Into the Mainstream: Explaining the Rise of Radical Populist Parties in Europe

I attended the Into the Mainstream: Explaining the Rise of Radical Populist Parties in Europe event with guest Richard Heinisch. With the current political climate, I thought this event seemed interesting and I believe that now more than ever we must be fully aware of the world we live in and our leaders. Richard Heinisch started his presentation with the fact that populism is rapidly spreading across Europe and even the U.S. after Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. Heinisch categorized the populist movement as having a blatant disregard for minorities, commonly making radical statements, being Eurocentric nativist, and making people call into question the principles of a democracy. Heinisch also asserted that the populist movement plays upon people’s fears to their advantage and loathe globalization. Altogether, what I received from Heinisch’s argument is that the populist movement is very problematic. The racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic rhetoric that populist leaders use and the party adheres to are dangerous and disgusting. Populism is not inclusive, it is very exclusive, and simply hateful. I deeply fear the rise of populism and I hope that people everywhere will realize that the ideals this party bases itself upon are wrong and very harmful. As human beings, we should love and accept our neighbors and celebrate diversity and differences.

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