are nonetheless present.

Far-right movements in Germany have seen unprecedented success in recent years, mirroring similar developments in neighboring countries. The creation and growth of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) reflects the mounting disdain for Middle Eastern immigrants, particularly in the formerly communist states of East Germany.[32] Similarly, the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has seen comparable levels of success in the eastern portion of Germany – a region which, interestingly enough, does not include the areas with the highest levels of immigrants and refugees.[33] Once again, we can see the importance of subjective deprivation, as fear of immigration and societal change in general is centered not in regions where the impacts of globalization are most pronounced but instead towards the peripheries of these social changes, mirroring the developments in rural America regarding globalization.

However, it must be understood that the far right does not exist solely in those areas where the population is most sympathetic to such ideologies. Far-right parties in general have seen some success at the local level in the last few decades.[34] The far right has historically been represented by the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), whose 1969 high-water mark of 4.3 percent of the national vote has yet to be surpassed by the since-dwindling party.[35] Yet following the 2017 national elections, the AfD has risen as a serious player in the German parliament. Securing 12.6 percent of all votes, the AfD has surpassed projections by becoming the third-largest party by parliamentary representation.[36] In fact, the AfD has just in 2017 become the first far-right party to enter the German parliament since 1961.[37] The AfD does not carry the burden of social stigma as does the NPD, which “advocates a form of national socialism”[38] and has thusly been labeled “the most significant neo-Nazi party to emerge after 1945.”[39] The AfD has, however, maintained open affiliation with extremist far-right movements including the previously discussed PEGIDA, reifying the party’s connections to the far right while simultaneously cementing the social legitimacy of such extremist organizations. This appearance of the AfD as a legitimate governmental force has therefore allowed party leaders to more openly disperse far-right ideology into German society.

Despite these victories, the AfD has already encountered serious tests involving the leadership and general direction of the party. In 2015 the party’s founder, Bernd Lucke, publically disavowed his creation, citing the party’s rapid divergence further into the far right.[40] Lucke blamed former Chairwoman Frauke Petry and her husband Marcus Pretzell for promoting “the radicalization of the AfD” by establishing a “front line” with other far-right parties such as Geert Wilders’ PVV and Marine Le Pen’s National Front.[41] Yet despite this accusation, Petry herself resigned only days after her party achieved its greatest victory to date, departing in a similar fashion as Lucke had before her.[42] According to Petry, “it became publicly visible that the party gave free rein to the fool” in response to the growing clout of the nationalistic, fundamentalist wing of her party.[43] This marks twice thus far that the rapidly encroaching spread of far-right populism within the AfD has forced dramatic change in the direction of the party and of the far right itself in Germany. This surge of far-right ideology has therefore influenced the nature of conservatism and nationalism in Germany, making that which was seen as fringe now mainstream and thereby normalizing extremist ideology. The far right additionally now has significant power within both the German parliament and mainstream public debate, a testament to the ideology’s rapid growth within Western European government and culture.

III. American Far-Right Populism

Following this look at the implementation of the far right within three Western European societies, we can now look for similarities within the far right movement in the United States while accounting for the characteristics that are distinctly American. We will analyze the movement from two aspects: anti-government sentiments and identity as threatened by globalization. Both of these traits are readily present in the European examples, but here we will see how they are influenced by the specific nature of American political society. Combined, these features of the far right in America account for a significant portion of Trump’s success and foreshadow future political struggles between those who identify with this ideology and American society at large.

 Anti-Government Sentiments

A definitively American trait, distrust for governmental authority is pervasive throughout American society. Perhaps due to the nature of our nation’s foundation and independence, our Constitution is heavily influenced by this school of thought. In the words of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Constitution was “obviously not instituted with the idea that it would promote governmental efficiency,”[44] but instead takes great care to limit the capabilities of government – a safeguard from tyranny and sudden changes in power. Similarly, American political theorists have long expressed a distrust of “large” government, summarized succinctly by Thoreau, who writes “I heartily accept the motto, ‘That government is best which governs the least.’”[45] Even government officials are apt to identify with this message, most prominently seen in Reagan’s famous “nine most terrifying words in the English language.”[46] With this cultural background in mind, it is not surprising, then, that a movement which emphasizes anti-government sentiments such as the far right manages to find success in the United States.

