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While those are certainly valid points, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that this is also a reflection of trends that we've seen in a number of European countries as well.

Like the U.S., right-wing parties abroad have long been centered around pro-business issues and push-back against more left-wing economic issues - especially standing in contrast to Labour and Green parties. But in recent years, those parties have also started to realign around more "social" issues - particularly pushback against immigration and international connectedness, as right-leaning parties in Europe pushed back against refugees (both directly and culturally) and supported the very visible Brexit campaign. Like in the U.S., they've gotten more populist - organizing around the concept that the government has been seized by a corrupt and venal "Elite" (which in right-wing populism consists of technocrats, cultural and educational leaders, globalists, and those who reject the "traditional" values of the rural working classes). They're characterized by much stronger nationalism/nativism and anti-immigrant sentiment, rejection of international trade and finance, negative attitudes towards religious outgroups (especially Muslims), than the conservative parties (however named) in those countries typically had.

So while Fox and Rush and Newt and friends all had key roles in shaping the evolution of the GOP, it's also part of a wider trend. The growth of right-wing populism is explained, in part, as a response to global economic and cultural shifts that have taken place over the last several decades. It's not just limited to the U.S., and it's not just a product of individuals or institutions in the U.S. And the fact that right-wing populism is also well-established in Europe (and arguably came before right-wing populism in the U.S.) should give pause to U.S. progressives/liberals who think that they can be blunted by a more assertive economic safety net or changes in taxation policy. Or by changes in the media ecosystem, since one of the most dramatic successes of right-wing populism took place in the U.K. (the growth of UKIP and Brexit), which has one of the more tightly regulated broadcast and television regimes in the Western World when it comes to politics, and does not have anything like a Fox News or a Rush Limbaugh on the air.

Albaby
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