Netherlands Election: How 'Dutch Trump' Echos the US Far-Right
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A wealthy politician with eccentric blond hair, lavish suits, and contempt for "political correctness" wants to make his country "great again."

Dutch politician Geert Wilders

No, this isn't U.S. President Donald Trump. This is Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Representing the far-right Party for Freedom, Wilders is running to become the Netherlands' next prime minister. The firebrand politician, who's been dubbed the "Dutch Trump," has a lot in common with the U.S. President.

They both support "extreme vetting" of Muslim immigrants, advocate for a strong nation-state against globalism and claim to represent "the people" against "the elites."

Wilders, however, is said to be more extreme than Trump. That's probably because he hasn't shied away from publicly associating himself with the far-right base that helped elect the U.S. President. In fact, most of Wilders' proposed policies echo their political demands. Here's how.

Islamophobia

Jon Ritzheimer, a right-wing militia member who voted for Trump, shares Wilders' discriminatory view of Islam.

Ritzheimer, who participated in the armed occupation of Oregon's National Wildlife Refuge last year, has called for putting an end Muslim immigration to the United States. He has even referred to anti-Trump protesters as "Muslims" and thanked them "for not blowing us up," Mother Jones reports.

"Just know that we 3 percent, we militiamen, are standing at the ready across our nation," Ritzheimer said in an online video that has since been removed. "And when you strike, we will strike back. We will level and demolish every mosque across this country."

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Ritzheimer's support for Trump's "Muslim ban" and discrimination against Islam is eerily similar to Wilder's views and political proposals. If elected, Wilder wants to initiate a "de-Islamisation" of the Netherlands, which includes banning the Koran and closing mosques across the country. He has even gone as far as calling Muslim Moroccan immigrants "scum."

"Islam is not a religion, it's an ideology, the ideology of a retarded culture," Wilders told The Guardian in a 2008 interview. "I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people."

Like Ritzheimer and much of the base that helped elect Trump, Wilders holds a discriminatory view of Muslims, despite his denials.

Ultranationalism

Matthew Heimbach, founder of the Netherlands’ white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, shares Wilders' ultranationalist and anti-globalist sentiments.

Heimbach, who has offered support for Trump's "America First" mantra, has spoken out against multiculturalism and U.S. cooperation with countries around the world. He has even gone as far as telling immigrants that they should "stay in their own nations" because they are not wanted in "white" America.

"The fires of nationalism, the fires of identity, the fires of anger against the corrupt establishment are arising all around Europe, all around America, all around the entire world," Heimbach said in a May 2016 Radio Aryan podcast, according to Mother Jones.

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"So we just need to strap in, because the future is gonna definitely be interesting, and I believe we could have a switch in our direction even more…Hail, Emperor Trump! And hail, victory!"

Heimbach's support for nationalism over internationalism and multiculturalism echoes Wilder's views on what he calls "Dutch identity and sovereignty." Not only does Wilders want to pull out of the European Union, he also wants to eradicate "non-Dutch" cultural and ethnic studies in universities that promote "foreign civilizations."

On top of that, Wilders has modified Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan for his own campaign: "Let's Make the Netherlands Ours Again."

For Wilders, the Dutch are in a "battle" with immigrants who he claims are trying to take over the nation.

"Take a walk down the street and see where this is going. You no longer feel like you are living in your own country," he said in a 2007 interview.

"There is a battle going on and we have to defend ourselves. Before you know it there will be more mosques than churches!"

Faux Populism

Gregory Hood, author and blogger for white nationalist sites American Renaissance and Radix Journal, shares Wilders' right-wing understanding of populism.

Populism, originating in leftist thought, is defined as a political movement that advocates for the interests of the common people against an exploitative privileged elite. Like Wilders, however, Hood interprets populism as the battle between European-descendent nationalists against multicultural wealthy elites.

Hood, who claimed Trump's campaign was a blow to the establishment, believes the far-right is the new anti-establishment.

"The survival of the current political, economic, and cultural system is a death sentence for the European-American population," Hood wrote in July 2015 Radix post, according to Mother Jones. "Trump creates an opening to disrupt that system."

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Wilders shares similar views on so-called populism that pit Netherlands' white majority population against the "non-Dutch establishment."

He believes that "non-Europeans," specifically Muslims, want to impoverish and pillage the continent. Like Hood, the Dutch far-right leader paints one of Europe's most oppressed communities as being an oppressive force.

"Cultural relativism, the ruling ethos of Europe's political establishment, is gradually destroying our traditions and cultural identity," Wilders wrote in his 2012 book "Marked for Death."

"The so-called multicultural society tells newcomers who settle in our cities and villages: you are free to violate our norms and values, since your culture is just as good, and perhaps even better, than ours."

Wilders, who released a one-page manifesto explaining his party's platform, has not spent much time speaking about economic inequality in the Netherlands. Instead, he has focused on how to protect the Dutch national and cultural identity he claims is "under attack."

Overall, Wilders echoes the islamophobic, ultranationalist and faux populist slogans put forth by the far-right base that helped elect Trump.


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