The elections in the Netherlands have not brought Geert Wilders and his party to power, as we hoped they would.
But his campaign, chiefly concerned with saving his country from Islamization, has had a permanent effect on Dutch and European politics.
In order to hold on to power, Mark Rutte – then and now again prime minister – had to display a sudden resolve in dealing with the Muslim threat … well that’s not exactly how it was described, but anyway with the Turks in the Netherlands, and Turkey itself.
Robert Mackey wrote at The Intercept on the day before the election:
Pre-election polls in the Netherlands, one day before voters choose a new parliament, suggest that Prime Minister Mark Rutte could be returned to office as the head of the country’s largest party, boosted by a wave of approval for his feud with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Rutte, who is trying to stave off a challenge from the virulently anti-Muslim xenophobe Geert Wilders, provoked fury from the Turkish government on Saturday by blocking Turkey’s foreign minister from the country. The foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, had planned to rally expatriate Turks in Rotterdam, ahead of an upcoming referendum in Turkey that would alter the Turkish constitution to give the office of the presidency more power.
Geert Wilders is not a “xenophobe”. That is the nasty name his enemies call him, they being the ruling elite of the Netherlands and the other European countries who have brought hordes of hostile Muslims into Europe to be a criminal threat and a financial drain. He is “anti-Muslim” in the sense that he does not want that suicidal policy to continue. (“Virulently” is thrown in to make Wilders, his Party, and his policies seem utterly disgusting and terrifying. It implies, “I, the politically correct journalist writing this piece, hate Geert Wilders and all he stands for.”)
After Rutte barred the foreign minister, and then expelled another Turkish minister who arrived in Rotterdam by car without permission, Erdogan first compared the Dutch to Nazis and then blamed them for the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.
That massacre was, in fact, carried out by Bosnian Serb forces who overran the town, but a lightly-armed battalion of Dutch peacekeepers did fail to prevent the slaughter.
Images of the Dutch police using water cannon and dogs to disperse protests by Erdogan supporters in Rotterdam angered Turkish officials, but appeared to please the tabloid press and its readers in the Netherlands.
The Dutch pollster Maurice de Hond reported that 86 percent of those surveyed supported Rutte’s handling of the crisis, including an identical number of Wilders supporters.
As tensions between the two countries continued to escalate, members of President Erdogan’s ruling party beat a Norwegian journalist in Istanbul they mistook for a Dutch national, and Prime Minister Rutte told the BBC the Turkish leader’s comments were “more and more hysterical by the day”.
Wilders, a former member of Rutte’s center-right VVD party [Party for Freedom and Democracy] who now campaigns almost exclusively on a hatred of Islam — and praised Donald Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States — helped to stoke anti-Turkish sentiment last week, when he appeared outside the Turkish embassy in The Hague, surrounded by his bodyguards, and holding a banner that read: “Stay Away — This Is Our Country”.
Islam is a totalitarian, supremacist ideology. Everyone should hate it. And the reason Geert Wilders has those bodyguards – which the writer seems to be mocking him for, as if he were guilty of paranoia or cowardice – is that his life has been seriously threatened by you-can-guess-whom.
After Rutte’s crackdown on Erdogan supporters seemed to increase his popularity, Wilders tried to up the ante, calling for the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands to be expelled along with his entire staff.
In response, Rutte told Wilders during a televised debate on Monday night that there was “a difference between tweeting from a couch and leading the country”. Wilders’ desire to escalate the confrontation even further, Rutte said, showed that he was not fit to lead the country.
In polling conducted after the start of the crisis, Rutte’s center-right party, the VVD, appeared to gain in projected vote-share, and seemed likely to emerge as the largest party in the next parliament, as the Wilders-led PVV [Party for Freedom] slipped to second in one poll and as far as fifth in another.
Buoyed by this surge in support, Rutte told the BBC correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse on Tuesday that he expected to defeat Wilders and keep the Netherlands from following in the footsteps of Britain and the United States by handing power to anti-immigrant extremists.
