Salvo 03.12.2024 4 minutes

Europe Swings Right


Socialists face setbacks across the globe, and Joe Biden could be next.

For the past eight years, the Socialist Party ruled Portugal. On Sunday, however, that run ended when the center-right Democratic Alliance won the country’s general election. Portuguese citizens, fed up with years of hyper-progressive politics and criminally bad policies, are following other European peoples in turning to a conservative alternative.

Under the Socialist Party, for example, the issue of homelessness turned into a full-blown crisis. According to recent data, between 2018 and 2022, the number of homeless people in Portugal increased by a whopping 78 percent. In October of last year, Renata Alves, General Director of Comunidade Vida e Paz, told Expresso that the homelessness crisis has been exacerbated by several factors, including the “worsening of living conditions, immigration and the increase in drug consumption.”

At the turn of the century, Portugal legalized the use of all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Progressive outlets applauded the move. Now, though, with more and more people succumbing to addiction, the country—and its citizens—are having second thoughts.

Drug use is intimately associated with crime. In recent times, all manner of crimes have increased in the southern European nation, including arson, damaging public property, and thefts from motor vehicles. Gang violence and murder are also on the rise.

One cannot discuss the increase in gang violence without noting Portugal’s famous (or infamous) open door immigration policy. That’s because, like drug use and crime, mass immigration and gang violence go hand in hand.

Portugal’s foreign resident population continues to grow. Currently, there are roughly 800,000 individuals of various nationalities residing in the country, many of whom are from war-torn Ukraine, as well as African nations like Angola and Guinea-Bissau. To put that 800,000 in perspective, Portugal’s entire population is a little over ten million.

To compound matters, the country is in the midst of a cost of living crisis. In recent times, rents have surged by almost 11 percent. The lethal combination of soaring inflation, elevated interest rates, and stagnant wages has seen residents take to the streets in protest.

They have had enough.

In truth, the frustrations of the Portuguese people mirror the growing unrest seen throughout Europe. Portugal’s recent election results must be viewed through a much broader lens.

Along with Portugal, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Holland, and Slovakia have all moved Right in recent times. The Right is also steadily gaining ground in France and Germany.

In October of 2022, Italy, one of Europe’s most powerful countries, witnessed the Brothers of Italy take power. A right-wing, Eurosceptic party, the Brothers of Italy is represented by Giorgia Meloni, the current prime minister of Italy.

The frustrations felt by the people in Portugal were also felt by the people in Italy. Italians were—and one assumes still are—worried about the number of immigrants entering the country. Previous surveys revealed that 77 percent of Italians considered immigration to be excessive. Half of the population firmly believes that immigration is closely associated with a rise in crime rates (it is). Italian prisons are flooded with foreign-born criminals.

Elected on the promise that she would halt migration, Meloni has since softened her stance. The number of new migrants has increased greatly, to the chagrin of nationalists in her party and others who see her as having capitulated to the very same globalist ideology she was elected to oppose. Meloni indicates, however, that she remains committed to stopping illegal immigration and will seek to use economic and trade leverage to induce African source nations to keep their citizens at home.

Some 1,200 miles away in Sweden, a country renowned for its ridiculously liberal policies, the Sweden Democrats, a far-right party, is growing in popularity. Much to the chagrin of far-left outlets, the party maintains a staunch stance against immigration and multiculturalism. Sweden First, they say—and more Swedes are nodding their heads in approval.

Of course, one needn’t live in Portugal, Italy, or Sweden to understand the rising interest in combatting issues like mass immigration, drug overdoses, homelessness, increased levels of crime, and inflation.

American readers know what I am talking about.

Under the current administration, the country finds itself swarmed by illegal immigrants. Some could argue that the country is being invaded. In December, the number of illegal border crossings hit 250,000, showing a 31 percent increase from November’s 119,112, and a 13 percent uptick from December 2022. The increase in illegals entering the country has seen more dangerous drugs like fentanyl being smuggled in. To compound matters, as estimated by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, American taxpayers bear a financial burden of at least $151 billion in a given year.

This is a financial burden the average American can ill afford to pay, considering wages are stagnant and the cost of everyday items continues to increase. This hasn’t stopped Joe Biden from declaring America’s economy the “strongest in the world.” Considering Joe struggles to complete a single, coherent sentence, he can be forgiven for garbling such garbage.

Detached from the realities of life for the average American, the current administration could find itself in a similar position to Portugal’s Socialist Party just a few months from now.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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