“I don’t know if these elections elevate the European appreciation of American democracy,” she said. “We, in Europe, have to get over this denial of Trumpism.” The severe polarization in American politics and culture and the tendency to doubt the validity of elections are part of “a longer sequence of the Trumpification of U.S. politics and society,” she said in an interview.
The midterms “should encourage Europeans to take seriously the anchoring of Trumpism in American society despite Republican results that are more modest than expected,” she wrote on Thursday in Le Monde. “He rather embodies the structural changes within American democracy and the questions it is facing about its place in the world.”
Ms. de Hoop Scheffer cautioned that it remained possible that the Republicans will still take both houses of Congress. “It’s not a red wave, but if they do, Biden will have a very difficult time.” As will America’s European allies, both on Ukraine and China, she said, where Washington will more aggressively push the Europeans to do more to finance Ukraine and to line up more firmly with Washington on limiting dependency on China.
“The Republicans will put more pressure on Biden and put more pressure on us,” she said.
Ms. Tocci also sees an important moment in the political discussion of populism, given the strong influence of American political trends on Europe. About a month ago, with far-right populist parties doing well in Sweden and Italy, “there was a sense that national populism was on the rise again,” she said. “If there had been a MAGA red wave, it would have had a strong effect in Europe. But it looks like there is a certain resilience to democracy in the U.S., and that’s existential for Europe as well.”
In addition, she said, despite the criticism of Mr. Biden, he has delivered important domestic policy legislation and shown “rather effective management of Ukraine, the deepest European security crisis since World War II.”
So “it’s reassuring for democracy that policy matters, that if you govern pretty well, you’re kind of rewarded for it, or at least not punished for it,” she said.