Some of Donald Trump’s closest advisers think that Europe’s alternative parties are soulmates. Former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage was in Washington last week to address the Conservative Political Action Committee, where he declared that the Trump victory was part of a “global revolution,” to thunderous applause. The so-called “global revolution” includes Farange’s fringe UKIP party in the UK, Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, as well the Allianz fuer Deutschland.
The populist rhetoric won’t play well in Germany, where the AfD has sunk to just 8% in national polls after an embarrassing internal fight over the expulsion of a party leader who demanded an end to Holocaust memorials in Germany. Farage meanwhile has become an object of scorn in the UK after he demanded that his party expel its only Member of Parliament, Tory defector Douglas Carswell, because Carswell had failed to arrange a knighthood for Farage.
Despite the disarray, Trump invited Farage to dinner with his family and advisers at a Washington restaurant last week, an extraordinary degree of recognition for a discredited fringe politician who holds no public office. This bodes ill for American foreign policy judgment in Europe, where elections in France and Germany and political chaos in Italy represent significant risk to markets.