If someone asked me today, “do you think Marine Le Pen could win the French presidency next April?”, I would have to say without pause: certainly. After being rocked by Brexit and Trump’s electoral victory, the political centre ground has never looked more vulnerable to the extremes.
Europe is caught between a rock and a hard place, between an unbendingly centrist status quo, and increasingly unpleasant populism. The question remains; is there a way out for constitutional democracy?
Nationalism, whilst generally steered clear of in most countries, is utterly shunned from the political scene in places like Germany and Spain, for historical reasons. France and Britain however, were never subject to denazification and the lasting impression that nationalism must be avoided in politics. In this discussion, I argue why nationalism must be avoided at all costs by democracies, and why nationalist rhetoric can only be a destructive force.
Over the past year, the rising tide of anti-establishmentism has posed itself as a major threat to Europe’s moderate, centrist establishment parties. Can this tide be countered, and can the European centre truly satisfy the demands of the people? Do they even want to? The establishment will have to answer these questions themselves if they want to remain in power.