Source: The Atlantic, March 16
…It’s too soon to declare the populist wave dead, but with Wilders’s stumble, it’s worth at least raising the question of whether Trump’s victory may have been the high-water mark for the right-wing populist movement…. Wilders dropped by the 2016 Republican National Convention, where Trump was formally nominated, even as many top Republicans stayed away. He contributes to Breitbart, the court organ of the Trump administration. Even his campaign slogan was a variation on Trump’s.
But as the Dutch campaign ramped up, Wilders grew much more cautious about invoking the U.S. president. This was no coincidence: by mid-February, when the race in the Netherlands began, Trump had been in office for several weeks, and Dutch voters had gotten a chance to observe him as president. They didn’t like what they saw. “It’s a hard start for Wilders – he’s losing momentum, and this is partly because of Trump,” pollster Gijs Rademaker told The Wall Street Journal. Among poll respondents who had backed the PVV in December but no longer did by February, 60 percent thought Trump was doing a bad job.
Wilders’s caginess about Trump doesn’t seem to have saved him; although PVV gained seats on Wednesday, it fell short of expectations, as well as his own prediction of a surprisingly strong result.
And if Wilders is in fact a victim of Trump backlash in Europe, he might not be the last. While immediate reactions tend to be overly rash, Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal noted that immediately after preliminary results came in from the Netherlands, betting markets became much more bearish on the electoral chances of Marine Le Pen, the French presidential candidate who is aligned with Wilders, and who consciously tried to associate herself with Trump.