Even in the – otherwise seen as modern, enlightened, progressive, and liberal – Netherlands, freshly elected Tulip fascists like to wear petit bourgeois suits to give appearance of normality, decency, and even insinuating that they are just normal, ordinary people, and of whom are no threat to democracy.
Yet, there are eight reasons why Dutch Tulip fascist Geert Wilders won the election which was held on 25th of November. The election produced a relatively clear election victory for the self-appointed enemy of Islam and savior of the Dutch people.
Still, Wilders’ win stunned many observers of European politics. The traumatization was made even worse by the recent success of a right-wing madman in Argentina. The move to the right by the Dutch also came with a fresh move to the political right during recent elections in neighboring Germany’s state elections, as well as the recent success of Franco-nostalgic and semi-clerical-fascistic right-wing extremists in Spain.
Celebrating his win, Dutch right-wing extremist Geert Wilders raised both arms on election night. Perhaps, as evil heretics might claim that Wilders did this to carefully avoid raising only one arm! No Hitler salute from Mr. Wilders. It maintains the “friendly face of neofascism” as Bertram Myron Gross would say.
In any case, the election in the Netherlands proved recent polls to be correct. Wilders – the unchallenged PVV party Führer – won a meager 23.6% or 37 seats. Yet, it still marked a staggering increase of 20 seats in the Netherland’s 150-member parliament that is elected through proportional representation.
Despite receiving the support of just 24% of the Dutch public, Tulip-fascist Wilders shouted, we are number one … we are the biggest when celebrating his win. Yet, a whopping 75% did not vote for Wilders.
23.6% does not sound that impressive, as it is nowhere close to the magical 50% majority. The Dutch proportional representation system demands that parties negotiate after the election. Therefore, Wilders will have to face the grueling post-election task of attending many meetings with other political parties to prepare a coalition government.
But before all that, here are eight reasons why Geert Wilders and his party – the innocently sounding Partij voor de Vrijheid, Freedom Party or PVV – came out as the strongest political party in the Netherlands:
- Zwevende Kiezer or floating voters;
- there was the Netherlands’ unpopular previous government;
- Dutch right-wing extremists successfully pretending to be socially-minded;
- there also was an advantage of being seen as presenting something new, something radical;
- the media bestowed Wilders as the strong man;
- the opposing candidate Pieter Omtzigt’s publicly demonstrated indecisiveness;
- the desolate state of the Dutch progressives; and finally,
- the support of the right-wing media for Wilders and the issues trumped up by his PVV.
Firstly, the existence of Zwevende Kiezer or floating electorate is a somewhat unique Dutch phenomenon. Yet, this has been happening in Dutch politics for the better part of the last two decades. Zwevende Kiezer is seen to be more like party hopping or party shopping than it is about an actual voter migration from one political party to another. Zwevende Kiezer is caused by, for example, the band-wagon effect – wherein undecided people join the expected winner shortly before the election.
Its idée fixe is, “don’t end up on the wrong team”. This, to some degree is unique to the Netherlands where, at times, up to 60% of voters are still undecided – even a few days before an election. They tend to vote according to what is called the situational mood or short-term Zeitgeist. Often, this prevailsup until election day.
As Nobel Prize winner Kahneman has shown, such choices are often not as rational as the neoliberal fairytales like to make us believe. Election choices are all too often made by irrational elements that shape a voter into ticking either box A or B. In other words, Dutch polling stations are rather similar to a Frittenbude – a take-away diner where you can pick and choose from the menu.
Secondly, and according to recent polls, the Netherlands’ latest and very unpopular government was seen as unconvincing to many voters. The government of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte had extremely poor approval ratings and the election outcome showed this. Support for Rutte’s coalition government has fallen from 77 to just 42 seats.
Thirdly, Wilders’ right-wing extremist PVV presented itself as being strong on social issues. Yet, more important was the fact that the election was fought on two issues favoring right-wing populism:
- global warming: presented as a nightmare for the Dutch economy, and
- Islamic invasion: presented as a nightmare for farmers and migration.
Fourthly, there is the perceived radicalism of Wilders. For 65% of voters, his – I will change things – idea was the most important issue during the election campaign. Wilders skillfully zoom in on exactly that. In other words, Wilders had something that might be called a radicalism advantage. Wilders’ party was also presented as having “the” solution and as being competent.
Fifthly, Wilders is “the” man! and a one-man show where gender played a role. Perhaps like in a contest of “strongman-versus-humanity”. Wilders’ masculine PVV party was more likely chosen by older, white men. They are attracted to Wilders’ rather common right-wing tough guy rhetoric.
Sixthly, Pieter Omtzigt! Omtzigt’s lack of decisiveness and clarity whether he wants to become prime minister has hurt his popularity before the recent election. The Dutch electorate does not appreciate such a procrastinator. Hence, tactical voters shifted to Wilders – seen as a decisive leader.
