Rejoice! The Netherlands did what America failed to do — stomp out far-right populism.
Right-wing, anti-Islam nationalist Geert Wilders, who has been dubbed the “Dutch Donald Trump,” lost the election to conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Wednesday night after a tumultuous, closely-watched showdown between the two.
"This night is a night for the Netherlands — after Brexit, after the American elections — where we said stop it, stop it to the wrong kind of populism," said Rutte to a crowd of cheering supporters following his win.
As CNN notes, the world was looking at this election as a test of populist right-wing sentiment in Europe following the United States election of Trump and ahead of the French presidential vote in April as well as the German national election in September.
The concern is that more of these nationalist politicians will rise to power and lead to the re-emergence of fascism in the Western world, which would be a large leap backward for mankind.
The fear is warranted considering that it’s already happening in the U.S. and for much of 2016 Wilders was leading in the polls. Additionally, Marine Le Pen — the French far-right Front National presidential candidate — has a strong lead in the polls ahead of France’s upcoming election.
Using the same anti-establishment rhetoric that led to Brexit in the UK and Trump’s presidency in the U.S., Wilders had promised to bring a populist “revolution” to Europe, but voters nipped it in the bud.
It is likely safe to surmise that much of Wilders’ downfall can be attributed to Trump. In less than two months since his inauguration, Trump has turned the White House upside down. His presidency is riddled with chaos and scandal that is making even his own supporters turn against him.
His cabinet picks are unqualified for their positions, he’s at war with the mass media, he’s outright lying to the public about his connections to Russia, his Muslim ban and deportation raids are tearing innocent families apart, and he’s launching unfounded conspiracy theories against his predecessor to deflect from his own shortcomings.
Furthermore, he's obliterating government transparency, his messy health care plan is set to leave millions of Americans without coverage, and his presidency has sparked a wave of hate crimes — many of them committed in his honor.
Everything Trump has touched thus far, has fallen apart. The world is witnessing what a far-right populist president looks like and it’s undoubtedly shaping how they vote in their own elections.
It seems that not only the Dutch, but the entire world was relieved by the election results. This major blow to the far-right populist movement in the West has restored some hope for humanity.
Thank you to the Netherlands. Geert "Racist Islamophobe" Wilders loses Dutch elections. There is still hope in the world. ????— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) March 16, 2017
????Dutch elections: 81% turnout = No Nationalist Racist. There is a reason the GOP supports voter suppression in US; couldn't win otherwise.— cgshort (@cgshort) March 15, 2017
Today, the Dutch have chosen Europe instead of nexit, cooperation instead of separation, the future instead of the past. #DutchElections— Ma?gosia Krakowska (@gosiakrakowska) March 15, 2017
The protestors in Nashville, the Dutch elections, a judge in Hawaii--all give me great hope. Suck it, forces of darkness and division!— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 16, 2017
In the victory speeches tonight in the #DutchElections, the UK and US are being used as symbols of all that is wrong in the world.— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) March 15, 2017
In all the elections I've covered, this is the first one where a loss of seats is a victory and the status quo is big news. #dutchelections— Hala Gorani (@HalaGorani) March 16, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Yves Herman