The Lure of the New Normal

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Dear Friends of Verfassungsblog,

No-one can remain in a constant state of exception, that would be a contradiction in terms. Any emergency that goes on for too long becomes somewhat normal over time. If things refuse to get less terrifying, all we can do is raise our level of terrification, isn’t it? Donald Trump will let a White Supremacists‘ media darling shape his political strategies – but hey: he deserves a chance, right? Austria is weeks away from falling into the hands of the far-right populists, with other European countries lining up behind it – but please, let’s not overreact, maybe we are all just out of touch with what ordinary people think and feel?

One alarm that might have been ringing for just a little too long is the one about Poland, and you have to give it to those guys: they have played the game of normalification masterly. Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU Commission President whom we allegedly have entrusted with a „political mandate“ when we elected the European Parliament, has quietly thrown in the towel in the conflict with the Polish government, with an off-hand remark to a Belgian newspaper, and few people have even taken notice. KIM SCHEPPELE and LAURENT PECH have, though, and they don’t mince words in their analysis.

The Polish government is quick to call their internal opponents „traitors“ – an accusation which can sound at times somewhat bewildering to non-Polish ears. The historical reverberations of the „treason“ topos in Poland are explained by the indefatigable TOMASZ KONCEWICZ and Berkeley historian JOHN CONELLY.

Next Stop: Italy

On the same day as the Austrians elects their new Bundespräsident, on December 4th of 2016 the Italians are called to the ballot to decide whether or not to enact the biggest constitutional reform in the history of the Republic ...

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