The radical left, EU-critical Socialist Party of the Netherlands had at one point been forecast to take 35 of 150 seats in parliament - topping the polls just two weeks before the September 12 election.
In the end event it merely hung on to the 15 seats it had already. This is obviously disappointing.
At the risk of sounding like a football manager insisting after a 4-0 home defeat that "we can take the positives from this and move on," the Socialist Party (SP) and its sympathiser can, well, take the positives from this and move on.
The problem boiled down to this: as Labour overtook the SP in the polls and headed into a two-horse race with the Liberals, left-of-centre voters were faced with a choice.
Most wanted to see the SP do well. They had seen how, as the SP increasingly posed a threat, Labour had simply adopted the party's policies - though some, in a classic case of the triumph of hope over experience, took social-democratic Labour at its word.
Others simply could not bear the idea of four more years of right-wing PM Mark Rutte, which is perfectly understandable.
While the centre-left has been busily filching the SP's policies, the Liberals have been doing the same with those of the far-right Party of Freedom (PVV), Geert Wilders's outfit.
Rutte's anti-working class policies were compounded by a failure to condemn the scapegoating of Muslims or a PVV website that invited people to report the "nuisance" caused by immigrants from eastern Europe. So, many prioritised getting rid of him - not that it worked.
But there are many reasons to back the SP rather than Labour.
It's a unique left party, coming from neither the communist nor the social-democratic tradition.
Parties with similar policies exist in some other countries, though it's rare for them to win the same level of support.
Many, such as Syriza in Greece, have exhibited a misguidedly positive attitude to the European Union.
The SP has campaigned against every EU treaty since Maastricht, each time because what it contained would deepen neoliberalism and further erode people's influence on their governments.
This is a radical party operating in a deeply conservative society - though Netherlands conservatism is different to the British version. It's based on the notion of a historic "pact" between the classes.
The "Polder Model" is a term of uncertain origin, perhaps linked to the tracts of land below sea-level called polders. In the Middle Ages, even warring cities which lay in the same polder would have to set aside their differences to maintain the dikes and prevent mutual flooding.
But in the modern Netherlands it refers to a conscious piece of class-collaboration.
It has allowed capitalism to flourish unchallenged, if tamed by a high standard of living for most of the population and a deep and broad welfare state that offered security, a narrow gap between rich and poor and a high degree of equality of opportunity.
The rate of strikes is generally low and protest movements against such evils as racism and participation in US wars, while creative and visible, rarely attract mass support.
But paradoxically the SP has been able to benefit from this conservatism.
It is widely seen as the most trustworthy defender of the welfare state and thus of much that is valued in Dutch society.
It also rejects the undermining of democratic decision-making by the European Commission and European Central Bank and the domination of the EU by big member states.
But despite being the country's third-largest party, with an audited membership of over 47,000, the SP is not part of the governing coalition in any major cities.
And much of its programme is merely a spiced-up social democracy.
But what distinguishes it from a social-democratic party is that it continues to be extremely active outside parliamentary politics.
On the streets, in the trade union movement and in the broader culture of the Netherlands it is a highly visible presence.
The role it played in a successful national cleaners' strike, as well as its contribution to organising new, militant formations within a number of unions, has won it support - it's now more popular among union members than Labour.
Its leader Emile Roemer (right) is popular, but arguably lacks experience.
Labour leader Diederik Samson was declared by the media to have won TV debates against the other candidates, and Roemer to have shown his inexperience.
There was a grain of truth in that.
When it was neck-and-neck with the Liberals at the top of the polls the SP had emphasised the Roemer-Rutte contest. This may have contributed to its own downfall as the media was able to reduce the election to a beauty contest between personalities.
When Labour was by far the bigger of the two, people voted SP with the idea of beefing up a possible left coalition.
But the latter's extraordinary growth has presented it with a new set of problems. It may be that in this election it did not find a satisfactory solution.
But the party has still more than tripled its membership in the last 15 years and grown in parliament from two to 15 MPs.
It's spread out from its original base in the south of the country to become a truly national party and the biggest radical left force in European politics.
The Guardian reported after the election that "Brussels" heaved a sigh of relief.
But the eurocrats who are busily attacking two centuries of economic, social and political progress for working people have not heard the last of the Socialist Party of the Netherlands.
Steve McGiffen is the English-language translator for the Socialist Party of the Netherlands.
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