On March 5, 2023, Estonia held parliamentary elections which saw a victory for the ruling Estonian Reform Party led by incumbent Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, as well as an increase in its number of parliamentary seats in the Riigikogu, the country’s unicameral legislative body, and share of the popular vote. I wouldn’t ordinarily comment on Estonian electoral politics, both because of my distance from Estonia and my general jadedness with electoral politics, but this election was interesting for two important reasons.
Firstly, the runner-up party, the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) led by Martin Helme, won the second-highest number of parliamentary seats, and is now probably the largest parliamentary party anywhere in the world that can reasonably be called white identitarian. Second, despite coming in second, the EKRE saw a decrease in both its share of the popular vote and parliamentary seats, for reasons which I consider completely avoidable, but also part of a larger and unfortunate trend in white identitarian and Right-wing politics in Europe.
But let’s get our facts straight. The Estonian Reform Party, which is best described as liberal, managed to increase its plurality by three seats, while the EKRE, which had been the third-largest party in Estonia since 2019, managed to lose two seats, ending up with 17. While the EKRE has lodged complaints about election irregularities, especially related to the new electronic voting process, and while this is certainly possible, some Estonian nationalist voices have pointed out that the EKRE was mostly the architect of its own defeat, considering Kaja Kallas’ weak initial position and the rising tide of nationalism in Estonia in the wake of the Russo-Ukrainian War’s escalation. As my friend, Estonian nationalist and Counter-Currents contributor James A., put it:
. . . the election in Estonia is basically over, the final votes are still being counted but the results are basically in. EKRE essentially got crushed by Reform. In the 2019 elections EKRE ran on opposing mass immigration, EU skepticism, Nationalism, identity, and pro-family values. They gained 12 seats and rose to become, almost overnight, Estonia’s 3rd largest political party.
Since February 24, 2022, the retarded nerds known as the Helme family have been counter-signalling Estonia’s support for Ukraine far more than their opponents. While all of Eastern Europe, from the Nationalist community to even the liberals (By Eastern European standards) have been united with Ukraine against the Antifa Kremlin and their imperialism, the Helmes have been infected by the Western/Anglo “I oppose the current thing” mindset.
As a result, they got crushed in this election, and have lost several seats as of me writing this. Remember, the polls predicted EKRE GAINS and potentially becoming the 2nd largest party in Estonia. Instead, they have lost seats and have only 1 more seat than the 4th largest party. For a party that was polled to make gains that’s a major failure.
There has been speculation as to why Martin Helme decided it would be a good idea to start opposing aid to Ukraine from a position of Estonian nationalism. While it is true that countries should always look to their own defense first, it isn’t difficult to see how arming Ukraine and otherwise enabling it to dismantle the Russian war machine and possibly even inflict enough damage on Russia to the point where its disintegration might become possible would strengthen Estonia’s security. The best explanation I’ve seen is that the EKRE leadership hoped to attract the votes of Estonia’s Russian minority who, obviously, do not want to see Ukraine armed and supported.
Unless evidence emerges of election shenanigans, like James I assume that Helme’s comments alienated the EKRE’s support base. If it is true, it will not be the first time that a European nationalist party has lost its core constituency because it changed its rhetoric in order to win votes from a segment of the population it mistakenly believes it can win over. When the results from the Estonian election came in, I was reminded of the tragic rise and fall of Hungary’s Jobbik, a once far-Right parliamentary party that at one point was the second-largest party in the county. Its shift to the political center, however, ended up turning it into a liberal party — and in last year’s election, it fell from being the main opposition party to fourth place. While there are many reasons for Jobbik’s transformation (read about it here), the central one is the party’s attempt to attract centrist and Leftist voters in the hope that this would give it the numbers needed to challenge Hungary’s ruling party, Viktor Orbán’s center-Right Fidesz.
Since Jobbik began its leftward shift, however, we’ve seen the rise of László Toroczkai’s Mi Hazánk party, which since its founding in 2018 has become the voice of the radical Right for Hungarians, and is currently the most popular party among the youth. Mi Hazánk formed as an alternative for Jobbik’s original core Right-wing and nationalist supporters and has drawn their votes away from the latter. In effect, Jobbik traded the enthusiastic “yes” of nationalists who were already supporting it as a Right-wing alternative to Fidesz for a perfidious “maybe” from liberals who see them merely as temporarily useful to break Fidesz’s hegemony over Hungarian politics.
