The center-left Socialist Worker’s Party came out on top in Sunday’s Spanish elections, but the real story was on the right. Vox, a culturally conservative party opposed to mass immigration, will enter Spain’s parliament for the first time after capturing 10 percent of the vote. Vox’s rise is part of a larger trend in this year’s national elections in Europe that shows the forces that fueled President Trump’s rise are gaining, not losing, strength.
Estonia’s March election started this trend. The Estonian populists, EKRE, doubled their share of the vote in March on a platform of nationalism, cultural conservatism and anti-E.U. and anti-immigrant sentiments. Just as Trump got his largest wave of support in the rural and small-town regions that 21st-century prosperity had left behind, EKRE did best in rural areas farthest from the booming capital of Tallinn. It is now part of the new government despite preelection statements from newly-elected Prime Minister Juri Ratas that he would never work with the populists.
The Netherlands was next in line. A party that did not even exist four years ago, the Forum for Democracy, stunned the nation by finishing first in their provincial elections. Led by 36-year-old Thierry Baudet, it advocates for lower taxes, smaller government, traditional Western culture and opposition to Islamic immigration.