The parliamentary elections that soon followed mirrored that result. The Brotherhood won nearly 50 percent of the seats, while al-Nour and the other Salafist parties added another 25 percent — demonstrating that, for all the street noise and media hype, the constituency for Western democracy in Egypt is paltry. This gave the Islamists a hammerlock on the constituent assembly tasked with writing the new constitution. It also prompted the Brothers to renege on their promise not to field a presidential candidate.
Morsi’s victory in the June 2012 election was not a landslide, although given that he got a slightly higher percentage of the vote than Barack Obama did in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, it is amusing to hear hopeful commentators portray his “thin” three-point win — over a Mubarak-regime relic, not a democrat — as a sign of Islamist decline. (Yes, it’s dizzying to hear both that Islamists are moderate democrats and that their occasional setbacks are boons for democracy.) Still, it is worth emphasizing that Islamic supremacism is far more popular in Egypt than is the Brotherhood. The Western media conflate the two, but they are saliently different. The Brothers have successfully marketed themselves globally as the Islamist vanguard. Yet in Egypt, while they have their legions of loyalists, they are widely regarded with contempt, not just by secularists but even by other Islamists.