November 30, 2022

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Giorgia Meloni’s victory in Italy is a model for Republican Trump in the midterm elections

Suspension

ROME – Hours after Georgia Meloni’s party won the election in September, conservative US strategist Greg Price. Share a clip On Twitter, the soon-to-be Italian prime minister made a clear call. In the video, she warns of an ongoing global attack against sex, family and religion, carried out by unknown forces seeking a world in which all forms of identity disappear.

“I cannot define myself as Italian, and as a Christian, and as a mother, and as a woman – no!” Meloni says in the clip, from her 2019 speech, “I must be citizen X, gender X, parent 1, parent 2..”

The clip, which has been liked more than 200,000 times, went viral among Trump-aligned Republicans. The reviews were wonderful.

“Very nice ,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green said (R-Ga.).

“just awesome,” Senator Ted Cruz said (R-tex.).

“Sample for November 8th Candidates Is Here,” Steve Curtis saidA former adviser to the Trump campaign.

After Meloni became the first far-right head of government in Western Europe after the war, she emerged as a famous point of reference for MAGA Republicans, who interpreted her rise as an affirmation of their values ​​and goals. In their narrative – prevalent on social media and in the right-wing media – Meloni is a truth-teller who speaks clearly about her beliefs, has not complied in the face of the awakened left, and has overcome the media’s hysterical fascism. Racism is worse.

The far-right leader who is changing the tone of Italy

“This is someone I can relate to, because they’re doing the same to me,” Carrie Lake, the Trump-aligned Arizona gubernatorial candidate who has claimed the 2020 election was stolen, said on Fox News.

There is no doubt that Meloni’s rise is remarkable – and if she succeeds in ruling Italy, she could pave the way to power for other figures who were marginal in Europe.

She became famous in the United States because her speech, in some ways, mirrored that of Donald Trump. She drew heavily on the idea of ​​a forgotten middle class, despised by the elites, while portraying herself as an advocate for the underdog.

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“The people’s narrative against power,” said Maurizio Molinari, editor-in-chief of La Repubblica. It mimics and somehow translates to the Italian public some of the messages that helped Trump. ”

Molinari, who reviewed examples of right-wing media coverage of Meloni in the United States at the request of the Washington Post, concluded: We win. This is their story.”

But there are also some American misconceptions about what drove Meloni’s rise.

Italian Georgia Meloni sets the agenda, says she has no sympathy for fascism

While conversations on social media among Republicans tend to focus on her wartime cultural rhetoric, assuming those views underpin her popularity, Meloni says her positions on such issues may be costing her votes. This summer, when the collapse of the Italian government triggered elections and opened a clear path to power, it cut off the most controversial and most extreme talking points. It no longer attacks the “gay lobby”, for example, or frames immigration as “racial replacement”. She also tried to make it clear to the establishment in Brussels and Washington that it would rule Italy with a traditional foreign policy: pro-Atlantic and anti-Kremlin. In short, she was able to do what Republicans hoped she had not received from Trump: She was moderate.

However, some Americans on the right assumed that her victory was indicative of a popular anti-regime rebellion.

After the Italian elections, Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson Much of the one-night show is devoted to Meloni, depicting Italy as a landscape “devastated” by neoliberalism and its policy of open borders, with some parts of the country becoming “categorically dangerous” due to immigrant crimes. He said Meloni was one of “very few politicians… who were willing to say the obvious – the truth – out loud”.

“This is a revolution,” said Carlson.

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Giorgia Meloni interview with The Washington Post

The reality is more complicated. Italy had a rebellion, but in 2018, when it happened Handed over power to populist parties which later fought with each other and squandered popularity. These failures, along with long-standing problems — intermittent stagnation, high government debt, limited job opportunities for young people — have fueled a sense of political apathy, and skepticism that any political solution will work. Voter turnout in September was the lowest ever.

Meloni benefited from years in opposition, when she was able to draw support from rivals on the right. But this does not mean that it ensured the loyalty of the people. Some voters say they are not sure they will support it even a year from now.

Daniel Albertazi, an Italian-born professor of politics at the University of Surrey, noted that over three decades, between 42 percent and 48 percent of Italians voted for right-wing parties.

Meloni’s party has a hard line on social issues that make its coalition different, and more right-wing, than any previous post-war government. But Meloni has also held key ministerial positions with familiar figures from Silvio Berlusconi’s previous governments, referring to the many centrists who have given her their votes.

“It’s hardly a revolution,” Albertazi said.

The reasons for the success of the far right in Italy

For American onlookers, one of the biggest points of discussion concerns the roots of the Meloni party, Brothers of Italy. Her party, which was created a decade ago, is descended from an earlier group founded by Mussolini sympathizers after the war. The politics of fraternity in Italy are not fascist, and Meloni herself has said that she has “never felt sympathy” for such beliefs. But her party included a group of members who publicly gave the fascist salute or celebrated the rise of Mussolini. Nor did her government take any action when several thousand Italians recently marched in symbols of Fascism in Predappio, Mussolini’s hometown.

In the eyes of Republicans, international media reports about Meloni were alarming, unfairly linking it to fascism. Several TV clips on Trump-aligned media channels showed a bunch of headlines or MSNBC clips.

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“[It’s] Left-wing media do what they do best, classifying logical conservatives as far-right, “a Newsmax announcer said, prior to an interview with Representative Ralph Norman (Republika Srpska). “We’ve seen the same thing happen at home, with MAGA supporters.”

Then Norman said, “Georgia Meloni is a breath of fresh air.” “It’s a preview of upcoming attractions” in the US midterm in November.

Filippo Trevisan, an Italian-born associate professor at American University who specializes in political communication who has reviewed several US media clips at The Post’s request, said that neither the left nor the right in America were able to “really represent the role that Italian politics have taken.”

The integration of the far right into the West is complete

Meloni, for her part, has worked for years to build relationships with Republicans, and He spoke in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. in August Interview with The PostShe shrugged off a question if she felt more aligned with Trump’s wing of the party or those who oppose his ideological takeover.

“I’m not interested in getting into the debate within the Republican Party, because it would be too complicated for me,” she said.

Notably, while the idea of ​​election fraud has made its way deeply into the Republican Party, Meloni never suggested – before or after the vote – that the Italian parliamentary elections might be called into question. When the result gave her a chance to be appointed prime minister by the Italian president, Meloni showed respect for her predecessor, the centrist Mario Draghi. And when she spoke last week before Parliament, she celebrated the smooth transition of power.

“So you have to be in the great democracies,” she said.

Stefano Petrelli contributed to this report.