Populist, anti-establishment political parties are on the move in Europe. If they are far from homogeneous, these parties share common ground in their core constituencies, rural voters. Just as Donald J. Trump rolled up a big rural vote in his unexpected presidential victory, Europe’s populists are rising by tapping into discontent in the countryside and exploiting rural resentments against urban residents viewed as elites.
The parallels are striking: Mr. Trump played on issues such as immigration, trade and globalization, while attacking elites in both parties and mocking political correctness. European populists routinely hammer the same themes while also bashing the European Union as a technocratic colossus wrongly undermining the sovereignty of individual nations.
As populists have steadily gathered strength in Europe, the rural-urban split has been telling in recent elections in Britain, Italy, France, Austria, Lithuania and elsewhere. In the countryside, residents, on average, are older, poorer, less educated and more receptive to the populist message that they are the true protectors of their nation’s culture and heritage.
Continue reading: Like Trump, Europe’s Populists Win Big With Rural Voters