Despite a large number of undecided voters on the eve of the election, the Dutch system of proportional representation, combined with a splintering of support among a dozen or more parties, makes it likely that no one party will take more than 20 percent of the overall vote for the 150-seat parliament.
Even if the polls are off, and Wilders does emerge as the leader of the largest party, political analysts put his chances of leading the next coalition government at “the square root of not much” …
Well, now the election has been held.
Daniel Greenfield at Front Page tells “the real story of the Dutch election”:
The truly final results will only be known next week. But the current numbers show that the Freedom Party [led by Geert Wilders] has become the second largest political party in Parliament having gained five seats while the Labor Party has disastrously lost 29 seats.
Labor hit a post-war low. The media is spinning this as Prime Minister Rutte’s defeat of Geert Wilders, but the Labor half of the Second Rutte Cabinet just went up in flames. VVD [led by Mark Rutte] lost quite a few seats, but remains the largest party only because so much of the overall vote had dissipated. Rutte will now have to awkwardly build an unstable coalition out of four parties just to avoid dealing with Wilders.
It is quite possible though that Rutte will be trading the somewhat moderate Labor for GroenLinks [Green Left] which was formed out of, among others, the Communist Party of the Netherlands. When the media cheers that the “moderates” have defeated that terrible extremist, Geert Wilders, what they aren’t mentioning is that the alternative “moderate” coalitions may include the daughter party of the Communist Party.
The election was, in a sense, always rigged. The political system of the Netherlands fragments the vote and then puts it back together in government coalitions. The demonization of Wilders and the PVV was meant to ensure that even if his political party had won a majority, it would not have been allowed to form a government. And so Wilders won more by being in the second spot than by achieving the majority that some polls had predicted, while leaving the PVV unable to form a government.
Despite the attempts to kill it, smear it and destroy it, the Freedom Party continues to rise. And its enemies are being forced to respond to its ideas. The dangerous campaign by Turkey’s Islamist butcher, complete with threats and intimidation, helped Rutte salvage his government. But not his coalition.
The centrist politics that made Rutte’s government possible are imploding. The decline of Rutte’s VVD and Labor is an unmistakable rejection of the status quo. The gains in this election flowed to parties further out on the spectrum on the right and the left. The traditionally moderate Dutch are losing their patience. The polarization is eliminating the center and replacing it with some hard choices. …
Wilders had spoken of a “Patriotic Spring” sweeping the West. After the election, he said that the election results were a thing to be proud of. “The Patriotic Spring continues onward. And it has only begun.”
The media’s celebrations may also be badly misguided for another reason. In the wake of Brexit, the media largely forgot how it had mocked UKIP and [its leader] [Nigel] Farage as failures. But a political party doesn’t always have to win elections to have an impact. Rigging the system against UKIP didn’t keep the UK in the EU. Instead it ultimately had the opposite effect. Keeping Wilders and the PVV down may backfire.
Geert Wilders has fundamentally changed the conversation about Islam and immigration. And the political parties of the Netherlands are increasingly reacting to him. Wilders took an election in a country whose political shifts are generally of little interest to those living outside it and made it a matter of international interest. His courage and common sense have made him into a world leader.
Wilders had the courage to defy the assassins and murderers, the politically correct scolds and the bleeding hearts, the pallid men and women who counsel moderation in all things and at all times, to tell the truth about Islam and Islamic migration. That is what he will go on doing even as he lives under threat. And his courage inspires opponents of the Jihad in the Netherlands and around the world.
This election was an erosion of faith in the establishment and a show of support for Wilders. To become Prime Minister Wilders, the PVV will either need a truly massive victory or a fundamental change in the political environment. Wilders understands this. He knows that the role of his party is to fight a failing establishment. Everything he does builds support and momentum for either of the two roads.
The media is cheering a defeat that never happened. And just as with Brexit, it may find that it had overlooked the seeds of its own destruction in the dirty politics of its own making.
“This patriotic revolution,” Geert Wilders said, “whether today or tomorrow, will take place anyway.”
We fervently hope it will – in the Netherlands and other European countries. If it does not, Europe will be lost to the hideous tyranny of Islam.