In an op-ed for NRC Handelsblad, one of the Netherlands’ leading daily newspapers, I argue that the political constellation in the country is shifting from left-right to cosmopolitan-nationalist.
On the one extreme are the Green party and the liberal Democrats, who are socially progressive, in favor of immigration and pro-EU.
On the other end is Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, which appeals to Dutch voters who are more traditional in their values, who worry about the malintegration of non-natives and who are increasingly Euroskeptic.
The Christian Democrats and the far-left Socialists, in different ways, approximate the Freedom Party line.
In this new context, Mark Rutte’s liberal party, formerly seen as center-right, is the party of the middle, I argue. Their views on everything from economic policy to immigration to the EU are a balance between the cosmopolitan left and the nationalist right.
They are also the new middle in a concrete sense: It doesn’t look like a coalition government could be formed without them.