The people of France are going to the polls to pick a new President today and the results have big implications for Americans.
Following a vote by Britain to leave the European Union and the election of Trump, a wave of far-right radicalism appears to be sweeping the globe and France seems like it could be equally afflicted. Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National Party (FN), will advance to a run-off election against Emmanuel Macron, a centrist. The run-off election will take place on May 7, 2017.
Le Pen isn’t favored in the run-off, but I’m not putting anything past any nation since Brexit and Trump. Her roots are in the holocaust denial and extremely racist policies of FN, the political party still has allies around the continent who share similar beliefs. She wants a referendum on leaving the EU within six months of taking office if she wins. This could destroy the EU and have severe financial implications for France and other European countries. Trade agreements would have to be completely re-established should the EU break up, something that was worth considering by England before they voted to bounce.
Something changed in Europe around the start of the Syrian refugee crisis. A xenophobia that has long haunted the continent has seemed to reawaken and refugees are taking a lot of heat for the actions of extremists. Trump, Brexit and (at least in the first round) Le Pen offer nothing but awful rhetoric when it comes to solving the root issues that voters face.