Progressives Against the Far-Right

New “Talking Progress” Podcast episode with Catherine de Vries, Cas Mudde and Johannes Hillje


National lockdowns, vaccine rollout strategies, and the shutdown of international travel have introduced the national framework as a dominating force. Tune in to this episode to hear Catherine de Vries and Cas Mudde discuss what this all means for the electoral chances of right-wing populists and how progressives must respond right now.

How has the pandemic year influenced the politics of right-wing populists and nationalists? Is their goal of a world defined by closed and exclusive communities any closer or has the year 2020 and 2021 demonstrated the need for regional and international cooperation? This episode will debate the short and long term effects of the pandemic on right-wing populism and offer suggestions on how progressives can win elections during the 2020s.

Johannes Hillje, a policy fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum, moderated this conversation between Catherine de Vries, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Political Science at the Bocconi University and Cas Mudde, Professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia.

Click on the button to load the content from

Load content

Find this podcast episode on PodigeeSpotifyApple Podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The 2021 German Elections and 2022 French Elections

With both Germany and France gearing up for national elections, the political impact of the pandemic will undergo major tests. Catherine De Vries and Cas Mudde discuss how progressives in these countries should campaign within the context of the pandemic, focusing on how to communicate policies and coalition expectations.

„There is a demand for populist right parties and the demand can fluctuate with current conditions.“

Catherine de Vries

Policy analysis: Austerity measures have benefited the far-right

Which conditions and policy decisions have empowered right-wing populist parties in the past decade? Catherine de Vries points to empirical evidence suggesting that austerity measures have been a big driver for far-right parties. Using the 2010 financial crisis as a comparison point, both guests analyse lessons learned and the pros and cons of the EU’s response this time around.

The importance of setting the progressive agenda

Taking a broad look at Europe, Catherine de Vries and Cas Mudde provide examples on how the far-right has adapted and responded to changing political situations. The experts advocate for progressive leaders and parties to take positions entrenched in liberal values and to set the agenda with their own visions of society. Winning elections, progressive administrations, and democratic institutions are at stake.

„We should make policies based on what we think is best, not based on populists“.

Cas Mudde

How to make the 2020s a decade of progress

Catherine de Vries demands to take a position and to keep that position as much as one can while choosing one specific battle, the battle for liberal rights and liberal democracy. On the other hand, Cas Mudde urges us to re-politicize politics, „it has to be ideological again“. We would need to recapture the agenda on the basis of our own ideology. Focusing on key policies would include the environment, housing, public health and reimagining Europe.

This episode is the first part of our Progressive Governance series. We recorded this session as part of the Progressive Governance Digital Summit that took place from June 9th to 11th 2021. Post-production and additional recordings done by Annika Hoffmann and Das Progressive Zentrum.

Find out more about the Progressive Governance Summit!


Publikationen [publications count="1" type="person"] Meldungen [news count="2" type="person"]
Europe’s Man on the Moon Project
New "Talking Progress" Podcast episode: A Conversation between Robert Habeck and Margrethe Vestager
How Can the Centre-Left Reinvent Itself?
New "Talking Progress" Podcast episode with Tim Bale, André Krouwel and Ania Skrzypek
Empowering Cities: The American Rescue Plan
How are cities using Biden’s stimulus package to drive change?
How can the 2020s be a progressive decade? – Action Paper
Progressive politics has to offer both practical policies for the present, and a sense of the more ambitious, longer-term transitions
At Das Progressive Zentrum, Diego was a Project Manager and primarily coordinated the annual Progressive Governance Summit and the New Urban Progress transatlantic dialogue. Diego is also currently the Get-Out-the-Vote Coordinator for Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Democrats Abroad. Before that role he was Chair of Democrats Abroad Berlin and also a Bernie Sanders Delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Empowering Cities: Building Urban and Transatlantic Infrastructure
What are successful approaches and polices to the most pressing issues for German and US cities? How can cities and international networks strengthen the transatlantic partnership?
Empowering Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Progress
City leaders share the same worries: Climate change, rising inequality, housing insecurity and health inequity, to name a few. They talk about working towards progress. But how can a city’s development in these areas really be assessed?
Empowering Cities: Forging a Transatlantic Dialogue
Does Germany struggle with its unhoused populations the same way as cities in the United States do? What can the U.S. learn from Germany when it comes to improving public transportation infrastructure?
Empowering Cities: Financing the Climate Transformation
How can we finance the transformation to the zero carbon city?

We develop and debate progressive ideas and bring together leading actors who turn thoughts into action. Our think tank’s goal: making the just transformation a reality. ▸ Learn more