On yesterday’s Dutch election.
From on the spot, a few comments.
1. The PVV (Wilders’ party) continues to have a strong presence in parliament. However, none of the other parties are willing to form a coalition with them, so they are essentially neutralized.
2. Wilders is a freak but he’s actually pretty smart and gives reasonable speeches. He’s clearer and more coherent in English than Trump — which isn’t saying much, granted. The rest of his platform is not entirely unreasonable — only the anti-Muslim stuff.
3. I don’t think “45”’s election had much of an effect on this one.
4. I think that Rutte (the current PM)’s dramatic response last week to the loathsome Erdogan’s brinkmanship was a much bigger factor.
5. A high point of the last year or so — in parliament, Rutte told Wilders to “Doe normaal” (no translation needed :-D).
6. It looks like that in order to pass any new legislation, the new parliament will require *four* parties to cooperate. That’s a real democracy!
7. Also interesting to us — Partij van de Dieren, a tiny single issue party regarding animal rights, made serious progress and the GroenLinks (“GreenLeft”) party went from 4 to 14 seats!
Points 1, 5, 6 and 7 to me put the advantages of a parliamentary democracy with proportional representation in sharp relief.
One consequence — the idea of “strategic voting” simply doesn’t exist, because you can vote for some tiny party like PvdD and still get excellent results out of your vote. I have to believe that this one of the main reasons that yesterday’s vote had over 80% turnout.
Another consequence — the multiplicity of parties means that to get anything done you need to make coalitions with other parties. This system strongly favors cooperative, diplomatic adults who are willing to negotiate.