A very slim majority of Austrian voters chose to exacerbate their own dispossession (or not, if they aren’t indigenous Austrians).
Austrian Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen has narrowly defeated ‘far right’ candidate Norbert Hofert of the very new Austria Freedom Party.
Alexander Van der Bellen – who appears to have defeated the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer by around just 30,000 of nearly five million votes – has a track record of opposing the nation state as a concept…
He now opposes nation statehood in general, instead arguing that European Union member states should move towards full EU federalism. This means a ‘United States of Europe’ made up of ‘states’ in a loose, American sense.
And just like his German counterparts, Van der Bellen argues that refugees are an economic opportunity to integrate “young, intelligent workers”.
What we are seeing across Western Europe, and the United States, is a widening polarization of domestic politics, with the Center shrinking.
In the case of Austria, the leftist did better in the cities and the nationalist did better in the countryside. From CNN:
In the end, the race was decided by more than 700,000 mail-in votes, accounting for 14% of eligible voters.
Van der Bellen, who fared better with urban voters, had been expected to secure more of the mail-in votes than his 45-year-old rival, a trained aeronautical engineer, who drew strong support in rural areas.
Of the larger implications:
Jeremy Cliffe, political correspondent for The Economist, told CNN that the campaign was notable for the “polarization” of the political landscape.
Candidates backed by the two centrist parties who had dominated Austrian politics since World War II — the left-leaning Social Democratic Party and conservative People’s Party — had been eliminated in the first round of voting, resulting in a situation where the center was “really nowhere to be seen.”
This was due to public disillusionment with the centrist parties — seen as too “cozy” and “complacent” — combined with the migrant crisis, which had been a key issue on the campaign trail, over which Van der Bellen and Hofer had clashed.
“You’re left with this clash between quite a conventionally left-wing politician in Mr. Van der Bellen and a far-right politician, Mr. Hofer.”
Van der Bellen also tactically used that tried and true, favored weapon of institutionalized political correctness: Holocaust Guilt™.
While Hofer’s Freedom Party campaigned against migration, Van der Bellen — whose parents spent time in a refugee camp before settling in Austria — has championed liberal migration policies.
He had told voters during the campaign: “I’ve experienced how Austria rose from the ruins of World War II, caused by the madness of nationalism.”
The ‘madness’ of nationalism.
Why is it ‘madness’ to want to keep Austria Austrian?