French politician Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, kicked off her presidential bid with a speech that praised Trump and warned of the dangers of Islamization and globalization. Although Le Pen has unsuccessfully participated in past elections in France, she now hopes to find more support in a populace burdened by unemployment and fears of terrorism. Le Pen’s speech eerily echoed certain aspects of President Trump’s speeches, such as the need to reduce the government’s overbearing bureaucracy and the need to preserve nationalism and patriotism in the face of terrorist threats. In contrast, Le Pen’s opponent Emmanuel Macron has recently emphasized the importance of working together and has made clear that he does not plan on waging a war on Islam and globalization as Le Pen intends to. While Macron’s support base lies largely in the professional and educational sectors, and includes doctors, teachers, and business executives, Le Pen’s supporters are mostly factory workers and retired soldiers, comparable to Trump’s support base in the US primary election.
Le Pen’s agenda if she were to become president closely resembles Trump’s current agenda: she advocates more secure borders, tighter immigration restrictions, and independence from both NATO and the EU. Will French citizens believe Le Pen’s promised “return to prosperity” enough to elect her? Or will they determine that her tactics are too extremist and negative for the country? One thing is clear: with President Trump’s recent election, the game of politics has changed and anything can happen.
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