Kotleba and Trump may lead us back to being better citizens

There is no mystery to defeating populism, extremism and stupidity. Democratic systems have built in solutions to people like Kotleba and Trump — elections.

(Source: Sme - Ján Krošlák)

Last year after Marian Kotleba’s party received 8 percent in parliamentary elections I wrote an opinion piece arguing that along with shock and disappointment, we might find opportunity in the result. At the time, Kotleba gained support from 200,000 people, including an alarming 23 percent of first time voters. Young people comprised a good part of these new voters, but many others were people who generally choose not to vote — meaning they were people previously not paying attention to politics who had started to do so.

“[Kotleba] has now governed a region for three years,” I wrote. “Next year he is up for reelection. Voters in Banská Bystrica could go a long way to stopping his momentum. If he had a chance to govern and did a bad job, it is hard for him to argue that he has solutions for Slovakia’s ills.”

In fact, in losing last week’s regional elections in a landslide Kotleba showed he is even better at mobilising opposition than he is new voters. With the election turnout at 40 percent, it was nearly double the 24 percent when Kotleba was elected regional governor in 2013.

A similar pattern emerged in the United States this week, during several key state elections.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Election

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

News digest: Nationwide testing gained contours

The Defence Ministry reveals details on upcoming testing, removal of the STU rector was far from normal. Take a look at our latest news digest.

President Zuzana Čaputová meeting with scientists and experts on epidemiology, infectology and medicine.

Senate voted STU rector down. Police called to the uni as well

The session of the Academic Senate proposed that Rector Fikar be dismissed.

Miroslav Fikar

Dozens of people die of COVID every day. A drop not expected for at least two weeks

People who would otherwise survive may die of other serious diagnoses due to the epidemic.

Illustrative stock photo

Slovakia orders a curfew and embarks on its COVID experiment

High turnout in testing in four northern districts, decision awaited on extending the project to the nation. Prison for a prominent prosecutor and parliament's speaker injured.

Waiting for the results of COVID tests during the pilot phase of the nationwide testing in the town of Nižná in Orava, northern Slovakia.