During the 2016 election cycle, the Trump campaign drew heavily from this distrust of government. Yet as we have seen, this ideology is already accepted as mainstream within American politics. What makes Trump’s victory stand out from other, more traditional campaigns, however, is his whole-hearted embrace of the far right. Trump’s reliance on his individual personality for political success reflects the strategies of earlier European far-right parties. By thus connecting his “strongman” caricature with his frequent repetitions of far right-inspired slogans, Trump was able to reinforce his far-right message with mainstream political theories and thereby quickly connected with the underlying reasons for far-right success in America. His campaign was “defined” by these slogans,[47] constantly leading chants of “Lock her up,” through which he bred distrust of his opponent, Clinton, who is seen by his supporters as the definitive example of establishment politics, and “Drain the swamp,” a call for both removing from power anyone seen as establishment and also for a reformation of the political structure as a whole to allow for more populist control of government. These goals of the campaign align perfectly with the goals of the far right, making the Trump presidency a natural ally of the far right movement.

As for Trump’s base of supporters, we can once again see the far right’s connection to rural voters. Rural Americans are more likely than their urban and suburban countrymen to believe that government help “tends to go to irresponsible people who do not deserve it.”[48] Similarly, the bottom quarter of income earners are 31 percent less likely than the top quarter of earners to report having trust in government institutions.[49] This waning faith in government institutions is closely tied to a growing distrust for elites. Following the 2008 financial crisis especially, there developed in American society “widespread suspicion that elites only act in their own interests, not those of the people, and that elites don’t necessarily have access to better information than the rest of the population does.”[50] This gap between the urban wealthy and the rural poor has equally impacted the nature and influence of media and information. Americans now view “a person like me” as “twice as credible as a government leader,”[51] a telling sign of how traditional forms of media are increasingly seen as untrustworthy. Ultimately, this division between economic classes of where to place trust is a crucial point in the spread of far-right ideologies and subsequently in Trump’s campaign success, as his anti-government, anti-elitist rhetoric resonates strongly with those who feel alienated by traditional institutional structures.

Identity as Threatened by Globalization

The second reason for the far right’s success in America is its emphasis on nationalism and identity politics. As we have seen from the European examples, the far right is extremely vocal concerning topics of identity, particularly immigration and religion. This is also true of the American far right, which, through the Trump campaign, proved that the issue of identity is equally as important for American voters as in Europe, if not more so. Perhaps the most influential of Trump’s campaign promises, building a border wall with Mexico is a concrete example of how far right leaders portray immigration – particularly of non-white “others” – as a threat to society. And, as the fanatic approval of the border wall amongst Trump supporters reveals,[52] efforts like this to “protect” society from demographic change are highly successful at attracting voters.

This success of the far right is because, as many studies have shown, the most important factor in determining a voter’s support for Trump over Clinton is the person’s opinion on identity, particularly concerning the preservation of what is seen as traditional identity. While it is often argued that it is “economic anxiety” which drives Trump’s support, polling evidence suggests that this is not the case but that “cultural anxiety” is what fuels Trump’s base.[53] In exit polls from the past election, 52 percent of polled voters reported that the economy was a major issue, a higher percentage than any of the other issue choices presented.[54] Yet among those who identified the economy as a major issue, Clinton beat Trump by 10 percent.[55] “Evidence suggests,” moreover, that “financially troubled voters in the white working class were more likely to prefer Clinton over Trump,” as Clinton succeeded in winning over working-class whites,[56] collecting in the process over 52 percent of all voters who reported an income of less than $50,000.[57] In addition, Trump voters “earn relatively high household incomes and are no less likely to be unemployed or exposed to competition through trade or immigration.”[58] This appears to reject the belief held by some that Trump’s victory was predicated on the support of poorer, working-class whites. Again we see the presence of subjective deprivation, as these Trump voters are not directly hurt by the spread of globalization and immigration, yet they voice support for heavily anti-immigrant, isolationist policies. It is not a factual sense of loss which inspires far right support but merely the fear of loss and the fear of an increasingly non-traditional demographic change within society. This implies, then, that Trump voters care less about the economy – a traditional stronghold of American electoral decisions – than they care about identity issues and therefore are receptive to the far-right talking points championed by Trump.

