POLITICS

The Shifting Norms that Threaten Our Democracy

What is behind the shift in norms around racism and the politics of immigration in recent decades? Although many are focused on the daily onslaught against norms under the current US president, from a broader perspective, norms around issues of race and the politics of immigration have clearly shifted since I began studying the radical right in the mid-1990s. In 1999, when Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party came in second place in the Austrian legislative election, the other 14 EU countries at the time considered his positions on immigration and the EU to be beyond the pale. Although they could not change the outcome of the vote, they took measures to indicate their stand on these issues, including passing the Racial Equality Directive (RED) in 2000, as a show of support for anti-discrimination policy.