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Trump’s toxic brand of populism triggered worldwide return to authoritarianism that may last another 30 years: report

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In a column for the Financial Times, British journalist Gideon Rachman states that the type of nationalist populism espoused by President Donald Trump may linger within the United States for 30 years or more, based upon historical trends.

According to the foreign affairs columnist, 2016 saw the world take two hits with the surprising election of Trump and the stunning vote on Brexit.

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As Rachman sees it, the election of Trump in the United States has been mirrored by a domino effect in the rise of movements similar to his own.

“In the years since ‘Brexit-and-Trump,’ a global populist movement has gathered momentum,” he writes. “The fact that Mr Trump is despised by much of the western establishment and media can obscure this point. But the US president has many admirers, some of them running governments around the world.”

According to the journalist, “It already seems likely that future historians will look upon the events of 2016 as marking the beginning of a new cycle in international history. The bad news for anguished liberals is that these cycles can last quite a long time — 30 years seems to be about average.”

“Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, Latin America’s largest country, is an avowed Trump fan,” he continues. “In the Middle East, the Saudi and Israeli governments much prefer Mr Trump to Barack Obama, his predecessor. His fan club also extends into Europe. The governments of Poland and Hungary are closer ideologically to the Trump White House than to the European Commission in Brussels. Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister of Italy (and the country’s most powerful man), also sees Mr Trump as a role model.”

Explaining why this is happening, he posits, “If new movements or politicians develop an aura of success, they find imitators around the world. That sense of ideological momentum then creates a demand for the original ideas behind the movement to be pushed further and faster … An example of ideological over-reach is the way in which the Reaganite demand for lower taxes and less red tape eventually led to the excessive deregulation of finance, culminating in the financial crisis.”

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He then issued a dire warning.

“The fact that populist and nationalist parties around the world are already taking their cue from Mr Trump suggests that the cycle of emulation is already well under way,” Rachman wrote. “It is now standard practice for politicians, such as Viktor Orban in Hungary, as well as Messrs Salvini and Bolsonaro, to imitate the Trump playbook — condemning “globalism”, accusing the media of spreading fake news, mocking the “politically correct”, and scorning international organisations that attempt to deal with problems such as climate change or the resettlement of refugees.”

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2020 Election

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