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Are younger voters really the best defence against populism?

The fightback against right-wing populists across the US and Europe has focussed on the value of young voters. But the reality is more complex—and shows the scale of the challenge ahead

By Anita Riotta  

Young people march against Trump. But in Italy, the M5S government has the backing of many millennials. Photo: PA

“Migration is one reason. The economy is another.” It’s a quote that could be used to explain the election of Donald Trump, or the result of the EU referendum.

In fact, however, it referred to something else: the formation of Italy’s new government coalition.

The prevailing narrative has grouped these—and other—populist outbreaks as a singular, worrying, phenomenon. Popular themes have emerged in this discussion, not least the idea that older voters…

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