Populism’s uncertainty haunts the world

Populism’s uncertainty haunts the world

There is one thing certain about the new resident of the White House. That he does not resemble any of his predecessors. 

Donald Trump’s campaign was full of anger and defied every code of ethical behavior, but there was very little concrete content of what his policies really would be. 

Anger and aggression by politicians is a good escape route for masking the lack of clear ideas and clear policies. We have already seen how the anti-EU wave, which has been sweeping the continent since the beginning of the 2008 global financial crisis, has brought out an array of aggressive politicians.

 Britain has been the first to take this step, but since June, Theresa May has been struggling to put together a credible alternative program.

By her inauguration speech on July 13, 2016, Theresa May crossed the borders of her conservative camp. “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realize. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritize not the wealthy, but you,” she said.  

It sounds terribly similar to Trump’s campaign and his inaugural speech. But the problem is that they lack credibility considering the political ideology they have represented until now.

Likewise Trump, May’s political enemies too, are accusing her of empty talk and lack of policies.   

Like the new British Prime Minister in June, Trump in apparently the shortest inaugural speech ever delivered by a president said: “Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people. For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”

With the case of May, her vague, populist rhetoric has caused a lot of headaches in Brussels. With the case of Trump, his vague, populist rhetoric is causing worries all over the world, as nobody clearly knows what his attitude toward major world issues will be. We know for example, that he thinks that the “euro” was introduced in order to “harm the U.S.” His “America first” implies that his domestic agenda may come first. But the position of the U.S. as the only world power still cannot allow an introverted populist president. So we hold our breath and wait for more clarity and vision.