Straight Up: Denmark and the Trump effect
The chicken has finally come home to roost. The world’s foremost democracy has settled for a racist, Islamophobic, misogynistic demagogue for president. The country that takes pride in being the land of the free and home of the brave has given in to the politics of fear and hate. Where America leads, others follow. This election has emboldened right-wing nationalists everywhere. A new precedent has been set.
Riding a wave of hate
Before even taking the oath of office, Trump’s victory is already re-energising neo-fascist politicians across Europe. In France, Marine Le Pen is pushing for the French presidency in 2017 with renewed vigour. In Britain, the right-wing UKIP’s Nigel Farage personally flew to New York to congratulate the president-elect (aka fellow extremist).
Other Western populists were quick to congratulate Trump. They included Dutch politician Geert Wilders, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, a major anti-refugee proponent, Greece’s Golden Dawn and Germany’s Alternative for Germany (Für Deustchland).
Granted, Danish centre-rightists had reservations about Trump’s candidacy, but when it came to the congratulations choral, they joined in.
Denmark at the centre
While several Danish politicians took exception to Trump’s rhetoric during the campaigns, several ministers joined the congratulatory bandwagon for the president elect. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen tweeted Trump to congratulate him, expressing hopes that Trump “will continue the open and constructive co-operation”. Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen also looks forward to a “continued co-operation between our two countries”.
Understandably, Denmark has been a US ally for ages: fighting wars with/for the US, joining alliances and coalitions of the willing, and creating social, political and economic ties. Denmark also featured prominently in the US presidential campaigns. From Bernie Sanders praising Danish welfare as a model for his vision, to Ted Cruz warning Trump might nuke Denmark if he clinched the presidency. While this is unlikely, it’s undeniable that the Trump effect will now spiral in even the most liberal of countries, such as Denmark.
Ripe for a Danish Trump
There is a glaring common factor in the Trumpist manifesto that is shared by the current Danish government: that curbing immigration, extreme nationalism and protectionism are the ways to go.
The continued anti-immigration policies of the current government are a clear indicator of a moving centre. Policies ranging from tightened rules for Danish permanent residents to closed borders for refugees are the writing on the wall. The worst is yet to come.
The view of foreigners, and particularly of refugees, as economic burdens is a view that is even drawing in the middle classes, who increasingly feel they have something to lose due to increased migration.
Look out!!! It’s a matter of time before we have our own Trump right here in Denmark. Or do we already?
Zach Khadudu is a Kenyan by birth and a journalist by choice. He is a commentator and an activist with a passion for refugee and human rights. He may share a heritage with a certain US president, but his heart lies elsewhere – in the written and spoken word.