How the Dutch Election Curiously Became a Referendum on Trump

How the Dutch Election Curiously Became a Referendum on Trump
Geert Wilders during an interview, The Hague, Netherlands, Feb. 16, 2017 (AP photo by Peter Dejong).

When U.S. Republicans gathered to nominate Donald Trump as their presidential candidate at the party’s national convention last July, one of the many apocalyptic speeches they heard came from a man with a Dutch accent, bearing stark warnings from Europe: Geert Wilders, with his trademark bleached blonde bouffant, delivered a message that resonated with crowds accustomed to hearing Trump’s ominous worldview. “The situation in Europe today is worse than ever,” Wilders announced. “Europe, as a matter of fact, is collapsing, is imploding, is exploding. We have terror attacks by the Jihadis almost every week.”

Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, has built a career on warning about the grave dangers posed by Islam. That career now faces its most pivotal test. On March 15, Dutch voters will choose a new parliament, and Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) could emerge with the most seats.

A victory by the unabashedly anti-Islam, anti-immigrant PVV would mark a stunning reversal for the Netherlands, one of the most liberal, tolerant countries in the world.

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