It’s just a little more than a month until the elections in the Netherlands and some political analysts in that nation are beginning to wonder if they’re missing some clues from the voters. As we covered here previously, the Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders has been consistently leading in the polls for a while now. Their margins aren’t huge – expecting to capture roughly 20% of the vote and corresponding seats in Parliament – but it would be enough for the win in that multi-party system. There will be challenges in forming a governing coalition and getting Wilders placed as Prime Minister, but few doubt that he’s unexpectedly moved into the top spot at the moment.
But are they missing something? Wilders has been taking to the streets and saying things which may sound familiar to American readers, such as, “‘Our people have been betrayed by politicians and want a new Patriotic Spring.”
The response he’s receiving from the public has some analysts thinking there might be a movement afoot which is harder to measure than usual. (Daily Mail)
Next month there are national elections in the Netherlands — and Wilders’s Freedom Party is ahead in the polls and expected to win at least 20 per cent of the vote. It could be even higher.
One paunchy man listening on Thursday at the book launch admitted: ‘At first we dared not think like him or talk like him. Now many of us in Holland do both.’
For a groundswell of support for Wilders among the Dutch — his is the most popular party in the Netherlands — is fast gathering momentum…
Wilders’s meteoric rise means the Netherlands, long famed for its liberal outlook, could well provide the next shock to the European political elite.
This may be a case of Wilders’ supporters trying to ,latch on to the Trump Effect, but from the sound of the comments coming from some of the voters it’s hard to ignore the parallels. When you hear some of them saying, we dared not think like him or talk like him, now many of us do, that just sounds very similar to people in central Pennsylvania who completely failed to show up in the polls here last October.
Also, Wilders is making his final pitch in the advertising field and he’s not doing the usual rainbows and sunshine, vote for me shtick. While opponents managed to shut it down in short order, these were the ads that the candidate was plastering on public transportation.
The author of the Daily Mail piece speculates that a Freedom Party win of too wide a margin could be the final nail in the coffin for the European Union. Actually, a win in any form won’t do their cause much good, but if Wilders turns out to be too popular to curb some of his views it could lead to a very real and possibly rapid Nexit. Probably not enough to cripple the EU outright, but it would be a serious blow.
So how much of a margin would it take? If the polls are predicting 20%, how much of a bump could you add to that which comes from some sort of “Shy Geert” vote? After all, the “Shy Trump vote” was the phenomenon which was scoffed at by pollsters and the media here but eventually turned out to be the margin of victory needed in key swing states. Could Wilders hit 25% or even 30? If he does, finding the rest of that governing coalition and pushing his agenda forward will be a lot easier. And we’ll know the answer on March 15th. Hold on to your hats, folks. The interesting times may not be over just yet.