The most notable developments in the 2019 European elections have been:
1. The continued collapse of the center-left (Social Democrats) and center-right (Christian Democrats), the traditional lynchpins of postwar European politics. The Left is also in stagnation, with Corbyn’s Labour, Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos, and France’s Melenchon all having done poorly.
2. The continued rise of nationalists and the Greens, even as the overall left/right balance remains steady. The nationalists win over support both from the center-right (as they turn into just another variety of milquetoast social liberalism) as well as blue-collars disillusioned by the center-left’s turn away from working class concerns to open borders and religious progressivism. The Greens attract more highly educated, cosmopolitan, and younger voters (spiritual figurehead: Greta Thunberg), siphoning even more voters away from the center-left.
Back in 2011, I had only been blogging for three years. However, I think this particular prediction has stood the test of time remarkably well (even if I do say so myself):
Furthermore, I do not think it is an impossible endeavor. While forecasting specifics such as Stalinist central planning or the mystical millenarianism of Nazism would have been impossible for an observer in 1911, entertaining the possibility of the emergence of such regimes was entirely possible by drawing on the main strands of contemporary intellectual thought on new types of politics and society, which at the time resolved around Marxism, utopian socialism, Social Darwinism, and futurism.
What trends would a similar exercise reveal for today? I would argue that the equivalent themes, largely marginalized now but with the potential for explosive growth under the right conditions of socio-political stress, include: the Green movement (ranging the gamut from local sustainability activists to authoritarian ecosocialists); the technoutopians (include the open-source movement, Pirates, technological singularitarians, Wikileaks activists); and a revival of fascist, far-right thought in the guise of ethnic chauvinism and various Third Position ideologies.
The “technoutopians” remain in the electoral gutter, and I suppose will likely remain there (though who knows?).
But the Greens and Far Right are now doubtless the most exciting political movements, with tremendous institutional and memetic energies behind them, respectively.
Like Communism and fascism in the interwar period, they are the “waves of the future.”
There is also a broad geographic pattern.
The Greens are disproportionately powerful in most of “core Europe” – the Greens are the party of German youth – while the Far Right is powerful, especially in Eastern Europe (it is outright dominant in Hungary, where Fidesz + Jobbik got 60%).
I don’t foresee any major change coming from these elections for reasons that Guillaume Durocher expounds upon (“EPP/S&D/ALDE/Green mainstream still enjoy a majority of some 67%, so a continued globalist “grand coalition” appears quite viable”). However, they are certainly revealing as a bellweather of trends.