Marine Le Pen is trying to capitalize on American-style identity politics in her country, appealing directly to France’s women, Jews, and secular-minded voters, “despite widespread concerns about her hardline views on immigration, outsiders, and globalization,” writes Sarah Wildman, and she’s hoping these same voters will help her to win the French presidency.
“If she succeeds, Le Pen would make history as the first far-right leader in the postwar period to take power in a major Western European country,” says Wildman.
With Russia’s help, Le Pen is hoping to transform “an openly xenophobic and vilified party, run by a man known for minimizing the horrors of the Holocaust, and bringing it squarely into the French mainstream.”
And Le Pen seems to be taking plays from the same playbook as Putin’s other preferred candidate, and now president, Donald Trump. Like Trump, Le Pen is wildly popular with white supremacists across Europe, playing to blind fear and ignorance of French voters. After a fatal shoot-out in Paris on Thursday evening, she immediately called for France to close its borders.