  1. Conclusion

The far right is a global political phenomenon, finding success in communities where issues of identity are at the forefront of public discussion. In Europe, far-right answers to these questions were once seen as dubious, receiving only marginal success. Yet in the last few decades, far-right parties have achieved significant electorate success in many European countries, demanding credibility for their ideology and thrusting the far right into mainstream political debate. Similarly, Trump’s Republican Party has now embraced far-right ideologies as well, emulating the recent history of his European counterparts.

Although many Americans view their country as innately “exceptional,” there is much to be learned of our current social turbulence from those European nations which have undergone similar developments. By comparing these European case studies of local far right movements to the politics and culture of America in the current Trump-era, we can better understand how to combat the rapidly increasing influence the movement holds. The far right’s success is not some fluke. Those Americans who identify with the far right will not simply disappear after Trump leaves office. They represent a significant change in the political landscape of America, one that will most likely remain for a long time ahead. These issues are real; these voices cannot be ignored. The question is how the rest of American society responds. Will we learn from examples and warnings overseas, or will we simply repeat the mistakes for ourselves? Only time will tell if this increasingly large cultural scar in American society can be healed, or whether the division will worsen. But one thing is certain: Trump is not simply a cause of American disunity – he is a symptom.




[1]1           While both far-right and alt-right are often used interchangeably in American popular culture, this essay is not focused on dispelling this notion.  Generally speaking, “far-right” merely implies a political opinion that is considered to be more conservative than the mainstream conservative opinion, while “alt-right” refers more specifically to positions that embrace xenophobic and other regressive tendencies.  In this light, this discrepancy between the two is worthy of analysis on its own – just not in this essay.  See: John Daniszewski, “Writing about the ‘alt-right’,” The Associated Press, November 28, 2016, accessed October 7, 2017,

[2].             Nora Langenbacher and Britta Schellenberg, “Introduction: An anthology about the manifestations and development of the radical right in Europe” in Is Europe on the “Right” Path?: Right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in Europe, ed. Nora Langenbacher and Britta Schellenberg (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2011), 7. Online at:

[3]              Ibid., 12

[4]              Alan Ware, “The United States: Populism as Political Strategy” in Democracies and the Populist Challenge, ed. Mény Yves and Surel Yves, (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2002), 102.

[5]              Ibid.

[6]           It bears repeating once again that this description pertains only the narrowly defined concept of the inherently populist American far-right and not to populism in general.

[7]              This terminology is borrowed from Langenbacher and Schellenberg, “Radical right in Europe,” 14.

[8]              Ibid., 12

[9]              Ibid., 20.

[10]            Jérôme Jamin, “The Extreme Right in Europe: Fascist or Mainstream?” Political Research Associates, April 1, 2005, accessed September 28, 2017,

[11]            Ibid.

[12]            Jan Erk, “From Vlaams Blok to Vlaams Belang: The Belgian Far-Right Renames Itself” in West European Politics, 28, no. 3 (May 2005) 493 – 502

[13]            Jérôme Jamin, “The Extreme Right in Europe”

[14]            Ibid.

[15]            Jan Blommaert, “25 years of right wing extremism in Belgium,” Diggit Magazine, November 24, 2016, accessed September 25, 2017,

[16]            Jan Erk, “From Vlaams Blok to Vlaams Belang”

[17]            While these policy emphases are in general quite vague, their increased importance amongst Flemish voters and their acceptance by other Flemish parties is paralleled by an increase in the popularity of Vlaams Belang. See: Ibid.

[18]            Jan Blommaert, “Right wing extremism”

[19]            Matthew C. MacWilliams, “Donald Trump’s victories show that authoritarian voters are now

in control of the Republican nomination process,” The London School of Economics and Political Science US Centre, February 27, 2016, accessed October 14, 2017

[20]            Jose A. DelReal and Scott Clement, “Rural Divide,” The Washington Post, June 17, 2017, accessed October 8, 2017

[21]            Jennifer Rubin, “Commentary: Trump’s voters were more motivated by nationalism than economic hardship,” Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2017, accessed October 8,

[22]            Rudy B. Andeweg and Galen A. Irwin, Governance and Politics of the Netherlands, 4th ed., (Palgrave Macmillan, June 27 2014), 49-51.

