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Here’s how the far right uses distrust of government to drive their racial agenda

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Right-wing parties frequently position themselves as opposed to government power — in particular, reducing the state is rhetorically linked with the Republican Party in American politics.

But as Daphne Halikiopoulou and Sofia Vasilopoulou explained in an analysis for the Washington Post, a close examination of the voting patterns in Europe reveal a different, more complicated picture.

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“Europe’s economic crisis in 2008 was socially disruptive,” they wrote. “This might have been expected to lead to increased support for left-wing populist parties that promised to look after voters’ material needs. But instead, it was far-right populists who have won over voters, by promising to restore national sovereignty and govern in the name of the people. This has been true of the National Rally (RN) in France (formerly the National Front), the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), the Austrian Party for Freedom (FPÖ), the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Italian Northern League, among others.”

The truth is, they argue, that right-wing populists don’t dislike government power — they just prosper politically when people are dissatisfied with how it’s being used.

“Citizens interact with state institutions every day. They need to navigate public benefits. They worry about the quality of local hospitals and schools, corruption, neighborhood crime levels, and the conditions determining job security. When citizens see these institutions as legitimate and working well, they are less likely to be discontent with society. These routine interactions with the state shape both the economic and cultural dimensions of discontent,” they wrote.

“The far right has risen in Europe because of changes in how citizens view the government,” they continued. “When citizens are critical of the state’s capacity to deliver, they tend to resort to protest. Protest voting implies punishing those who are held responsible, and therefore accountable, for poor policies that lack legitimacy. The ‘punished’ tend to be the incumbent or mainstream parties, associated with existing state policies. When citizens vote for protest parties, they are saying that they are unhappy with how the state is working.”

Immigration, they argued, touches on a huge number of state programs and functions, and thus serves as a “litmus test” for many voters about whether the government is working at all.

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“However, not all voters are equally skeptical of immigration,” they wrote. “Voters with strong anti-immigrant views are the far right’s core electorate, but to win elections they also need to appeal to voters with more-moderate anti-immigrant views. This is where perceptions of the state come in. Our research shows that as the electorate becomes more content with the government, those with more-moderate views over immigration are less likely to support the far right and have fewer incentives to cast a protest vote. However, even if improving the government drives moderate voters away from the far right, it makes strongly anti-immigrant voters more likely to vote for extreme right-wing parties. This seems like a puzzling finding, but it may suggest that these anti-immigrant voters want to restrict access to state benefits so that they are provided only to their own in-group.”

“Unpopular state institutions make far-right nationalism more appealing to those with both moderate and extreme views on immigration,” they concluded. “However, when citizens trust the state, immigration moderates are less likely to support far-right parties. That makes it harder for these parties to appeal to voters outside their regular voting base.”

You can read more here.

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Trump announces Rudy Giuliani ‘wants to go before Congress’ and testify about his Ukraine dealings

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President Donald Trump on Saturday said that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, wanted to testify before Congress.

Speaking to reporters as he departed for a Republican fundraiser in Florida, Trump praised the former New York City mayor.

"Rudy, as you know, has been one of the great crime fighters of the last 50 years," Trump said of his lawyer, who is reportedly under federal investigation for breaking the law.

"And, he did get back from Europe just recently and I know -- he has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress and say, and also to the attorney general and the Department of Justice," Trump said.

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GOP governors are refusing to do Trump’s bidding and ducking him on the campaign trail: report

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On Saturday, Maggie Haberman of The New York Times profiled how President Donald Trump is having less luck whipping Republican governors into line than Republican senators, including governors who arguably owe their election to his support.

"In Florida, Mr. Trump’s aides helped save the flailing candidacy of Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Republican primary, and then the general election," wrote Haberman. "Also last year, in Georgia, Mr. Trump helped pull Brian Kemp over the finish line in both the primary and the general election. In both cases, Mr. Trump’s advisers implored him to stay out of the primaries, and he agreed to — only to surprise his aides by jumping in to support Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Kemp."

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Courts have avoided refereeing between Congress and the president — Trump may change all that

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President Donald Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle is the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.

It’s not the first test: Struggles over power among the political branches predate our Constitution. The framers chose not to, and probably could not, fully resolve them.

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