The Trump Factor in the French Election

Populist Marine Le Pen narrowly leads in polls for the French presidential race with fierce attacks on immigration and globalization. Comparisons with US President Donald Trump are being made. Each politician “combines disaffection from the established parties – all liars, damn liars – a sense of dispossession where one cannot separate economic and job safety issues from wider cultural insecurity, which leads to a reversal of attitude towards newcomers and foreigners,” explains François Godement, senior policy fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Voters come from both the right and left.” The countries share a history of embracing immigrants, but such policies have since become a target for many voters. Driving angst in France: a gradual shift from integration to closed multicultural communities, a rise in militant Islam, an unemployment rate at 10 percent and resentment for elites. Older voters favored Trump in the United States, while younger voters favor France’s Le Pen, with each group expecting quick fixes for many complaints. The French presidential election is set for April and May. – YaleGlobal

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