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This blog offers an international look at the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Indeed, campaigners worldwide are fascinated with American election campaigns. We observe relentless paid television advertising, straight-forward attack spots, sophisticated targeting and record-breaking fundraising. One cannot – and should not – simply copy paste American campaign techniques. However, campaigners out there in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia can get a lot of inspiration and specific takeaways from the most professional campaign in the world. This is the purpose of this blog.

Right-wing Populism in Europe

After the elections in the Netherlands, there were many articles in the (international) media about right-wing populism in Europe. I find many of those analyses rather biased and one-sided. They all seem to assume that voting for a right-wing party is in itself and by definition something bad and that there is something fundamentally wrong with people who do it. Just for the records, I have so far never worked for a right-wing party. This being said, people are free to vote for whatever legal party they want to vote for. If we as political players, operators and politicians don’t like the way people vote, it’s up to us to make our case more convincingly. Many of the mentioned analyses write about the fears that right-wing voters apparently have, mostly fears of immigrants, other religions or globalization in general. Emotions normally play a role in politicial campaigns, but I nevertheless find this rather arrogant talk. Voters are not afraid, they just happen to disagree with the ruling elite on some key issues. It’s actually that kind of stigmatization and talking down to voters that has helped grow right-wing parties, for example in Austria and France.

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