WaPo: “Geert Wilders and the Mainstreaming of White Nationalism”

WaPo has a piece titled “Geert Wilders and the mainstreaming of white nationalism” written by Ishaan Tharoor, whom I’m going to take a wild guess is non-white. Apart from the usual ‘racist!’ angle, the one takeaway is that Wilders will arguably be more effective not winning the Prime Minister position:

As my colleague Adam Taylor lays out, the fragmentation of the Dutch political scene means Wilders is unlikely to become prime minister even if his Freedom Party, or PVV, comes first or second in the election. The winning party will need to entice several others into a governing coalition, and none of the mainstream Dutch parties is willing to include Wilders.

Wilders may also be uninterested in the horse-trading that traditionally characterizes coalition politics — nor is it clear that he should be. “With a larger group of MPs behind him, and a new narrative of an election stolen from the people, he will have even more ammunition to attack from the side lines,” said Dina Pardijs of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Wilders can stay compromise-free until the moment where something fundamentally changes in the Netherlands.”

It’s not clear what “something fundamental” could be, but Wilders has made political hay out of terrorism fears and Muslim integration in Europe. His vehement opposition to Islam has won him strong support in the United States, too. In 2010, I watched Wilders in New York City as he addressed a motley crowd of American Islamophobes and European ultranationalists opposed to the construction of an Islamic community center a few blocks away from where the twin towers once stood. He warned darkly — and, it seemed then, hysterically — of the city that was once New Amsterdam turning into New Mecca.

That message has gained traction in recent years in the United States. The blood-and-soil ethnic nationalism espoused by Wilders is taking root in a country that has long defined itself in opposition to the “old world” of Europe and its petty tribalisms. Right-wing American activists, such as conservative provocateur David Horowitz, have helped funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into Wilders’s movement. According to the New York Times, a $120,000 donation made by Horowitz in 2015 was the single largest individual contribution in the Dutch political system that year.

“If he compromises in order to join a coalition government, he becomes almost a standard Dutch politician, and therefore less interesting to the Horowitzes,” Kuper wrote. “More exciting to stay pure, and remain the only Dutch politician who is heard abroad, better known than Mark Rutte, the prime minister since 2010. Wilders’ radicalism, like his dyed blond swept-back hair, gives him an international brand.

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