Nationalism’s uncomfortable memories

(Bloomberg) --

Nationalism stirs uncomfortable memories in Spain.

Since dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, the conservative People’s Party managed to keep hardliners under its broad umbrella. Franco’s old party, the Falange, was reduced to a curiosity.

But the resentment coursing through Western society is stirring up passions in Spain just as it has in the U.S., the U.K., and elsewhere in Europe. There’s a familiar feeling that many have been left behind even as the economy recovered from the financial crisis, with the suspicion that immigrants are competing for jobs and benefits.

There’s also a unique element: A rival nationalism in Catalonia, where efforts to break away from Spain in 2017 provoked a furious backlash that opened the door to Vox.

The new party is promising to roll back the powers that Catalan separatists exploited to undermine the Spanish state — returning the country to the centralized power structures of the Franco era.

Vox is on track in Sunday's election to wins seats in parliament for the first time, and while it’ll likely be the smallest group in the assembly, Rodrigo Orihuela and Jeannette Neumann report it is already having an outsized influence that's helped keep Catalonia at the center of the election debate.

Nationalism’s uncomfortable memories

Global Headlines

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What to Watch

  • U.S. negotiators led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will return to China next week, the White House said, as both sides work to complete a draft agreement to end their yearlong trade war by next month.
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  • A Hong Kong court sentenced Occupy protest organizer Benny Tai to 16 months in prison on charges he conspired to commit public nuisance, capping the China-backed government’s push to punish leaders of 2014’s mass pro-democracy demonstrations.
  • The terrorist attack in Sri Lanka that’s claimed at least 359 lives has opened the way for the return of the Rajapaksa clan — including Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the former president’s brother — who are looking to take back power in elections later this year.

And finally ... The Ghost of March Madnesses Past is coming back to haunt Stephen Moore this April. Trump's Federal Reserve pick is mired in a growing controversy over comments he made in a series of columns between 2000 and 2003 saying women shouldn’t be allowed to referee or announce men’s college basketball games, calling the former “an obscenity.” It could be the final straw for Moore’s candidacy, which was already endangered by reports he’d failed to pay taxes and alimony. If so, it would mark the second Trump central bank nomination to be scrapped over an issue involving women.

Nationalism’s uncomfortable memories

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