The seventh point is that there is also the miserable state of the Dutch left. Its social-democratic leader Frans Timmermans, for example, had launched a Green Deal in Europe. This environmental program aims to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.
Yet, Timmermans was not able to get the voters on the left behind him. The Dutch left was too fragmented which prevented the finding of a unifying bond on the progressive side. The defense of democracy against Wilders was too weak.
Finally, Wilders’ right-wing populist rhetoric was amplified in Dutch media coverage. Not unsurprisingly, this coincided with an overall increase of right-wing populist coverage in the Dutch media. In other words, sections of the media pushed Wilders’ agenda. There was also a marked increase of right-wing populist rhetoric focus during the election. It helped Wilders.
Support for Wilders came, for example, through a sharp increase of right-wing populist ideology that was spiced up with anti-elitism. This was strong in the Netherlands’ most popular tabloid de Telegraaf. Much of this was flanked by a strong and growing right-wing populist bias in Dutch mainstream media outlets.
The presence of a successful and media-savvy right-wing populists like Wilders can indeed be explained through the relatively higher visibility of right-populism in the Dutch press.
Simultaneously, the electoral success of Wilders’ right-wing politics remains inextricably connected to the pervasiveness of right-wing slogans as presented in the press. In other words, the Netherlands provided a fertile breeding ground for the cultivation of right-wing populist sentiments.
Beyond all that, the lesson of Wilders’ win in the Netherlands for the European election in June 2024 is rather gloomy. What we saw in the Netherlands was a decisive shift to the right.
For one, without concrete solutions on the issue of migration, European politics, so it is feared, will move further to the right as right-wing populists exploit what is known as The Politics of Fear – rather ruthlessly.
And it will continue to pay off for right-wing populists who are talking about Mexican rapists, Islamic hordes, etc. Focusing on migrants and asylum seekers has at least three advantages for capitalism:
- Corporate capitalism can carry on as a profit-making system. As Thomas Dunning once said, with adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10% will ensure its employment anywhere; 20% will produce eagerness, 50% positive audacity; 100% will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300%, and there is not a crime which it will not scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged;
- Polluting corporations can carry on polluting as the eyes of the media-consuming public are asphyxiated on migrants and asylum seekers; and finally,
- The oligopolistic media corporations can carry on making stratospheric profits as polluting corporations spend their advertising dollars with them and aren’t annoyed, angry or infuriated over critical reporting on environmental issues.
Mass media focus on migration and the human right to seek asylum reduces interest in the aforementioned global warming. Once migration is presented as the all-important issue, polluting corporations can carry on undeterred – capitalism wins and humanity loses.
Yet, climate protection remains to be the important issue of our century, hence, the world needs to talk about global environmental crisis – and not some side issues. Yet, media capitalism and its corporate news outlets have a different agenda and different revenue-paying sponsors.
Still, France’s Macron favors clean-tech and sustainable re-industrialization. Germany’s Habeck has similar ideas. Under Wilders, the Netherlands will depart from all this – that is, if he can form a new government.
Wilders may have triumphed in the recent election, yet, within the next few weeks, he will find it hard to find allies to form his coalition government. In other words, Geert Wilders’ potential coalition partners are missing. Meanwhile, PVV-Führer Wilders has already warned the VVD party that they will pay a bitter price if the party makes it impossible to form a government with the PVV, and to make Wilders the boss of the Netherlands.
Wilders believes that other political parties should not forget that his PVV will be getting bigger and bigger if his party is not given the opportunity to turn the vote and its democratic mandate – millions of people who voted for Wilders – into an administrative responsibility, i.e., a new Dutch government with Wilders as the Führer.
It has become obvious that many Dutch people expect solutions from the right. In the near future, Wilders’ right-wing party will have to show that it can offer those solutions. Meanwhile, the right–wing populist Wilders wants to become the premier for all Dutch – as the common ideology goes.
While the Netherlands’ social-democratic party rejects Wilders, the former Christian Democrat Pieter Omtzigt has also all but ruled out a coalition with Wilders.
Many expect that the formation of a new Dutch government could now take months. Wilders’ right-wing populists need 76 seats for a stable majority. Currently, the PVV’s preferred coalition would consists of the equally right-wing populist Farmers’ Party BBB. Yet, what will be happening next is a mystery to many in the Netherlands.
It is not just politicians who are trying to understand the victory of Geert Wilders – a man with no coalition partners – but the Dutch business community is also taking a stand against Wilders’ right-wing populist. Worse, there is no back to the future as the outgoing Rutte prime minister no longer wants to govern.
Meanwhile, people took to the streets in protest against Wilders throughout the Netherlands. In Utrecht alone, about a thousand people followed the call of several progressive parties for an anti-Wilders’ rally under the motto, you are not alone! Meantime, a similar protest took place in Amsterdam.
Demonstrators want to show the Dutch that we will not leave you alone, we stand up for the rights of all, and we will defend the democracy.
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