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Trumponomics and Europe: The Gathering Storm|Vamsi Karedla

Vamsi Karedla

With trump’s win, a new set of dominoes are poised to fall in Europe. It is simply a question of when.

What is the one thing that connects Donald trump, Italy, Austria, France, and now even Germany?  NO, it’s not his genetic makeup, but something far more interesting and disconcerting at the same time

The road ahead has become clear for the trump juggernaut. He has assumed the presidency of the United States of America, and Trumponomics is to take centre stage. If the world were to be a stack of dominoes arranged in perfect order, with delicate balance separating them, the Trump domino stands at the head of it and threatens to topple each and every domino unit in the stack. The reasons for the same are plentiful, but at the heart of these reasons are the frustrations of the people, and these frustrations do not have easy answers, and “The Donald” has come close to giving them, however incomplete, incoherent or bombastic they might have been.

Across the pond, similar questions have arisen, and the usually quiet and placid landscapes of rural Europe are resounding slogans that strike resemblances to the Trump rhetoric. A keen observer will notice that a similar pattern of politics (to that of America) has arisen in the continent of Europe.

The new age alternative populist parities are blasting bazookas of patriotic protectionist agenda, and the liberals are getting shot like lame ducks at a hunting party. Political pundits across the world have tried to analyze what could be the reason for the rapid growth of parties with such ideologies.

Though the opinions are widely varied in nature, they seem to have certain common denominators to all of them. The first aspect would be the feeling among people that the liberal elite has distanced themselves from certain groups of the demographic, namely certain groups of the working class, lower income strata etc. Recently the liberal parties have placed more emphasis on policies which the majority of the public have struggled to identify with. It would be a far cry to think that an average Joe from the bible belt of America would have much to identify with climate accords. Exceptions do exist, but they are exceptions, existing few and far in between. This is akin to a void in the market of politics. And like all good businessman, the same has been captured by Mr. Trump.

With the advent of globalization, the world has become more interconnected than ever before, the last two decades have seen an unprecedented wave of people crossing borders seeking employment. This has undeniably led to the growth of the “peripatetic employee”. Employees have looked for short term gains such as payments in strong currencies, instead of long-term stability and are willing to cross borders for the same.

Employee demographics point to the fact that workers who are from comparatively impoverished countries are willing to work for lesser wages than the mean level that is prevalent in the country. This partially stems from the fact that the immigrant employees are fresh off the boat and are desperate to make improvements to their standard of living.

This desperation to get on the hamster wheel is a boon for the employers. This hiring policy leads to a tectonic shift in the working atmosphere. This is great for the immigrants but not so much for the native working force, especially when they are witnessing dearth of jobs coupled with changes in both the cultural as well as the physical landscapes of their country. While the common man is grappling with such changes, the so-called liberal parties have turned a blind eye to the same. In Austria, a historical stronghold of the left is now witnessing the meteoric rise of the right. With the Freedom parties’ Nobert Hofer, taking the presidential election by storm, the pulse of the electorate is clear, and this trend is expected to continue well into next year’s general elections. The strategy has been to put emphasis on the ideas of placing a lot of importance on the protectionism, and placing the native Austrian first while formulating public policy.

Rewind a couple of months, BREXIT happened, and Mr. Raghuram Rajan, the then RBI governor of India remarked that once a saturation point has been reached in the process of globalization, economies will take a reverse path by adopting into protectionist tendencies. The BREXIT reflected the sentiments expressed by him. A lot of hue and cry was raised about how the electorate was completely uninformed about the global repercussions of such a move. However, it is pertinent to not miss the fact that, the electorate that voted in favor of leaving were concerned about the influx of migrants and the loss of jobs to them. Britain’s own Trump, Boris Johnson, lost no time in making this sentiment very clear to the public.

After the US elections, Marine le Penn, the Leader of France’s National Party, went on to congratulate Mr. Trump for his win and said that his win was good for France. When she said good for France, she probably meant good for her and the party’s fortunes.

From the past two years, the party and the right leaning sympathizers have been stoking their ambitions of winning the French elections and establishing a government which to their minds seem to be the perfect panacea to the ‘plague’ that has been brought about by more liberal parties. However crude their ideas may seem, there is no denying that there is a certain amount of truth in it. France in the recent times has seen a huge influx of migrants from the less fortunate countries. And the resentment against the foreigners reached a fever pitch with the string of terrorist attacks in France. True, generalization is wrong, but the common man does not think nor does he have the mental space to think with such broad perspectives. This is the principle on which Marine le Penn has catapulted herself to the fore. By galvanizing the opinions of the neglected class of workers, and right-leaning minds of the country, she has given an alternative to the disappointment that the present party has become

The party has been riding an upward sloping graph whose slope does not indicate any relaxation in the near future.

The clouds of a new political force have gathered above Europe, and the precipitating factors have been difficult times and problems to which nobody seems to have the answers to. It is in this situation of a political facelift that Europe is entering an uncertain 2017.

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