The media outlet has lamented that youthful citizens are increasingly backing “xenophobic” populists who prioritize their needs
European voters under age 35 are increasingly supporting “far-right” political candidates, not out of xenophobia but because conservative populists seem to offer more solutions to the quality-of-life issues that concern them most, the UK’s Guardian newspaper has claimed.
“Across the continent, the image of the radical-right voter – typically white, male, non-graduate and, above all, old – is changing, and studies suggest that in several countries, support for the far right is growing fastest among younger voters,” the Guardian said on Friday. Italian political scientist Catherine de Vries told the newspaper that while many young voters aren’t in ideological alignment with far-right candidates, they are swayed by those who pledge greater “livelihood security” as their lives become more precarious.
The Guardian noted that conservative parties are appealing increasingly to young voters in such countries as Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. The trend also was evident in last week’s Dutch election, in which the victorious Party for Freedom (PVV) fared even better among voters under age 35 than it did overall.
A 24-year-old Amsterdam man told the media outlet that he and his friends voted for PVV leader Geert Wilders because the right-wing candidate “wants to figure out the housing crisis and make our health care better.” He added that many “woke” people in big cities focus on such issues as climate and gender while ignoring the “real problems” facing Dutch citizens today. “I am not a racist because I voted for Wilders. It frustrates me that migrants receive more help from the government than Dutch people, but I’m not against Islam. I don’t want mosques closed. I just think we need to control immigration better.”
Other political analysts lamented that far-right parties had successfully positioned themselves as “cool,” in some cases skillfully reaching large audiences on social media. One observer claimed that a rising “ultra-right” counterculture has been able to “reach and radicalize” many young Europeans.
However, Pawel Zerka, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said economic insecurities are the key driving force. “Young voters haven’t moved rightwards on migration, abortion, minority rights,” he said. “Far-right parties have convinced them that they offer a credible economic alternative.”
A 22-year-old woman in Amsterdam said she and her family members voted for the PVV party because the current Dutch government didn’t seem to care about their top concerns, including inflation. “When it comes to migration, people from a war country deserve a better life here, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of Dutch people,” she said.