The Alt-Right has made electoral history in Austria:
Norbert Hofer, the candidate for Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), won 36.4 per cent of the vote, and will face an independent candidate in the final vote next month.
It was the Freedom Party’s best result in a national election and comes after a campaign that focused on the impact of the migrant crisis…
Hofer, who has run an anti-immigrant and anti-Europe campaign will now go head-to-head with environmentalist and pro-refugee Alexander van der Bellen on May 22 for the president post, which is largely a ceremonial role.
The result, if confirmed in the next round, means that for the first time since 1945, Austria will not have a president backed by either the left leaning SPÖ or the conservative ÖVP…
Showing the far right’s growing confidence in Europe, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, hailed a “beautiful result”, writing on Twitter: “Bravo to the Austrian people”
Meanwhile, The Organizer appears anxious over such developments:
Hanover (Germany) (AFP) – US President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for European unity in the face of rising populism and scepticism Monday, warning this was a “defining moment” for the continent.
“A strong and united Europe is a necessity for the world,” Obama said in the German city of Hanover, in a landmark speech that carried the tone of a blunt challenge to friends.
Visiting a region reeling from a migration crisis, economic stagnation and facing the prospect of Britain abandoning the European Union, Obama warned that “progress is not inevitable”.
Contrasting the prosperity of Europe today with the wars and hardship of the last century, Obama called on Europeans reject the “us-versus-them” politics that has fuelled the rise of the far right in countries from Poland to France.
“Perhaps you need an outsider, somebody who is not European, to remind you of the magnitude of what you have achieved,” he said, a day after the anti-immigration far-right triumphed in a presidential vote in Austria…
He lobbed the obligatory “nationalism = Holocaust” meme, the favorite trope of the Left:
[Obama] also recalled the devastating consequences of “intolerance and extreme nationalism” that drenched Europe in blood during the 20th century.
“In the last century, just twice in 30 years, the forces of empire and intolerance and extreme nationalism consumed this continent and cities like this one were largely reduced to rubble,” Obama said.
“Tens of millions of men and women and children were killed.”
Pathological altruism is the only solution:
While admitting there could be frustrations with European institutions, he argued that “turning inward” was not the answer to Europe’s problems.
As rightwing populism gains ground in parts of the continent in response to growing Islamic radicalism, he urged Europe to remain open.
“I want you to remember that our countries are stronger, they’re more secure and more successful when we integrate people of all backgrounds and faiths, and make them feel as one. And that includes our fellow citizens who are Muslim,” he said.
Obama even takes a page from Der Trumpenfuhrer’s campaign:
In a mark of that frustration, Obama bluntly told his audience that Europe needs to do more to shoulder the collective security burden.
“Europe has sometimes been complacent about its own defence,” Obama said, repeating a long-standing call for NATO allies to increase defence spending to at least two percent of economic output.
More than half a century after the end of World War II, much of the continent, including economic power Germany, remains firmly under the umbrella of security provided by the United States.
Whether it’s illegal immigration, trade, or our subsidization of NATO, it’s funny how Trump’s key campaign issues get picked up by others.