What do Pauline Hanson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump have in common? All three state that they have the solution to the problems in their country. Do they? Or is what they propose making it more difficult and divisive? Are their calls for unity a cause for celebration, or worry, as they polarise our population more than ever before. They prey on our fear, spout strong and clear rhetoric, and speak with charisma, as their growing fan base moves further from the rest of the popular views.
Pauline Hanson was recently elected to the Australian Senate by the state of Queensland. She was elected with 9.19% of the vote in Queensland, and her One-Nation Party will hold 4 Senate seats after polling at 4.26% nationally. One-Nation, Hanson's party runs on a far-right platform, focussing largely on immigration, border control and domestic culture. In effect, a fear-mongering campaign, about the dangers of immigrants, and the lack of integrity of the political establishment that exists currently. One-Nation was widely supported by Reclaim Australia, a far-right oganisation. One-Nation's election campaign was widely denounced by liberals and progressives across Australia, including Sam Dastyari, a Muslim Senator for the Labour Party in New South Wales. Dastyari's disagreements with Hanson was highlighted when they both appeared on ABC's Q&A on July 18, 2016.
Across the world, in the United Kingdom, Nigel Farage led the Leave campaign to a victory (51.9% to 49.1%) in the EU referendum. Farage, of the United Kingdom Independence Party, relied heavily on similar aspects to Hanson, and One-Nation. Farage talked about stronger border protection, autonomy of government from the EU, removal of the bureaucracy and the limitations of the EU, particularly regarding commerce, trade and immigration. From the outside, it appears that Farage's platform is not dissimilar to Hanson's. Michael Gove, British politician and key figure in the Conservative Party, acknowledges that far-right political parties are stronger in Europe than they have been, since the 1930s, as there is growing dissatisfaction with government bureaucracy, unemployment, welfare and economic growth.
In the world's most influential country, Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for the US Presidential election in 2016. Trump has risen from a background in business, running initially in an attempt to increase accountability for political candidates. In somewhat of a shock, Trump gained momentum through his charismatic oratory and commitment to radical change, and the other candidates in the GOP race never made up the ground. In April, Trump entered the race, initially garnering 3.7% of the primary vote, by early August, he took the lead, and never looked back, in the end claiming over 56% of the primary vote. Trump vows to be tough on crime, corruption, terrorism and immigration. He claims to be able to "make America great again."
Trump has been endorsed by a former leader of the Ku Klutz Klan, and the leader of the American Nazi Party, as a "tremendous opportunity for white nationalists," and has been seen as a base from which other election races can be launched, including David Duke, ex-KKK Imperial Wizard running for Senate in Louisiana. Rocky Suhayda, leader of the American Nazi Party has thrown significant support behind Trump, claiming an opportunity to create a pro-white political caucus. Trump has announced policies to register American Muslims, prevent Muslim immigration, build a separation wall with Mexico (and have Mexico foot the bill for it).
When Trump has been fact-checked, repeatedly it has been shown that he has a fairly loose relationship with the truth. Yet despite these claims, support for Trump still grows. In the aftermath of his comments about "Second Amendment people" and "Hillary Clinton" (suggesting that gun rights advocates assassinate Hilary Clinton), it is yet to be seen if this will affect his approval ratings.
One thing that is common between the three is that they paint a bleak picture of the future. All three run on a platform claiming that they have the solution. A solution can only exist if there is a problem. All three claim that the current path that we are on is one destined to end in disaster. Trade liberalisation, free movement of people, multiculturalism and government cooperation are all on the chopping block. If Trump, Farage and Hanson all succeed and grow, they will begin to challenge the underpinnings of the modern world. It is important for us to stand up against intolerance and hatred. While trade liberalisation and multiculturalism may have short term difficulties as we continue to adjust, they are also the way forward. Tolerance and acceptance must be at the foundation of the international conscious if the future is to avoid being the bleak montage that Trump, Farage and Hanson portray it as being.