Hofer’s campaign manager then told the media that “Mr. Van der Bellen appears slow; in fact, he displays a certain exhaustion.” By June, the right-wing blog “Politically Incorrect” published a letter allegedly submitted to Austrian authorities asserting that Van der Bellen was stricken with dementia and cancer. So severe was his case — the fake letter attested — that Van der Bellen required a legal guardian.
.. The health issue was only one of several false rumors and reports — including allegations of Van der Bellen family ties to the Nazis — that his campaign has struggled to put down.
.. Trump-like slogans, meanwhile, have popped up on the Internet, including a hashtag for “Make Austria Great Again” and an Internet meme showing the country’s borders at the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
.. Should Hofer win, he would take over a ceremonial but constitutionally ambiguous job as president that he has contentiously vowed to vest with real power... Austria’s Identitarian activists — a far-right movement supporting ethno-European nationalism. While he has distanced himself from the movement, his party leadership has also cultivated it — sharing, for instance, stories sympathetic to the group on social media... “We want to disrupt the firewall of multicultural societies,” he said. “You did it in the U.S. with Trump. Now we want it here.”