Elections Are Always Exclusively Decided Manipulating Emotions
After the Austrian Constitutional Court has ruled the May presidential election as invalid, new elections will take place in October. Two factors seem to favor van der Bellen (The Green Party) over Norbert Hofer (Freedom Party of Austria) in the re-run.
First, Brexit has shown European elites that populists cannot be combated with rational arguments alone. Britain´s case indicates that established parties need to communicate a unified emotional message to counteract the polemic of populist parties.
Second, the ruling of the Constitutional Court itself shows that the “system” is open for criticism. The right-wing populists will have a hard time conveying their narrative of a “rigged system” in favor of the liberal elites.
Regardless of the result, the re-election and the Brexit demonstrate the consequences of the rise of right-wing populism: a highly polarized society and election campaigns, which almost always are exclusively decided by the manipulation of emotions.
Read the full OpEd in German on The Huffington Post.
Photo credit: Christian Michelides