Friday, April 14, 2017

Will Le Pen Become The Trump Of France?

The election in France has many similarities with the US presidential election.  There is a good chance that the populist candidate in France will win the election.  This article describes the malaise in France that is being exploited by Le Pen.  There are lots of very difficult problems and the major political parties have not covered themselves with glory.  The traditional battle between the center right and the center left has given way to a contest between a far right populist and a candidate who offers a new face to the electorate.  Le Pen's "France First" strategy is very similar to Donald Trump's "America First" campaign.  They both promise to restore a national identity that has been eroded by open borders and globalization. 

Donald Trump will not be able to restore the good old days of an America past.  The world has changed in too many ways.  No nation, by itself, can deal with many of the issues that require international cooperation.  Four years from now America will look much like it looks today.  That is not necessarily bad.  Compared to the rest of the world Americans are very lucky.  Our major concern is that demagogues like Donald Trump will make things worse.  We will probably be lucky.  Our system of checks and balances seems to working pretty well. 

Le Pen has been effective demagogue.  She has put her finger on a host of problems that are very real.  Especially for those who live in rural areas that have been left behind.  However, she does not seem to have many solutions for the problems that she exploits.  Even worse, if she wins the election and she gives up the common currency, and the European Union,  things could get much worse.  Nostalgia for a past that cannot be restored will be replace by chaos.  Le Pen will be much worse for France than Donald Trump will be for America.

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