Friday, March 17, 2017

Duch voters reject white nationalist extremists (mark Sumner) · Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 10:55 pm

As more results come in, it's clear that Dutch voters have rejected the anti-Muslim rhetoric of Geert Wilders. Instead voters will return Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy to power. Rutte will be forced to form a new coalition, as the center-left Labor Party was all but eliminated — punished by liberal voters who felt it had compromised its position. But while other centrist parties made some gains, they weren't the biggest winners.

The center-left Green-Left party, led by Jesse Klaver, a 30-year-old upstart who embraced Barack Obama-style campaign tactics, also appeared to do well, potentially quadrupling its seats.

Despite big, ugly talk from Wilders, Dutch voters maintained their nation's traditions of openness and acceptance. And in rejecting the hateful nationalist rhetoric, they may have also drawn a line that will make it harder for Wilders’ equivalents elsewhere in Europe.

Wilders’s showing will probably slow the momentum of French anti-immigrant leader Marine Le Pen, who, if she captures her nation’s presidency in May, would try to lead France out of the E.U., shattering the bloc in the process. German leaders also face a challenge as the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party stands to capture seats in Parliament.

One thing that may have contributed to the white nationalist defeat — Donald Trump. The embarrassing chaos surrounding Trump’s first two months hasn't exactly made nationalism look like a winning team. Trump's the poster boy for incompetence, confusion, and international disdain.

In an odd way, Donald Trump may end up being the man who stopped the tide of nationalism around the world … by providing a giant cautionary tale.


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