We were naive. What happened in the US, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy and recently Argentina, was not possible in the ‘moderate’ Netherlands: a major electoral victory for the extreme right. After all, we were inherently more sane and down-to-earth than voters in those countries.
And lo and behold: Geert Wilders wins. He shouted: “Thirty-five!” When we awoke from this nightmare it turned out to be thirty-seven. We’ve got our own Trump.
During the election campaign I often heard Wilders compare this casual statement to Trump. “I’m not Trump, but if you look at America and compare Trump to the Democrats, it’s certainly not an insult.” In other words and perhaps intended: Anything is better than Democrats.
Wilders has always had a great admiration for Trump. Already on December 7, 2015, a year before his election victory over Hillary Clinton, Wilders tweeted: “I hope @realDonaldTrump is the next US president. Good for America, good for Europe. Brave leaders are needed.” The extent to which Trump’s and Wilders’ political views coincide is worth further investigation, but one conclusion can already be drawn: they do not differ much in terms of style. Both are adept at bullying and humiliating political opponents, and do not shy away from lying to put the other in a bad light.
Wilders recently did just that, supporting pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the Frans Timmermans Climate March. He tried something similar in 2017 by distributing a photoshopped photo of D66 leader Alexander Bechtold to a group of fundamentalist Muslims via Twitter. Pechtold, Wilders suggested, was in favor of introducing Sharia in the Netherlands. That too happened during the election. The one who called the Dutch parliament a “fake parliament” is a fake news spreader.
“We all have to move beyond our shadows,” Wilders said on election night. This, above all, requires an amazingly athletic leaping power that has yet to be mustered from him. But the parties he has in mind – the VVD, the BBB, the NSC – seem willing to do so eventually, because there is always something shadowy in their shadow. The backbone of politicians like Yesilgöz and Omtzigt is not their strong point.
The only party Wilders wants nothing to do with is GroenLinks-PvdA. It’s the devil himself, especially since Timmermans became the boss. Timmermans becomes the new Bechtold for Wilders.
What can we expect from Wilders if he becomes Prime Minister? I was reminded of the video of Javier Millay, a far right nut who was allowed to take power in Argentina. He walked on a wall from which he tore the names of ministries. About six had to disappear, including the environment and culture. He immediately received a congratulatory message from Trump: “I’m so proud of you. You will change your country and make Argentina great again.
Has Wilders already received a congratulatory message from Trump? He deserves it.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”