The End of Negative Election Campaigns in Sight?

Negative Election Campaign #1: USA

The election campaign, sorry, the election battle for the US President and the impressions for the Europeans may have been distorted on their way over the Atlantic but still one impression remains clear for me: I have never observed an election campaign which was so characterized by negative statements against the respective opponent to the extent that this campaign was.

Even the respective camps do not appear to believe in the merits of their own candidate. In the knowledge that they have selected extraordinarily unpopular candidates with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it seems that the Democrats and Republicans have been motivated by one objective in the election: they support Clinton or Trump not so that their own candidate becomes President but rather in order to prevent the other from moving into the White House.

The candidates seem to be aware of this. One could almost believe that Hillary and Donald are sacrificing themselves to save the USA from having their opponent as President. This election campaign has thus become a parody of a democratic election campaign in which the best of their party should win votes with the best concepts and policy ideas instead of throwing e-mails and sex scandals at each other.

The final abysses are Donald Trump’s disclosure in his sex scandals and the revelations about Hillary Clinton’s pre-election campaign.

I do not reproach the Democrats for the fact that Donald Trump’s sex stories became public, to the extent that they are true.

It appears that Trump reveals his immature character, hinted at in all his appearances, more clearly in the sex scandals.

However, anyone for whom the feministic habitus is suspect should be even more suspicious of characters like Donald Trump. It is precisely the secret groper, the living room machos and the inhibited perpetrators among men who, on the political and social level, want to compensate with an evident “mother” cult and male inequalities.

Here and now, such men are primarily to blame for the situation for men, in the second place, the feminists.

That Donald Trump thought of nothing better than to attack Bill Clinton with accusations similar to those made against him has increasingly allowed the election campaign to drift into absurdity and shows that Donald Trump does not flinch at unproven sexual accusations against other men.

On the other hand, in the case of Hillary, one aspect has emerged which has given me food for thought. No, not the worn-out e-mail affair, which Trump would preferably spray on her gravestone, the alleged influence of the pre-election campaign of the Democrats is the true, great scandal.

With melancholy, I therefore look back at US election campaigns which offered much more by comparison. In election campaigns like Barack Obama against Mitt Romney we witnessed such an exciting duel between two professionals because both managed not to intimidate the opposing camp. Is my memory fuzzy or was the dirty washing not even brought out?

Negative Election Campaign #2: Austria

One can only hope that Van der Bellen and Hofer will not be influenced by the US election and once again present the other as the beginning of Austria’s downfall.

This time, Norbert Hofer should stop trying to persuade the voters that Alexander Van der Bellen would sign the TTIP agreement alone. For one thing, he couldn’t and secondly, we see from CETA that the criticism raised by the Europeans can no longer be ignored even in the case of this comparably harmless agreement. Norbert Hofer should rather re-focus on his strengths and skillfully open up to any camp which is outwith the FPÖ.

Alexander Van der Bellen’s posters, which want to convey that only he can save the reputation of Austria, are a dig at Norbert Hofer. Our friend in the EU states may not yet like Norbert Hofer. But they too will be friendly enough when they want something form Austria and, therefore, the VdB camp can save itself this dig. Alexander Van der Bellen’s portrayal as an „Alm-Öhi“ (traditional grandfather from the country) may be amusing but still pleasant. His newly discovered rustic nature may not come across so well but the attempt itself is an important step: an urban intellectual is making an effort for people who he previously could not reach.

There is possibly something positive about the election re-run: I won’t give up hope that the parties and their candidates focus on their strengths and merits in order to win the electorate and for this reason to work on their strengths instead of looking for the weaknesses of their Opponent.

Translation into English: Donna Stockenhuber

Credits

Image Title Author License
four-presidents Patryk Kopaczynski CC BY-SA 4.0