Heinz Christian Strache, the poster-boy of the Austrian right recently declared that he has received an official invitation from the Tea Party in the U.S and that he would tour several local chapters this upcoming summer. Given that the FPÖ (Freedom Party Austria) has lashed out against “American imperialism” in the past this upcoming visit comes as a surprise.
Nevertheless it makes sense to a point: Both groups are known for their anti-establishment rhetoric which fuels their base. Both share a burning passion for highlighting the radical elements of Islam which they believe are infiltrating European and American societies. And both are on the rise with the Tea Party booking its success with the midterm elections while the FPÖ recently won 27% in the regional Viennese parliamentary elections.
Could a transatlantic organization based on populist political organizations be realized? Could populist U.S. and EU-based parties join forces in their anti-establishment rants?
There are certainly enough candidates on the market. Keeping in mind Geert Wilders visit to ground zero in New York on the anniversary of 9/11 and the media frenzy that ignited, the Tea Party “franchise” could attract like-minded European parties. Potential collaborators could include the Swiss People’s Party, the Swedish “Sweden Democrats”, Belgian Vlaams Belang, Italian Lega Nord, the English Defence League or the British Nationalist Party just to name a few.
The question however remains what kind of synergy such a collaboration would release. Would the transatlantic tea party bolster or rather harm the reputation of the respective political parties? And could such an alliance of populist and like-minded parties even be realized considering the nationalist inspired foreign policy agendas most of these parties run on?