While the Tea Party movement in the United States is decidedly different from the various anti-immigrant and nationalist political formations which have gained strength across Europe in recent years, they do share common characteristics. Having blossomed during the economic crisis, these movements question the ruling “elite” in Washington and Brussels, affirm the necessity of reasserting the people’s power, and pose a serious challenge to governance and the existing social contracts. Another similarity across both sides of the Atlantic is the notable absence of any left-wing version of populism, even in a time of social difficulties and record profits for banks and corporations.
On March 11, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings (CUSE) and the Heinrich Boell Foundation hosted a discussion to assess the scope and meaning of the populist wave in the United States and Europe, and, more simply, to test the appropriateness of comparing transatlantic populisms. Panelists included Brookings Senior Fellow William Galston and Pierre Hassner, research director emeritus at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris.
Senior Fellow Justin Vaïsse, CUSE director of research, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. After the presentations, panelists took audience questions.