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It turns out that older voters are rather sympathetic to nationalist movements. Older Britons voted disproportionately in favor of leaving the European Union, and older Americans delivered the U.S. presidency to Donald Trump.Leaving aside country-specific peculiarities, nationalist parties all promise to stem global forces that will affect older people disproportionately.So, while right-wing populists have attracted older voters, left-wing populist have gained a following among younger generations.By backing right-wing populists, older voters hope to return to a time when domestic affairs were insulated from global forces and national borders were less porous. Similarly, in continental Europe, right-wing populists want to return to a time before the adoption of the euro and the Schengen system of passport-free travel within most of the EU. And they often appeal directly to older voters by promising to lower the retirement age and expand pension benefits (both are flagship policies of the League).As a result, older voters will demand more and more socio-economic security, and irresponsible populists will be waiting in the wings to accommodate them.To stem the nationalist tide, mainstream parties urgently need to devise a new social compact that addresses the mounting sense of insecurity among older voters.In many ways, older voters' infatuation with populists is a cry for help.
Will more Italians choose to vote with their feet?
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