As we all remember from the primaries, momentum and meeting media expectations are often more important than concrete results in politics. In any other year at any other time in history, the performance of Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Dutch elections tonight would have been regarded as a remarkable success. Yet tonight, it is regarded as a crushing disappointment.
As this is written, the PVV picked up four seats in the legislature and is fighting for second place overall (it is likely to finish third based on projections.) Normally, gaining seats is regarded as a victory. As the PVV is a frankly anti-Islamic party and ran explicitly on the platform of preventing the Islamization of the Netherlands, this shows how once marginal ideas are now at the center of the political conversation.
The traditional parties have also collapsed. The Labour Party in the Netherlands has been utterly gutted, losing votes to the extreme left Green Party. Meanwhile, the center-right conservatives, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), is the "winner" tonight, though they also lost seats and will have to form a new coalition [Dutch Elections: Pyrrhic Victory As Mainstream Party Clings to Power,
by Oliver JJ Lane, Breitbart,
March 15, 2017].
Mark Rutte hailed it as a victory over the "wrong kind of populism" and clearly intends a business as usual type approach towards the EU. Yet Rutte is currently embroiled in a deepening diplomatic crisis with Turkey
. It's a fight the VVD, to some extent, picked by deporting Turkish government officials.
The VVD also campaigned as a anti-multiculturalism party during this election. In a full page newspaper ad, Rutte denounced those who call "ordinary Dutch people racist" and told immigrants, "act normal or go away" [Dutch PM tells immigrants: 'Act Normal Or Go Away,'
by Adam Taylor, Washington Post,
January 23, 2017].
One is hard pressed to imagine Donald Trump telling immigrants "act normal or go away." Indeed, Wilders accused the government of stealing his positions. If the PVV did not exist, no doubt the System's media would be screaming that it is the VVD which has now turned to the "far right."
Wilders and the PVV were leading the polls for months until the last few weeks. What broke Wilders was an attack from both the right and the left. On the right, Wilders had to deal with the VVD saber rattling at Turkey and signaling hard against immigration. On the left, Wilders had to deal with panicked media coverage trying to scare the voters by declaring a PVV victory would mean the end of the EU and a Continent in chaos. Given this environment, the PVV's performance was remarkable.
Of course, now back in power, we can expect the VVD to form a coalition with socialists, immediately get back to business replacing the Dutch population, and goofing off while trying to keeping the EU limping along. Still, the political landscape has fundamentally changed.
The VVD was only able to win by posing as Wilders-lite and pretending to be a nationalist party. Though the media will scream that he is finished, Wilders has a stronger presence in the legislature.
Perhaps more importantly, the Left, as shown by the rise of the Green Party and the "Denk" Party, a party explicitly for Muslim migrants, is now characterized purely by anti-white animus and a lust for population replacement [Live Wire Dutch Elections: Collapse of Mainstream Parties Not Matched By Expected Wilders Surge, Breitbart,
March 15, 2017].
Now that the Muslims the white leftist parties expected to act like obedient pets are abandoning the likes of Labour, the political system is collapsing. The bread-and-butter economic style issues which used to keep parties like Labour in power are falling away.
Unless the PVV's followers simply abandon it out of disappointment, Wilders is still at the center of Dutch politics and is well placed to capitalize if there is a crisis. Meanwhile, the center-left has all but disintegrated. All that is keeping the project limping along are the center-right conservatives who had to act tough in order to win the election, making promises they had no intention of keeping.
They may think they have just saved the System. But the truth is that it is now weaker than ever.