Breitbart laments close loss of neo-Nazi presidential candidate in Austria

Voters in Austria narrowly elected Green Party candidate Alexander van der Bellen after mail-in ballots pushed him over the top to a narrow 50.2 – 49.8 victory.

van der Bellen’s opponent, Norbert Hofer, held a narrow lead after in-person ballots were counted in an instant runoff on Sunday.

The fact that Hofer held any lead at all was alarming, given that he leads the far-right Freedom Party. Hofer had run on an anti-European Union (and, by extension, pro-Putin) platform, making immigration restrictions from Muslim-majority countries one of his signature issues. He has also called for repatriating the Italian territory of South Tyrol, which used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Nationalist calls for the repatriation of land to Austria squares with the Freedom Party’s roots. The party was founded in 1956 by Anton Reinthaller, a former Nazi Minister of Agriculture and SS officer, as a consolidation of hyper-nationalist parties that had formed following World War II.

Hofer is very much a political figure in the mold of Reinthaller. As Business Insider notes, had Hofer won he would have been the first far-right European head of state since Francisco Franco in Spain. And while Austria’s president is largely a figurehead, Hofer had promised to push the limits of his powers in office, attending EU meetings and throwing a wrench in trade deals that had been worked out elsewhere in the government. In short, his election would have been significant and jarring for the European political landscape.

The combination of taking a hard line on immigration — which in Europe is shorthand for scaremongering about refugees from majority-Muslim countries — and replacing skepticism of Putin with skepticism of trade deals had led Hofer to be dubbed the Donald Trump of Austria. That association may explain why Breitbart’s homepage this morning looked like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 11.25.36 AM

That’s right: Breitbart is very sad that the pro-Putin candidate from the party founded by an SS officer lost, because that candidate hates Arab Muslims as much as Donald Trump does. In their view, van der Bellen is the radical one, and it’s a shame that he eked out the win…because he’s nicer to brown people than the neo-Nazi candidate. Or something.

And they wonder why Facebook doesn’t consider them a legitimate news source.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • gibson george

    Lol. But they do not have populous extreme right wing racist movements like they have in America and Europe. Why ?

  • Bill_Perdue

    They have far right governments, sponsored in most cases by the US.
    The governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Afghanistan and what little government there is in Libya after the US/NATO attacks and the administrators of the zionist colony in Palestine are examples.
    Iran is an example of a non US sponsored islamist right wint government.

  • gibson george

    When is Africa and the Moslem countries going to have far right candidates in power as well. Why only Europe and America.

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  • Bill_Perdue

    What on earth are you taliking about? Counterpunch? Take a look. http://www.counterpunch.org/

  • navyvet50

    Good source…NOT…America’s best political newsletter’ also regularly publishes ‘independent investigative journalism’ by a wide variety of white supremacists, including Paul Craig Roberts, editor of the white nationalist website VDare, Ron Paul (who poses for photo ops with neo-Nazis and warns of ‘race war’), and Alison Weir, holocaust denier Israel Shamir, and that perennial saboteur of the Palestinian solidarity movement, Gilad Atzmon, author of the racist The Wandering Who.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The reference shouldn’t be to Russia, but to capitalist Russia. The rich always play dirty. EU foreign poicy isn’t incompetent, it’s neocolonialist and aggressive, much like the US.

  • quax

    If it makes you feel better, Russia plays dirty as well. And yes, the EU foreign policy is unfortunately mostly incompetent.

  • quax

    At least they are consistent.

  • Blogvader

    Wow.

    They really, really had to spin that one to avoid the guy’s Neo-Nazi ball-licking: “Anti-Mass-Migration Populist”.

  • Bill_Perdue

    “You’re not paranoid if you think the world feels more unstable — it is. There’s a dangerous confluence of political, economic, and military phenomena that is producing a very hazardous international situation. … At the center of each maelstrom is the U.S. Government, and instead of acting as a promoter of peace and stability the Obama administration has been a catalyst of confrontation and war. …An especially combustible zone is the Ukraine, where the U.S. is engaged in what is becoming a full-fledged proxy war with Russia. ”The Obama administration’s decisive role in the Ukrainian conflict has received only a sliver of space from the U.S. media, even after an audio of Obama’s Under Secretary of State was leaked, exposing the U.S.’ direct leadership role in a coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected government.”

    Obama is following in the footsteps of every American regime since the end of WW Two which saw Reagan visit an SS graveyard and memorial and the Truman and Eisenhower regimes using ex Nazis in their spy rings. Fascism is growing in the NATO region of Western and Central Europe. Large ultraright and neo-Nazi Islamophobic parties offer a real threat in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Greece. Nowhere are they effectively challenged by fake leftists in social democrat parties like the Sozialistische Partei Österreichs, the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) or the Parti Socialiste because they’re pro-capitalist parties. Neither they or the old line capitalist parties have anything real to offer in the fight against fascism.

  • iamlegion

    Well, if he can’t pull 50% of the vote, one wonders about Breitbart’s definition of “populist”… but nobody has ever accused Breitbart’s crew of being accurate. Or competent. Or literate.

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