What the French Election Might Teach Us

Much to the relief of many people and world governments across the globe, centrist Emmanuel Macron soundly defeated the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, for the office of French President on May 7, 2017. In doing so, Macron became the youngest leader in the history of the republic at age 39 while also stopping Le Pen’s isolationist agenda in its tracks. For now.

Endorsed by former President Obama, Macron and his 66% win showed that the French people rejected Le Pen’s anti-globalist, anti-Islamic immigration, anti-NATO, anti-EU, France first and pro-Russian outlook. And with President Trump supporting Le Pen, that election in many ways philosophically mirrored the 2016 presidential battle between Trump and Hillary Clinton. Such a comparison became even more striking when Russian hackers dumped great amounts of anti-Macron information on the Internet the night before the election, harkening back to the Clinton email situation. And as if that weren’t enough, Le Pen showed up in Moscow with Vladimir Putin, also shortly before the election.

For Europe, the Macron victory ensures the stability there economically, militarily and politically. With France set to continue as a strong and committed partner in the European Union and NATO, the region remains a bulwark against an expansionist and politically aggressive Russia.

And, of course, all of that bodes well for the United States in its own defense through NATO as well as being assured the EU, its largest trading partner, is not going to be fractured even more by a French exit. But it is in the political realm that the Le Pen defeat might be most instructive for those in the U.S. who are still in shock over the election of the Le Pen type candidate, Donald Trump, and the ever-increasing chaos surrounding his presidency. Distilled down to the basics, here are some of the lessons that might be learned:

  1. The French election shows how a strong, isolationist, populist candidate can be halted. It is even possible that in seeing the results of the U.S. election and how that has played out since, the French people didn’t want the same for their country. This could be good news for the opposition to Trump & Company as they plan for the 2018 and 2020 elections.
  2. The Macron win is a reversal of a world trend towards the installment and solidification of far-right governments which could shift voting patterns away from such candidates in the U.S. for future elections.
  3. The Le Pen defeat could help build less willingness in other countries, like the U.S., from discriminatory Muslim travel and immigration policies.
  4. The Le Pen defeat will keep France in the Paris Accords, thus maintaining stability in the world’s plan, signed by 195 countries including the U.S., to counteract climate change.
  5. Macron’s victory even in the face of heavy Russian meddling is an indicator that perhaps once people truly understand what is going on, they will not let such interference negatively influence how they vote whether it be in France, the United States or elsewhere. It is also a sharp rebuke to Russia that just might be replicated in other countries facing similar intrusions.

Sources for further information

Videos + articles 

Emmanuel Macron wins presidency as France rejects far-right (CNN 1:40) 

Emmanuel Macron defeats Le Pen to become French president (BBC News.com 2:00) 

Five reasons the French election is a big deal (USA Today.com 1:26) 

Why Macron’s French election win matters to the U.S. (CBS News.com)

Articles 

Emanuel Macron Biography (Biography.com) 

Marine Le Pen Biography (Britannica.com) 

What the French elections mean for Americans (CNN.com)

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