Populism Spreads Across U.S., Europe But Could Halt as Economy Rallies

A populist wave is washing over the United States and Europe, which have seen populist leaders take the helm – U.S. President Donald Trump – or come exceedingly close to power. Geert Wilders’ Dutch populist Party for Freedom is strong, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen went face to face with Emmanuel Macron in France’s recent election (although Le Pen lost by a rather large margin), and Germany’s September federal election is sure to see a surge in support for the right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland party.

Populism has gained significant ground in the United Kingdom as well, with Britons voting a year ago to leave the European Union in a move that Nigel Inkster, former head of operations and intelligence for MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency, calls “the biggest manifestation of populism” in the UK. Although British Prime Minister Theresa May called for snap general elections to take place today, Inkster told The Cipher Brief, “the two biggest parties [view Brexit] as a fait accompli, and the discussion now is around what precise form Brexit should take.”

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