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Fatal Attraction

April 1, 2019 by

The success of political leaders such as Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and Dutch examples such as Pim Fortuyn and Thierry Baudet can be explained by two laws of attraction.

The first law of attraction is that people believe in leaders who believe in themselves. Trump, Baudet and Macron have in common that they radiate self-confidence. Voters don’t seem to care if the self-confidence comes from a healthy or an inflated ego, if narcism plays a role, if it is checked by countervailing powers, etc. Self-confidence attracts.

The second law of attraction is that people follow a leader who radiates the ability to lead them into an uncertain future, who has a plan. To provide a narrative about the future, the decisiveness to say ‘yes’ to some developments and ‘no’ to others, to be a beacon of hope, is the other force of attraction. It doesn’t matter if the vision of the future is consistent or even if it makes sense, as long as the word is spread with the same level of self-confidence as in the first law.

Hundreds of pages have been written in The Netherlands about how Thierry Baudet’s political program does or does not explain the recent, huge victory of Forum for Democracy. It doesn’t. His success is independent of the content of his party program. It is the self-confidence that Mr. Baudet exudes and his ability to convince people about his narrative that are decisive.