In Search of a New Political Culture

Christian Kvorning Lassen explores, in his latest blog, the future of political culture as the Western world approaches 2017 with a polarized society and uncertain outcomes of elections in Europe.

  • 2016 was a year that sent shockwaves through the Western world. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Britain voted to leave the European Union; all amidst a backdrop of terrorist attacks across Europe.
  • 2017 could very well provide new shocks, with elections coming up in the Czech Republic, Germany, France and the Netherlands; Hungary and Poland are set to continue down their path of authoritarianism.

Thus, rather than accepting differences, which is fundamental to maintaining a well-functioning democracy, a destructive culture of vengefulness has taken its place in which the electorate’s champions – elected politicians – compete in a race to the bottom rather than engaging in meaningful politics and society building.

The outcome is a predictable and unsustainable vicious cycle in which politics become more and extreme, with politicians trying to bend constitutional checks and balances, like Donald Trump is currently doing. In Europe, the same tendencies are primarily seen on the right wing of the political spectrum.

The right wing in the EU, much like the Republicans in the US, needs to deliver something more tangible and sustainable than short-sighted extremist policies based purely on values and “feelings”, be it on migration, climate change, health care or economic policies. They need to seek center-based solutions either backed – or at least acceptable by – the opposition, lest the vicious cycle of disruption continues.

The full article is available on

#political culture #Western world #elections #Donald Trump

Christian Kvorning Lassen
Deputy Director & Head of Research

Expertise: Migration/European migration crisis, EU foreign policy, Scandinavian politics, populism, EU enlargement policy

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