Democratic politics need drama. Elections are a form of therapy session in which voters are confronted with their worst fears – a new war, demographic collapse, economic crisis, environmental horror – but become convinced they have the power to avert the devastation. “As the election approaches,” Alexis de Tocqueville observed during his travels across the US in the early 19th century, “intrigue becomes more active and agitation lively and more widespread. The entire nation falls into a feverish state … As soon as fortune has pronounced … everything becomes calm, and the river, one moment overflowed, returns peacefully to its bed.”If Tocqueville is right, then in front of our eyes the European Union is turning into a true democracy. Traditionally uneventful and boring, European parliament elections are for the first time producing drama usually reserved for the national stage. With two months to go before the vote, a majority of Europeans share a sense that something important will happen, and that a special place in hell will be reserved for those Europeans who don’t bother to vote. But who will have benefited once the election campaign is over?
Why Viktor Orbán and his allies won’t win the EU elections