Monday, June 17, 2024

How Europe’s young voters flocked to the hard-Right

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Many young voters say mainstream parties are not tuned in to their concerns – at worst hardly speaking their language.

That is an opportunity that has been successfully exploited by the AfD and the RN. Their weapon of choice was Tiktok, the video-sharing app dominated by Gen Z.

All Mr Bardella’s official trips are accompanied by a team responsible for feeding his Instagram and TikTok accounts, which are followed by 1.5 million and 615,000 subscribers, respectively.

Analysts say he has aped the style of a social network influencer, rather than that of the head of a political party.

“We’ve invested a lot in social networks. It’s a way of talking to young people. In this election, I’m trying to politicise young people,” Mr Bardella told France Inter last week.

His tailored suits (from the Dutch brand Suit Supply, known for its affordable prices) are just hugging enough to show off his form sculpted from regular gym sessions. Aides admit the politician with the clean-cut boy-next-door image is “obsessive” about his appearance and has been known to throw a tantrum if a shirt collar is out of place.

“There is a personality cult around Bardella on social media. He’s everywhere and comes across as charming, charismatic, handsome, like a tele-reality star,” said Lola, 18, a Left-leaning Parisian who confessed that Mr Bardella was streets ahead in the social media space.

“Of course, his young, handsome side and his Tiktok make me laugh, but that’s not why I voted for him either,” said Sarah, 25, a native of Seine-Saint-Denis and of Moroccan origin.

“He says things in no uncertain terms. He talks about security and immigration.”

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