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As candidates confound worries about immigration, Islam and terrorism, the campaign will turn toxic.

I looked up the dictionary and I found two possible definitions

  1. to cause a surprise or confusion.
  2. to prove something wrong.

My guess is number 2.

source: http://www.theworldin.com/edition/2017/article/12593/fight-france

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According to the Oxford dictionary, there is a third definition of confound, which is to mix up (something) with something else.

In many countries in Europe, people are worried about terrorism. Right-wing politicians try to influence voters by mixing up two ideas: 1) immigrants are muslims. 2) terrorists are muslims. People will then worry that immigrants are terrorists, and vote for parties that oppose immigration (the right-wing parties).

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