December 4, 2016
Shortly after polls in Austria closed, Austrian Freedom Party (FPO) candidate Norbert Hofer conceded defeat to the Green Party establishment candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen. The election was a do-over of the controversial spring result, where Van der Bellen defeated Hofer by a razor thin margin of 13,000 votes and an Austrian court found likely fraud in mail-in ballots gave the systematic pick the numbers needed to win.
This time, however, FPO lost in an unambiguous blowout.
The candidate vying to become Europe’s first freely elected far-right head of state since World War Two conceded defeat in Austria’s presidential election soon after polls closed on Sunday evening.
The result is a blow to populists who had hoped a wave of anti-establishment anger sweeping Western democracies would carry Norbert Hofer to power after Britain’s Brexit referendum and Americans’ election of Donald Trump as president.
Hofer, of the anti-immigration and anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO), conceded he had been soundly beaten by former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen.
“I am infinitely sad that it didn’t work out,” Hofer said in a posting on his Facebook page less than an hour after polls closed and the first projections were broadcast.
Austria’s president traditionally has a largely ceremonial role. But the election, a re-run of a May vote that was overturned due to counting irregularities, had been seen as another test of populist sentiment in Europe ahead of elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands next year.
Voters may have heeded Van der Bellen’s increasingly strident warnings that Hofer wanted to follow Britain’s lead and pull Austria out of the European Union.
Van der Bellen had a clear lead over Hofer, according to a projection by pollster SORA for broadcaster ORF that included a count of 69 percent of votes. The projection showed Van der Bellen on 53.3 percent and Hofer on 46.7 percent, with a margin of error of 1 percentage point.
At the risk of sounding like a negative nancy, I will posit that all of Europe’s “freedom parties,” along with Marine Le Pen’s Front National which has tried to get on their frequency, are doomed to a similar result. These compromising conservative types, who support market liberalism, keeping the massive numbers of immigrants already within their borders, and spend more time trying to make themselves palatable to Jews rather than confronting them (to the furthest possible extent of the law), simply are not viable in the present political landscape.
In the last few months, Hofer has been watering down his rhetoric to the point of looking remarkably similar to the pre-Trump GOP. Similar political movements throughout the European Union would be wise to look at this experience critically and mitigate the circumstances that allowed the system to retain its power.
Here are three reasons why I believe the FPO collapsed since the initial election.
1) The masses want strong men to lead them, not limpwristed conservative Jew lovers
FPO Leader Heinz-Christian Strache about to lay a wreath over the phony holohoax blood libel against his people at Yad Vashem in Israel.
A poll taken back in 2013 showed that 61% of the Austrian electorate sought a “strong man” to govern their country. Compromise-oriented conservative parties like Heinz Christian Strache’s FPO have been busy trying to “rehabilitate” their image away from the comparative radicalism of Jorg Haider, taking on a new reformist tone. Haider too was flawed, but he was a man who stuck by his words and actions and seldom apologized.
One notable example of this temperamental change was seen in 2012, when Strache posted a political cartoon of a fat banker eating at the expense of a thin man on his internet portal, and was dishonestly accused of being an “anti-Semite” (Jews believe all criticism of finance capitalism and globalism is anti-Semitic, because they’re the ones who are behind it) by then President Heinz Fischer and a myriad of organizations representing Austria’s tiny, iron fisted Jewish community.
Rather than doubling down ala Trump, the FPO has bent over backwards to accommodate the ridiculous and impractical demands of Jews. In the last several months, both Hofer and Strache have laid it on thick, deferring to the Jewish advisor David Lasar in all sorts of ridiculous antics, from hosting an international “Anti-Semitism Conference” to offering themselves up as a potential vehicle for Israeli interests in Europe.
The flimsy and unprincipled nature of the FPO is out of touch with what the white working class of the West wants. They fall for every trap laid for them in the controlled media, rather than just blowing them off and talking to the people directly. The more you placate Jews, the more they demand from you, and in the Austrian experience, this just does not resonate with people.
Last but not least, the FPO struggled with women voters in the May runoff, in contrast to Donald Trump who did comparatively well with females. The reason for this dissonance is that women respond to manly, dominant figures primarily, but will vote based on emotional appeals typically utilized by finely tuned technocratic globalist democrat campaigns in absence of this.
2) FPO Has Walked Back European Union Referendum Talk
As Hofer cast his ballot earlier today, he reminded the public that he “wasn’t a radical.”
Yet, just days before the May presidential election, Hofer spoke candidly about a European Union membership referendum if Brussels continued on its path of centralization or accepted Turkey as a member.
The so-called “Eurosceptics” have in recent months walked back their popular message, probably based on analytics from the fake poll phenomenon that has been consistently getting public mood wrong as of late. Hofer did a 180 and began to speak on making the irredeemable European Union work at any cost, even going as far as condemning Nigel Farage for speaking on the possibility of an “Auxit.”
[Hofer] ruled out calling a referendum on Austria’s membership of the European Union, and called on Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, not to “interfere” in Austrian politics by calling for such a referendum.
“It is not something I want. We need to build a stronger union,” he said, although he made clear he would oppose Turkish membership or further moves to centralize the bloc.
“I would ask Mr Farage not to interfere in internal Austrian affairs,” he said.
Mr Farage said on Friday that Mr Hofer would call for a Brexit style referendum on Austria’s EU membership should he win.
Opinion polls in the run up to today’s election showed the FPO winning or statistically tied with Van der Bellen, which the results certainly do not show. It is possible that establishment figures doctored these polls to encourage the FPO to continue “moderating” their positions on issues like immigration and the European Union, knowing full well it would only slow their momentum and reduce turnout.
3) FPO’s Economic Program Is Not Popular in Austria
As exit polling data trickles out from today’s vote, one surprise emerges: the elderly supported Van der Bellen over Hofer. This goes against trends in other countries, where pensioners often vote for patriotic and anti-immigration parties, often in overwhelming numbers as in the case of Donald Trump.
While Strache’s reforms at the helm of FPO have made it more economically populist, its reputation as a neo-liberal party has continued to haunt it. Austria has one of the highest unemployment rates in the European Union, and FPO’s experience after being included in a 1999 coalition government besides conservatives, where pensions were opened up to predation by international Jewish bankers and public services were privatized have made them a difficult sell.
Hofer has stated publicly that Margaret Thatcher’s Britain is the economic template he hopes to apply to Austria. The problem is Thatcherism and other neo-con type of economic dogmas are antithetical to nationalism in the long run, and highly unpopular in a weak economy that’s already been there and done that and doesn’t want it. The FPO won the working class vote in spite of its economic platform, not because of it, and failed to compel the elderly who will not live to see 2050 when Austrian children will be a minority, but do not want to risk cuts to the services they rely on in the here and now.
Hofer simply did not do enough to rid himself of the Thatcherist stigma. Other parties in Europe should learn from this failure by playing to their new demographic (working people, the elderly).
The little guy is looking for a leader who is willing to at least discipline capital – as Trump has vowed to do and already to some extent has with the Carrier deal – rather than cede to it.