At a critical moment when Europe has joined with the United States to block Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine, it would have been disastrous if France had elected as president a woman who believes her country should distance itself from the U.S., quit the European Union and get closer to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Last Sunday, just under 60% of French voters opted for democracy and international solidarity by reelecting centrist President Emmanuel Macron. Still, it is unsettling that more than 40% cast ballots for Marine Le Pen, the highest vote ever for a person the media characterize as a right-wing extremist.
Given her provocative ideas and the neo-fascist history of her political party, that is not an unfair description, but, if Le Pen and the Rassemblement National are extremist, what does that make Donald Trump and the Republican Party? Le Pen and her compatriots are militant hyper-nationalists who have gained political influence by exploiting working-class resentments toward immigrants, political and economic elites and rising groups of people within their country who are nontraditional, non-Christian and nonwhite. Does that not match a certain American political leader and the dominant wing of his political party?
It should be noted, though, that there are two significant differences that separate Le Pen and her followers from Trump and his. First, unlike Trump and the Republicans, Le Pen believes in preserving and expanding the social safety net for citizens, thus putting her to the left of her counterparts in the United States. Second, Le Pen immediately acknowledged electoral defeat while Trump and his minions conspired to overturn the 2020 election results and continue to promote the seditious lie that the vote was rigged against them.
Given that, who are the most extreme extremists?
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