About a month before Italy’s disastrously inconclusive March elections, Giorgia Meloni, the flaxen-haired leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, stood in the gusty winter wind to kick off her campaign in front of the crowd that had gathered in Latina’s Piazza del Popolo. At her side was Rachele Mussolini, a local candidate for her party who just happens to be the granddaughter of Benito Mussolini. Meloni took Mussolini’s granddaughter’s hand in hers and raised it in the air. “We want to win back this symbolic place in the history of the Italian right,” Meloni yelled over raucous applause from the packed piazza.

The town of Latina, about 45 miles south of Rome, was hardly a random choice from which to inaugurate the short campaign season for Brothers of Italy, which was born from the ashes of the post-fascist Socialist Movement, an...

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