The author of this piece, Populist Parties Are Rising Because Mainstream Conservatives Have Failed, is a Brit who writes about politics on both sides of the pond. Here he writes about the rise of alternatives to the failed conservative parties in Europe, and draws a few parallels. The entire piece is worth a read, but here are the money grafs:
American third parties are known as the wasps of political history: They sting and they die…
The short answer is that these fringe parties occupied the large empty spaces on the political Right that the mainstream conservative parties had abandoned. British Tories, French Gaullists, Swedish Moderates, and other parties elsewhere increasingly narrowed their appeal to that of superior economic management in a capitalist economy than their countries’ respective Leftist parties. They adopted what Marx called “economism.” They were embarrassed by the patriotism and traditional moral values that had been part of their original identity. They wanted the approval of the metropolitan liberal opinion-formers in which their leaders moved socially. They tailored their electoral messages accordingly.
That would have been fine if their voters had been treading the same ideological path. But the difficulty was that economic conservatives were (and are) a minority of potential conservative voters…
What made matters worse is that insofar as mainstream conservatives did move into new ideological territory, their movement was towards such policies as adopting mass immigration — and an accompanying multi-culturalism — and surrendering sovereignty to supranational bodies over trade and economic policy. These approaches were even less appealing to many of their supporters than a cold financial “economism” which, after all, had long been only one thread in the larger conservative tapestry.
In short, mainstream conservative parties were tailoring their policies to please a small national constituency while seeming oblivious to the fact that they were alienating or even dissing the moral traditionalists, the patriots, the national-defense conservatives, and the “social fabric” conservatives who together make up the great bulk of their national constituency.
Moreover, the longer this continued, the more these constituencies became outraged not only at particular policies but also at the general failure of the center-right parties they usually supported to respond to their concerns.
And to put the top hat on things, two of the most important policies that had the support of these parties — namely, the Euro and the Schengen region of borderless Europe — failed in the most clear-cut manner. They produced chaos, disorder, and distress on a massive scale — 22 percent unemployment in Spain, a million-strong non-military invasion of Europe, moderate governments replaced by oddball Leftist coalitions through southern Europe. Yet mainstream parties continue to insist that the policies are irreversible.