European Populists Who Looked to Trump Now Look Away 歐洲民粹運動 與川普劃清界線
For Europe's populists, the electoral defeat of President Donald Trump, who has been a symbol of success and a strong supporter, was bad enough. But his refusal to accept defeat and the violence that followed appears to have damaged the prospects of similarly minded leaders across the continent.
"What happened in the Capitol following the defeat of Donald Trump is a bad omen for the populists," said Dominique Moïsi, a senior analyst at the Paris-based Institut Montaigne. "It says two things: If you elect them, they don't leave power easily, and if you elect them, look at what they can do in calling for popular anger."
The long day of rioting, violence and death as Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol has presented a clear warning to countries such as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland about underestimating the force of populist anger and the prevalence of conspiracy theories aimed at democratic governments.
"It's very important to show where populism leads and how it plays with fire," she added. "When you've aroused your supporters with political arguments about us versus them, they are not opponents but enemies who must be fought with all means, and it both leads to violence and makes conceding power impossible."
There remains considerable anxiety among mainstream politicians about anti-elitist, anti-government political movements in Europe, especially amid the confusion and anxiety produced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the European Policy Center in Brussels, said that there was no uniform European populism. The various movements have different characteristics in different countries, and outside events are only one factor in their varying popularity, he noted.
The "amazing polarization of society" and the violence in Washington "creates a lot of deterrence in other societies," Emmanouilidis said. "We see where it leads, we want to avoid it, but we are aware that we too could get to that point, that things could escalate."
Trump's Legacy: Voters Who Reject Democracy and Any Politics but Their Own 川普政治遺產：拒絕民主的選民
The sight of a violent mob inspired by President Donald Trump smashing its way into the Capitol was more than just a shocking spectacle. It also highlighted one of the most dangerous parts of Trump's legacy: the disbelief in democracy that has metastasized among many of his supporters.
While the turmoil has divided Republican officials, there are few signs of division among these voters who fervently back Trump. In interviews earlier this month, they expressed sympathy with what they said were the motives of the mob: to stop the counting of Electoral College results in Congress, under the false premise that widespread fraud had deprived the president of reelection.
The adherence of Trump's base to his groundless claims of a "sacred landslide" victory and their rejection of a routine constitutional process — a position abetted by 147 congressional Republicans who objected to certifying President-elect Joe Biden's election — suggests that a core part of the Republican Party is dead-set on rejecting the legitimacy of any politics or party but their own.
In the interviews, Trump supporters adamantly clung to what they called evidence of a fraudulent election, engaged in so-called whataboutism to play down the scenes of destruction in Washington and accused the news media of being overly melodramatic in describing events as a historic inflection.
Since Trump first ran for president, his critics have been predicting that one of his norm-shattering acts would send droves of his supporters fleeing. It has never happened.
For these voters, the lack of allegiance to democratic values seemed to stem, in part, from the shift among many Republicans to imbibing information from sources that offer propaganda rather than news and facts.
Another likely factor that leads to delegitimizing political opponents among Trump supporters is the scorched-earth attacks on Democratic candidates during elections.
Some members of the president's base said they would view Biden as illegitimately occupying the Oval Office, a further polarization of Americans after years when some Democrats questioned or denied Trump's legitimacy.
In the view of many Trump supporters, the president was never given a chance to govern; he was besieged from day one by claims of Russian collusion, fierce obstruction of his priorities and, ultimately, an impeachment.