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Le Pen, Trump: Same Difference?

Just like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen is nationalist, protectionist, somewhat authoritarian and staunchly anti-Islam. But unlike the American president, Marine Le Pen is anti-capitalist.

When questioned by a journalist from The Financial Times, Donald Trump admitted that he had never met Marine Le Pen. Clearly France isn’t on the President Trump’s radar. And it’s not for Marine Le Pen’s lack of trying. Remember last January, when she tried to get an interview with Trump, but had to make do with taking a coffee on the first floor of Trump Tower instead. When asked, “Who are your political models?” Le Pen recently replied, “Trump, Putin and Modi.” What links these three figures and what is the Indian Prime Minister doing in this collection? All three are nationalists, rather authoritarian and strongly anti-Islam.

The big difference with Marine Le Pen when compared to both Donald Trump and Narendra Modi is that she is anti-capitalist. However, Le Pen and Trump are both protectionists: buy American, buy French. This is rather baffling — and more so for France than America — considering that a third of French live off exports, compared to 8% of Americans.

Following Trump’s and Modi’s success, Marine Le Pen and more generally, the media and representatives who support her, want to see nations kicking back against globalization. But nationalists are losing just as many elections as they’re winning — just take the results in Holland, Germany and Spain for example. Suggesting that Trumpism is the new global ideology that will replace liberalism remains to be seen.

When comparing Marine Le Pen to Donald Trump, we’ll give her this: their electoral bases are similar. In France — like in America — the once working-class population feels marginalized by the technological revolution in manufacturing, and they’re unlikely to be able to change industry. This new proletariat is the backbone of what is often called populism. And it’s true that in America, like in France, economic, social and educational solutions are long overdue, much to the dismay of this neglected population. Trump speaks about the problems, but in reality, he offers no serious solutions. Marine Le Pen is even worse, putting forward a manifesto that would ruin France, such as leaving the EU and the Euro — and that’s just the start of it.

  • of interest, France needs to loosen their strangle-hold love affair with socialism and move towards capitalism. This of course is to repair and push forward the poor state of Frances economy and employment.

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