These are happy days for "populist, fringe, and hard-right politicians" in Europe, said The Economist. Four days of European Parliament elections in 27 nations ended late Sunday with center-right parties holding steady and the far right—including the "avowedly racist" British National Party—gaining ground. But the big surprise was the "appalling results" for leftists, who somehow failed to "take advantage of a financial crisis that might have been tailor-made for critics of free market excesses."
"Capitalism triumphed, at least in its mushy European form," said Anne Applebaum in Slate, in part because European conservatives—unlike their counterparts in the U.S.—"don't spend like drunken sailors." It's risky to infer too much from EU elections, because relatively few people vote (that's why "fringe" and protest parties do "unusually well"), but the broad failure of the left, and strong results for a center-right at least "trying to keep some semblance of budget sanity," tells an "unusually consistent story."
Still, politics is local, said Nicholas Carlson in Silicon Alley Insider, as demonstrated in the capture of a European Parliament seat by Sweden's Pirate Party. Rickard Falkvinge, the leader of the copyright-reform party, attributes his party's success to publicity from the April conviction of the four men behind file-sharing site the Pirate Bay.
Then there's the "colorful Geert Wilders," whose anti-Islam party came in a close second place in the Netherlands, said Mark Leonard in The Wall Street Journal, despite its goal of abolishing the European Parliament. Anti-EU winners were actually pretty common, and now make up a "substantial minority" of the parliament. So while the headlines focused on the triumph of center-right parties, this election "is more likely to be remembered for the election of so many self-hating parliamentarians."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- You're reheating pizza wrong
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
Subscribe to the Week