The Populist Wave in Argentina, the Netherlands Is a Good Course Correction

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One of the laziest forms of political analysis is the attempt to link political outcomes from different countries to create a narrative about international affairs. The focus of such efforts has nothing to do with the events in these various places and anything to do with United States politics.

This is why pundits are labeling the winners of the recent elections in Argentina and the Netherlands as their respective countries’ “Donald Trumps” and considering their victories a miracle. In the year The political establishment’s warning about the possibility of a first-time Trump winning a second term in the White House in 2024 has much more to do with events in Western Europe or South America.

The highlights of Javier Pele’s victories in Argentina and Geert Wilders’ victories in the Netherlands have nothing to do with each other. It was hyperinflation that was crippling Argentina’s economy that catapulted Pele, an eccentric libertarian economist and political upstart, to victory. Meanwhile, the key to Wilders’ victory was a sense that Dutch society and its liberal values ​​were being subverted by uncontrolled immigration from Muslim countries. Wilders has been campaigning on this issue for decades.

And like other “Trumps”—Brazil’s Javier Bolsonaro or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán—Wilders and Pillay’s ability to govern and stay in power hinges on local issues and their ability to represent more than dissent in one election cycle.

Still, the loose talk about the existence of a populist wave sweeping the world is more than a liberal gem about Trump. He is leading. President Joe Biden In the elections. While voters in these two countries are largely motivated by unrelated issues, the successes of Pillay and Wilders have one thing in common. They reflect a willingness on the part of the electorate to listen to and elect to higher office people who are seen as dangerous patrons by the political institutions in those countries.

Argentine far-right libertarian economist and presidential candidate Javier Miley with his sister Carina Miley at Miley’s headquarters in Buenos Aires in 2015. Celebrated on August 13, 2023. Far-right economist Javier Millay won 32.31% of the vote. The primaries for Argentina’s presidential election and former security minister Patricia Bullrich and economy minister Sergio Massa will be the main protagonists of this election.
ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

But this age of fascism heralds a new era, driven by unabashed hatemongers, like the punditry class. The wisdom that the ruling elite traded on. Whether you call it populism or anti-globalism, or in Trump’s case, “America First,” the success of these candidates and parties is part of an important course correction that’s happening across the board as ordinary citizens in democracies begin to vote. Because the management classes are not interested in the issue that concerns them.

The Dutch election, in which Wilders and his Freedom Party won an unexpected majority, was determined by growing concerns across Western Europe about the impact of unrestricted immigration. Wilders is normally classified as far-right, but despite his extreme rhetoric about Islam and Muslims, he is actually a liberal. It speaks to those who truly understand that a society that restricts freedom to accommodate the demands of the followers of Islam is a disaster.

Others who led this cause, such as Pym Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, were killed or exiled, as was Ayan Hirsi Ali. But while Wilders has been denounced as an anti-Islamist, decades of efforts by the Dutch political establishment to ignore the way their country is changing as refugees refuse to join have strengthened his position.

    Geert Wilders celebrates election victory.
Geert Wilders (C), Dutch right-wing politician and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), reacts to the exit poll and early results showing his party’s victory in the November 22, 2023 election in Scheveningen, Holland. Netherlands.
Carl Court/Getty Images

While political and cultural elites in Europe and the United States see open borders as part of a vision for a better world, Dutch voters have no choice but to turn to populists like Wilder to try and put the brakes on. Dissolving their national identity.

The immigration problem is not in Argentina. Their concern is the country’s addiction to socialist ideology and a corrupt administration that has been running a failing economy for decades. The legacy of Peronism, a unique combination of neo-fascist dictatorship and collectivist economics with a populist base, still hangs over Argentina. Miley’s platform rejects globalism, socialism and the “siren song of social justice” and replaces it with one based on economic freedom, an alternative that elites fear and long-suffering Argentine voters embrace.

Both Wilders and Mille face serious challenges in implementing their ideas and, like Trump, may be hampered by their own lack of experience and a concerted campaign to ensure that institutional victories at home are temporary.

One thing they have in common is that they are both sympathetic to Israel: Wilders spent time in a moshav in his youth, while Miley considered converting to Judaism. Both are pro-Israel, with the most widely opposed globalists siding with the Jewish state in the October 7 terrorist massacre by Hamas Islamists. Far from a discussion of populism, the fact that both are willing to push back is indicative of the Left elite’s unwillingness to challenge the anti-Semitism that is central to the attacks on Israel, the rhetoric of their victory. A new wave of fascism is behind him.

But a common theme in these elections is both a push against leftist orthodoxy and a way to demonstrate the intellectual and moral decline of the ruling elite, regardless of its political label.

Away from these popular uprisings that are a threat to democracy, the growing support for people like Trump, Milley and Wilders has seen voters understand the need to shock the system and question the orthodoxy of the elite.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor-in-chief of JNS.org and a senior contributor to The Federalist. Follow him: @jonathans_tobin.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.