Unless Estonia’s EKRE corrects its course, we may see a similar progression. Indeed, the 2023 Estonian general election may eventually be seen as the beginning of the end for the EKRE.
Why do Right-wing, nationalist, and national populist parties do this? Over the course of its existence, a nationalist party may pick up momentum and grow rapidly. This brings media attention, political clout, resources, and the support of new members and sympathizers. At this stage, energy and hope are both very high and everyone assumes that the party will keep on growing until it attains a majority and takes power. Eventually, however, it will hit a plateau — for nationalist parties, this is usually somewhere between 20 and 30% of the voting public. I suspect that this is the limit of the percentage of the population that can be persuaded to think and act, if only slightly, outside the parameters prescribed by the Nuremberg moral paradigm; i.e., this is the approximate percentage of voters who can be persuaded to try identity politics on for size in a cultural climate that is dominated by the opposition and therefore hostile to nationalism.
If any other type of political party could attain this level of support, it would probably become the ruling party, or at least a kingmaker. But in the case of nationalist parties, since other parties refuse to work with them and since they themselves often refuse to work with those parties which they (correctly) perceive to be problematic and untrustworthy, they find it difficult to form coalitions in order to participate in coalition governments. Even if a nationalist party becomes the single largest one in a particular country’s parliament, in many cases all the other parties exclude it, making it impossible for the nationalists to rule as part of a coalition. They may sometimes attain local power and gain valuable executive positions at the local level, but this is rare. Discontent tends to be widely dispersed across a society and better suited for broad, nationwide elections rather than local ones. This means that the party must of necessity attain a minimum of 50% plus one additional legislator for it to even begin implementing its program in any way. Otherwise, all such a party can really do is bark very loudly in parliament and try to disrupt the other parties — something that can backfire spectacularly, such as when Jobbik attempted to torpedo Fidesz’s immigration reforms as mentioned in the article linked above. For this and other reasons, the leadership of such a party are in danger of attaining a half plus one or bust mentality, where they see no price as being too great to attain executive power.
This mad rush ends up causing the party to start looking for votes in all the wrong places. Having picked up the low-hanging fruit — disaffected conservatives, inchoate nationalists, the losers of globalization (for lack of a better term), the Euroskeptics, and libertarians intelligent enough not to support immigration, the party then turns to the harder-to-reach voters, such as liberals who are racist even as they spout anti-nationalist rhetoric, “based” ethnic minorities, sensible centrist folk who just want society to run smoothly, and groups whose interests may in some vague way overlap with nationalism (such as the industrial working class). In doing so, the party shifts its rhetoric and may also change its aesthetic, as for example by dropping its militant appearance or toning down its nationalism. While this may indeed net them some new voters, it usually costs them far more of their previous supporters, and perhaps even key party personnel. This may be because the party mistakenly assumes that someone who votes for them once will do so in perpetuity. In fact, however, the supporters of nationalist parties tend in particular to not be as slavish and bovine as the supporters of liberal parties.
While it may indeed be the case that a nationalist party has limited options unless it can win power, it is also true that getting the message out and deconstructing the enemy’s moral and political framework can also lead to growth. The process of persuading people to take your position rather than shifting your position to accommodate them is slow, but is permanent. Besides which a nationalist party cannot win elections alone; it needs friendly media and supportive academic and social organizations, ranging from intellectual journals and policy institutes to nationalist gyms and martial arts clubs –and perhaps even knitting circles, homemaking advisories, and the rudiments of a mutual aid society for families. Such an approach is less glamorous and may take many years to bring about tangible results. Moreover, the types of people who tend to lead political parties often do so because they see themselves as the saviors of their nation and prefer a rapid and triumphal rise to power. Thus, they may be impatient and want to win while they’re still young and energetic — or because they believe that unless victory is achieved quickly, the nation will be doomed.
I want to be charitable to the EKRE and assume they can still be pulled back from the precipice. They’ve only just begun to bleed support and are not likely to splinter unless the leadership goes all in on its newly-found love affair with Estonia’s Russian minority. Any victory for nationalists is inspiring and brings us a step closer to our ultimate goal of securing the existence of our people and a future for white children everywhere. If EKRE members are reading this, I implore them to take what I’ve written under consideration and steer their party clear of the path toward rapid electoral success at all costs. Sometimes it is better to take the slower path to growth. It is safer and less glamorous, but it is nearly impossible for our enemy to stop.
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