[23]            Jacques Paulus Koenis, “A history of Dutch populism, from the murder of Pim Fortuyn to the rise of Geert Wilders” The Conversation, March 14, 2017, accessed October 8, 2017

[24]            Ronald Eissens and Suzette Bronkhorst, “Right-wing extremism and populism in the Netherlands – Lessons not learned” in Is Europe on the “Right” Path?: Right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in Europe,” ed. Nora Langenbacher and Britta Schellenberg (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2011), 129.  Online at:

[25]            “VVD wins 33 seats but coalition partner Labour is hammered,” Dutch News, March 16, 2017, accessed October 8, 2017

[26]            Ronald Eissens and Suzette Bronkhorst, “Right-wing extremism,” 128

[27]            Ibid., 123

[28]            Jacques Paulus Koenis, “History of Dutch populism”

[29]            Mark Rutte, “Read here the letter from Mark,” Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, January 22, 2017, accessed September 28, 2017

[30]            Ibid.

[31]            Cas Mudde, “’Good’ populism beats ‘bad’ in Dutch election,” The Guardian, March 19, 2017, accessed September 29, 2017

[32]            “German election: Just how right-wing is AfD?” BBC, September 25, 2017, accessed September 28, 2017

[33]            Ibid.

[34]            Ben Knight, “The decline and fall of Germany’s ‘neo-Nazi’ NPD,” Deutsche Welle, September 7, 2016, accessed October 13, 2017

[35]            Ibid.

[36]            “German election,” BBC

[37]            Ibid.

[38]            Britta Schellenberg, “The radical right in Germany: Its prohibition and reinvention,” in Is Europe on the “Right” Path?: Right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in Europe, ed. Nora Langenbacher and Britta Schellenberg (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2011), 59. Online at:

[39]            Peter Davies and Derek Lynch, The Routledge companion to fascism and the far right, (Psychology Press,

2002), 315

[40]            Malte Piper, “Ex-AfD Cheif wishes Petry “Have Fun!” Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, October 9, 2017, accessed October 13, 2017

[41]            Ibid.

[42]            “Frauke Petry: Blue stands for conservative, but also liberal policies” Zeit Online, October 13, 2017, accessed October 13 2017

[43]            Ibid.

[44]            Quoted from Gary Wills, A Necessary Evil (Simon and Schuster, 1999), 15

[45]            Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience,” 1849

[46]            In a news conference on August 12, 1986, President Reagan highlighted his anti-establishment beliefs with the line, “I think you all know that I’ve always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”  This quote outlines Reagan’s and conservatives’ belief in a small-government model, remarking against excessive government expense and oversight.  See: Ronald Reagan, “The President’s News Conference,” The American Presidency Project August 12, 1986, accessed October 14, 2017 Online at:

[47]            Peter Overby, “Trump’s Efforts To ‘Drain The Swamp’ Lagging Behind His Campaign Rhetoric,” NPR, April 26, 2017, accessed October 14, 2017

[48]            Jennifer Rubin, “Commentary: Trump’s voters”

[49]            Uri Friedman, “Trust in Government is Collapsing Around the World,” The Atlantic, July 1, 2016, accessed September 29, 2017

[50]            Ibid.

[51]            Ibid.

[52]            Abby Hamblin, “Build that wall? Supporters question Trump’s priorities,” The San Diego Union-Tribune,  September 14, 2017, accessed October 15, 2017

[53]            “Cultural anxiety” being defined as a sense of unease with the presumed direction of American society, a sense of “feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment.”  See: Emma Green, “It Was Cultural Anxiety That Drove White, Working-Class Voters to Trump,” The Atlantic, May 9, 2017, accessed September 29, 2017

[54]            Chris Cillizza, “The 13 most amazing findings in the 2016 exit poll,” The Washington Post, November 10, 2016, accessed September 28, 2017

[55]            Ibid.

[56]            Emma Green, “Cultural Anxiety”

[57]            “Exit Polls” Last updated November 23, 2016, accessed February 9, 2018

[58]            Jonathan T. Rothwell and Pablo Diego-Rosell “Explaining Nationalist Political Views: The Case of Donald Trump,” SSRN, November 2, 2016, accessed October 15, 2017.  Online at:

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