Steve Bannon’s Populist Par­ty

Le plan de Steve Bannon pour les pro­chaines élec­tions eu­ro­péennes.

Vocable (Anglais) - - Édito Sommaire -

En juillet der­nier, Steve Bannon, l’an­cien conseiller stra­té­gique de Do­nald Trump, an­non­çait vou­loir créer « Le Mou­ve­ment », une or­ga­ni­sa­tion vi­sant à ras­sem­bler les par­tis d’ex­trême droite eu­ro­péens afin d’in­fluen­cer le ré­sul­tat des élec­tions de mai 2019. Mais l’en­thou­siasme n’a pas été au ren­dez-vous dans les par­tis concer­nés. Un jour­na­liste de The At­lan­tic Online nous ex­plique pour­quoi.

It’s no se­cret Steve Bannon has his sights set on Eu­rope. The for­mer White House chief stra­te­gist an­noun­ced [in Ju­ly] that he would be mo­ving to Brus­sels to start a new mo­ve­ment—a think tank cal­led The Mo­ve­ment—to sup­port Eu­rope’s right-wing populist par­ties ahead of the European Par­lia­ment’s elec­tions next spring. His goal, Bannon told the Dai­ly Beast at the time, is to create a “su­per­group” of uni­ted right-wing populist law­ma­kers wi­thin the cham­ber—a feat that will re­quire the in­vol­ve­ment of at least 25 law­ma­kers re­pre­sen­ting at least se­ven European Union mem­ber states. 2. But Eu­rope’s right-wing populist par­ties may not share his grand am­bi­tions. Alexan­der Gau­land, the co-lea­der of Ger­ma­ny’s far-right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­ma­ny (AfD) par­ty, re­vea­led in an interview that his par­ty wouldn’t be in­vol­ved with Bannon’s ef­forts to unite European populist par­ties—and ap­pea­red to ques­tion whe­ther anyone real­ly could unite them. “Mr. Bannon will not suc­ceed in for­ging an al­liance of the like-min­ded for the European elec­tions,” he said.

DIF­FERENT PO­LI­TI­CAL GOALS

3. Gau­land isn’t wrong. Though ma­ny of Eu­rope’s right-wing populist par­ties share si­mi­lar views on is­sues such as im­mi­gra­tion and the eco­no­my—which fue­led the electoral rise of par­ties like the AfD in Ger­ma­ny, the Five Star Mo­ve­ment in Ita­ly, and the Fi­desz par­ty in Hun­ga­ry—it doesn’t ne­ces­sa­ri­ly mean they have the same po­li­ti­cal goals. In­deed, Ger­ma­ny’s la­test im­mi­gra­tion scan­dal pro­ved just how te­nuous such po­li­ti­cal connec­tions can be when they’re put electoral rise per­cée élec­to­rale (rise mon­tée, pro­gres­sion) / in­deed en ef­fet / te­nuous té­nu, mince /

to the test: Though populist ru­ling par­ties in Ita­ly, Aus­tria, and Hun­ga­ry boast hard-line anti-im­mi­gra­tion po­li­cies, all three were quick to op­pose Ger­ma­ny’s ef­forts to turn away im­mi­grants at its bor­der, ci­ting the im­pact it would have on their own bor­ders.

4. AfD isn’t the on­ly par­ty that has cal­led in­to ques­tion Bannon’s ef­forts. In France, a spo­kes­man for Ma­rine Le Pen’s Na­tio­nal Ral­ly said The Mo­ve­ment would be no more than “a good, non-par­ti­san tool box” for Eu­ro­peans. “Bannon is an Ame­ri­can and has no place in a European po­li­ti­cal par­ty,” Jé­rôme Rivière, the Na­tio­nal Ral­ly’s in­ter­na­tio­nal spo­kes­man, told Po­li­ti­co [in Ju­ly].

SUDDEN DISINTEREST

5. This disinterest on the part of some European par­ties contrasts shar­ply with the em­brace that at least one of those same par­ties ex­ten­ded to Bannon just months ago. In March, Le Pen in­vi­ted Bannon to ad­dress her par­ty’s two-day Con­gress in Lille. Bannon has made si­mi­lar ap­pea­rances across his tour of the conti­nent, ma­king stops in Rome, Prague, and, more re­cent­ly, the Uni­ted Kingdom.

6. But there’s a rea­son some of these par­ties may want to keep Bannon at arm’s length. In France, Le Pen has long strug­gled to re­brand her par­ty (for­mer­ly known as the Na­tio­nal Front) and dis­so­ciate it from the more ex­treme ele­ments of its past. By in­vi­ting Bannon, Le Pen see­med to be si­gna­ling to her sup­por­ters that his suc­cess in hel­ping get Pre­sident Do­nald Trump’s “Ame­ri­ca First” po­li­cy in­to the White House could be re­pli­ca­ted in France. But, by ha­ving a contro­ver­sial fi­gure like Bannon at her side, she al­so see­med to be set­ting back her own “de-de­mo­ni­za­tion” ef­forts.

TRUMP’S UNPOPULARITY

7. The AfD would have si­mi­lar rea­sons for re­jec­ting Bannon’s ad­vances. Though the par­ty has en­joyed re­cord po­pu­la­ri­ty in recent weeks, it still has to de­mons­trate that it can go toe to toe with its na­tio­nal ri­vals. Co­zying up to a fi­gure like Bannon, who has long been as­so­cia­ted with the po­li­ti­cal mar­gins, may do the par­ty more harm than good. “Trump is in­cre­di­bly un­po­pu­lar in Ger­ma­ny among or­di­na­ry Ger­mans,” Mat­thew Good­win, a pro­fes­sor of politics at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kent and a co-au­thor of the for­th­co­ming book Na­tio­nal Po­pu­lism: The Re­volt Against Li­be­ral De­mo­cra­cy, told me.

8. Good­win ex­plai­ned that there is ano­ther, pe­rhaps big­ger, rea­son right-wing populist par­ties in Eu­rope may be less in­cli­ned to part­ner with Bannon: He’s sim­ply too late. “Ma­ny of [Eu­rope’s] populist par­ties have tens of thou­sands of mem­bers, they are al­rea­dy es­ta­bli­shed. They don’t ne­ces­sa­ri­ly be­lieve the Trump play­book is so­me­thing they need in or­der to find suc­cess.”

(Tom Bren­ner/The New York Times)

Steve Bannon is star­ting a new mo­ve­ment to sup­port Eu­rope’s right-wing populist par­ties.

(Alain Ro­bert/SIPA)

Steve Bannon and Ma­rine Le Pen at the Ras­sem­ble­ment Na­tio­nal par­ty con­ven­tion in Lille, March 10, 2018.

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