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Prime Minister Mark Rutte following his victory in the Dutch general election, The Hague, The Netherlands, March 16, 2017 (Rex Features via AP images).

In Dutch Elections, Rutte Wins, but Wilders’ Message Didn’t Lose

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It’s no secret why the global media converged on the Netherlands to cover Wednesday’s parliamentary elections. All eyes were on the small European country not because the world has great interest in Dutch politics, but because the elections looked like the third test for an emerging populist movement that had already scored victories in the United Kingdom with the Brexit vote and in the United States with the presidential election of Donald Trump.

It fell to the Dutch, then, to erect a barrier to stop nationalist, anti-immigrant populists from winning three contests in a row. But advocates of moderate, inclusive politics would do well to temper their excitement over the results, which put the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) on top. The success of anti-populist forces in the Netherlands was much less resounding than superficial analysis suggests. ...

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