Thursday, 18 July 2024

Three Big Takeaways from European Parliamentary Elections

Tim Phillips By Tim Phillips | June 13, 2024 | United States

by Tim Phillips and Roberto Masiero

By now, most observers know parties on the right won significant victories across Europe on Sunday. In Germany, Prime Minister Olaf Scholz’ Social Democrat Party was crushed finishing 3rd behind the center right Christian Democrats and the hard right AfD Party. In France, President Macron’s party suffered devastating losses finishing with only 14% of the vote - far behind Marine Le Pen’s populist National Rally which led all parties. Demonstrating that the election was a defeat for the left and NOT for incumbents in general, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni actually increased her Brothers of Italy party’s share of the vote up to 28%.    

But now, let’s look at the three big takeaways.

The biggest loser among political parties was without doubt the Green Party. They lost a stunning 25% of their seats in this election. Their losses were across the continent and thus not attributable to unique circumstances in any one country. The Greens fell from the 4th largest party in the European Parliament to the 6th. 

Clearly, voters struggling with inflation (especially on food and energy) rejected The Greens climate change agenda which has directly contributed to the higher prices. Farmer protests clearly hurt The Greens who came off looking out of touch and ideologically extreme. It will be interesting to see if winning parties on the right actually take action to begin tearing down some of the Green Party policies that have driven up energy costs, impacted lifestyles and curtailed individual freedoms. Clearly, they have a public mandate to do so.  

The most important demographic trend was young voters moving strongly to parties on the right across Europe. For a generation, right\populist voters have on average gotten older and older. As voter turnout among young people has increased in recent elections, the youth vote was one key reason many analysts assumed an ascending leftist consensus for Europe.  

However, in this election exit polls show that young Europeans (especially young men, blue collar and lower income voters under the age of 29) moved decidedly to the right. The trend was especially pronounced in Germany where the right\populist Alternative for Germany scored high with young voters despite its own devastating scandals in the last days before the election. The most popular young politician in Europe is clearly 28 year old French leader Jordan Bardella who is President of the right wing National Rally party. Bardella has 1.5 million TikTok followers, over 600,000 Instagram followers and he is mobbed by admirers at every campaign event. He has made conservatism cool with a growing number of young French and European voters.  

Several factors are driving the move to the right by these young voters. The current leftist rhetoric and policies seem obsessed with race and gender based culture issues along with climate change policies.  Neither of these seem of relevance to struggling young people who cannot find good career paths or afford basic necessities or move out of their parents’ homes. In addition, many of today’s young voters (like younger generations before them) are rebelling or “sticking it to The Man” with their votes. Increasingly in Europe rebelling against “The Man” means an entrenched and rather intolerant of dissent power structure of left wing parties, legacy media, big business, academia, entertainment elites, and government bureaucrats.    

The biggest individual winner coming out of the elections is Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. In the persistently tough climate for incumbent governing parties that is Italy, Meloni campaigned aggressively and actually increased her Brothers of Italy Party’s vote percentage and number of seats won over the last election. Her party’s 28% share of the vote demonstrated her staying power. Meloni has threaded the needle by maintaining her outsider right wing credentials as Prime Minister while still actually getting things done both in Italy and with the leadership of the European Union. Now, she gets to host the G7 Summit of leaders in Italy where she will take a well deserved victory lap.  

Honorable mention for biggest winner goes to France’s Marine La Pen. Her National Rally Party finished 1st in France with an impressive 31% share of the vote. She could vault past Meloni as biggest individual winner but only IF her party can finish first in the snap national parliamentary elections called by the embarrassed President Macron after his party’s abysmal showing. Those snap elections are set for later this summer. 

Now, all eyes turn to the United States to see if this rightward\populist trend seen in Europe will be replicated for Donald Trump and the Republicans. It’s going to be a fascinating and crucial next 5 months.  

The co-author, Tim Phillips, is a Republican strategist and consultant with long experience at the presidential, senatorial, and congressional levels. He has appeared regularly in major media publications and across all the major television networks. His current company is Hyperfocal. From 2006 through 2021, he was President of Americans for Prosperity. He is actually on the board of Renaissance Evolution. 

Roberto Masiero, the co-author, is an entrepreneur and cultural diplomat. He is the Founder and President of Renaissance Evolution and the founder and Chairman of Bee Technology Group. Renaissance Evolution is an American-based foundation dedicated to bridging cultural divides to help businesses and governments become more successful, promoting the ideals that inspired The Italian Renaissance in today’s world. Masiero is a Doctor of Humanities.

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