May 10, 2002


Dutch leaders fear sympathy vote for slain rightist's party (Keith B. Richburg, 5/10/2002, Washington Post)
The fear is that while the parties have stopped all campaigning--pulling television advertisements, stopping publication of poll numbers, and canceling planned rallies--the events planned around Fortuyn's funeral, all nationally televised, could generate a sympathy vote next week that could benefit Fortuyn's nascent political party, called ''Pim Fortuyn's List,'' or LPF in Dutch.

Analysts said there is even a chance that his party, made up of political novices and so far without a leader to replace its maverick founder, could end up as the dominant party in Parliament. Even before the slaying, his party appeared set to win at least 20 to 25 seats in the 150-seat Parliament, making it one of the three largest parties.

''People who are voting for the party will be voting for Pim Fortuyn, even though he's no longer with us,'' said Kay van de Linde, a campaign consultant working for another upstart, the Livable Netherlands Party.

''We've seen that in the States; we've had a dead person elected to the senate,'' he said. ''For Holland, this is a unique situation. We've never had this for 500 years. A lot of people are going to vote their emotions, and they're going to vote for the spirit of Pim Fortuyn.''

The rival parties are actually making the same mistake that John Ashcroft and the GOP made in Missouri in 2000, giving the survivors a free ride and tacitly participating in the beatification of the dead candidate. You may have to be careful how you do it, but you can't give the guy a free ride just because he's dead. What could be more antidemocratic than to make the death (even if tragic) of one person more important than the political process itself? Crank the campaign back up; run the ads; hold the rallies; stop wallowing in bathos; defeat the LPF. Ashcroft's mistake only cost him his seat and Republicans the Senate. The mistake the Dutch are making may cost them their entire national government. Posted by Orrin Judd at May 10, 2002 7:37 AM
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