The Dutch Election Result — The Role of Trump

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.

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5 responses to “The Dutch Election Result — The Role of Trump

  1. Interesting article.
    But…”had gotten a chance..”
    Grammar lessons from Trump?

  2. Anyone who invokes Trumpism as a driving force – and that includes Pauline Hanson in Australia plus a portion of the Australian conservative right – must be very worried.
    Trump lied, lied and lied again to win votes, but after being elected he showed his true colors with his latest move, transferring vast wealth from the US most needy to the US most greedy just the latest and greatest of his betrayals.
    It’s not simply the acolytes questioning their previously fervent admiration for the man – it’s their realisation that the majority of the public have seen and judged him as loopy and untrustworthy.
    With this realisation comes a lesson: Anyone citing TRump as a reason to vote for them has a political death wish.

  3. Irony. Trump may save EU from its (many assumed) fatal flaws.

  4. a LOT of wishful thinking going on here. The popular anger against elites is not going away, and the masses are keen to support anyone who focuses their anger. If it’s not a lying cheating misogynist American – and many who voted for him knew very well who he was and is (and his base still supports him) – it will be someone else. Wilders is not an attractive person – no people skills, for example – but someone else may come along to promise simple answers to complex problems, and that person will be as attractive as the fundamentalist regious leaders (of more than one religion) who also offer simple ways to …. something.

    No Republican member of Congress has yet gone so far in doubting Trump to vote against him, with a couple of insufficient votes against the egregious Betsy Devos as exceptions. McCain huffs and puffs but never puts his vote, much less his money, where his mouth is. So … Trump will be with us for a while, I fear.

    People in other countries will see through him faster (most people outside the US have never understood the US worship of St Ronald either), but that does not change the conditions that made/make him appeal to some voters.

    • America may be headed toward a civil war of some fashion and we are inching closer to nuclear war with North Korea. Nonetheless, the perception of Trump abroad and Scottish referendum implications will give voters in rest of EU pause. Traditional parties on Centre Right will benefit from fears on instability from the radical right. Old line Social Democrats, like those in the Netherlands, may suffer at the hands of the Greens, if the Greens do a better job of portraying themselves as crusading outsiders. Europe may be unsettled by immigration and job stagnation, but fear the instability they see emerging in US.
      Further, U.S. Republicans are peeling away from the President. Thursday’s Health Care vote will be telling.

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