France - which led the way to republican government under the slogan "liberte, fraternite, egalite" heads into a crucial election in which voters could embrace bigotre and racisme. If you may have forgotten that Europe in the 1930's descended into barbarism - this is a good reminder of the path. - gwc
What happens next in France will determine the level of bigotry Europe is willing to tolerate
by Adrienne Mahsa Virkiani // Think Progress
French voters headed to the polls on Sunday to cast their vote for the country’s next president. The results: Far-right Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron will head to the runoffs on May 7.
According to the Guardian’s live blog of the elections, Macron has a slightly larger share of the votes (23.7 percent) than Le Pen (21.7 percent) thus far. Center-right candidate François Fillon and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon are at about 19.5 percent, and socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, is at about 6.5 percent.
Following a year of rising nationalism in Europe and the United States, intertwined with fear-mongering about immigration, the results of the runoff could be an indicator of how much xenophobia Europe is willing to tolerate.
Le Pen, head of the National Front (FN) party, has run on a vocally anti-Islam, anti-immigrant platform — and as a result, has often been compared to U.S. President Donald Trump. In November of last year, Le Pen called Trump’s victory “a sign of hope for those who cannot bear wild globalization,” and two weeks before his inauguration, she was seen at Trump Tower in New York. On Friday, she was tacitly endorsed by Trump.