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“Viva la France!” was once the universal cheer that this culturally rich country in Europe became world famous for. Now, in the aftermath of its recent run-off elections that will determine which final two candidates the French people will ultimately vote for to become their next President, their choice will now be either a right wing extremist, Marine Le Pen; or Emmanuel Macron, who is a longtime Socialist who has now magically morphed himself into a self-proclaimed “centrist.’’

Arguably, this is no way to ‘run’ a country, except into the ground!

To say that French voters are now polarized, is a severe understatement. They have also rejected the tired status quo. French voters are disillusioned, angry, this election and its outcome are unique in that for the first time since France’s Fifth Republic was formed on October 4, 1958 by General Charles de Gaulle, no candidate from any of the major parties who have held power since that time made it into the final round showdown placing either first or second.

Instead, the French people will now choose between Emmanuel Macron, who created his own political entity after making a point to deliberately distance himself from France’s current (and extremely unpopular) Socialist President Francoise Hollande’s government, and Marine Le Pen, who represents the xenophobic extremist far right.

Not “Just France”
What has happened in France is not unique, indeed it is merely the latest example of voter polarization. Prior to the outcome of this election, there was the ‘Brexit’ voter referendum in Great Britain, which barely passed.

In the United Kingdom, voter polarization is undeniable since the Brexit initiative squeaked by with a 52% to 48% margin. What is arguably the most interesting demographic of this vote is the fact that the majority of people living in Britain’s capital city of London and Northern Ireland voted to remain a member of the European Union, whereas essentially the rest of the country had very different sentiments and did not.

Indeed, in much of western Europe now, polarization is increasingly running rampant.

One key reason for this is because tens of millions of Europeans understandably feel that the bureaucrats in Brussels who arguably live in their own reality distortion fields, have lost touch with most of the European Union’s citizenry and continue to pass laws and policies which make no logical sense to them.

Take the issue of immigration. When Germany, the European Union’s most powerful country, allowed some 1.25 million immigrants to flood in, how this whole effort was deliberately mismanaged remains a perfect example of how not to do things, unless one desires failure and social unrest as a guaranteed result.

Not only did crime rates increase in areas where mismanagement of the influx of immigrants was rampant, Germany’s vaunted social systems were overwhelmed. It was as if Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government forgot how to count or think critically, if at all.

Put another way, no country can permit the inundation of such huge numbers of immigrants without properly preparing for such an event. Merkel’s administration never bothered to prepare itself to the degree that it should have.

While many issues have been sorted out since that time, the damage has already been done. One of the consequences for Merkel as she seeks a fourth term in office as Germany’s leader, is that her party has taken a drubbing in several subsequent state elections and voters are angry, to the point that dangerously, once again, they are even willing to embrace the extremism and xenophobia of the far right.

This is now the case in France, who has also suffered under the French government’s deliberate mismanagement of immigration issues.

Immigration follies aside, other very real concerns such as a stagnant economy, combined with a dramatic spike in terrorist attacks, have soured French voters. With the Islamofascist terrorist group the Islamic State (IS – formerly known as ISIS) making a point to try to further destabilise France and Germany because they remain easily vulnerable to acts of terrorism and represent the two strongest pillars of the European Union, these diverse yet interrelated factors have combined to form the problems of today.

Emmanuel Macron now claims to be a ‘centrist,’ he has retooled and marketed himself as such. He paid off the French government to buy out his contract so he could quit his job in Hollande’s administration and run for office as a politician.

Macron’s major policies can be summed up as follows: he wants France to become an even stronger partner in the European Union, he proposes helping Greece with its financial problems and doesn’t want to see them leave the EU; says he is ‘tough’ on terrorism, yet believes that France as a nation can absorb many more immigrants and do it responsibly. He also wants to relax business and banking regulations, claims he can grow the French economy and pass reforms that will make it efficient.

No one seriously believes this last claim for the only reason that matters: there is too much inertia in French society for genuine reforms, as long as the bureaucracy continues to enjoy the spoils, it will be loathe to change.

Le Pen
Marine Le Pen is simply the latest right wing extremist to rise up to the top ranks of her family’s infamous political party. In the past, French voters have supported the Le Pen family across the nation outside of their typical demographic strongholds just to upset the politicians in all other major parties.

This time, however, voters seem far more serious. To have any credible chance of preventing Le Pen from becoming France’s first female President of the Fifth Republic, Macron will need the help of some of his now defeated political allies unless Le Pen implodes herself the way that Hillary Clinton was a master at.

Every time Le Pen opens her mouth about Jews for example, and France’s role in the Nazi Holocaust against them or long entrenched and inexcusably real historic anti-Semitism in France against Jews, she gets into trouble and dips in the polls.

Le Pen’s positions can be summed up as France first, France second, France third, and only France. She claims that if she is elected, she will hold a ‘Frexit’ referendum, and ask the French people whether they want to remain in the European Union or leave it. She is anti-immigration, also claims to be ‘tough’ in fighting against terrorism.

Unless Macron stumbles, he will pull out a victory over Le Pen in the final election for President, because Le Pen will do something stupid to undermine her perceived credibility.

Moreover, voters who cast their ballots for the rest of the losing earlier round candidates, will now reluctantly get behind Macron and vote for him because they dislike the idea of Le Pen being President, even more.

Regardless of who becomes France’s next President, they will have inherited a mess. The sluggish French economy and its entrenched bureaucracy are very much on voters’ minds, in addition to the hot button issues of immigration and of course terrorism.

The fact that these two candidates are now all who is left for French voters to choose from to elect their next President proves that the populace is polarized, just like it is in the United States of America, Great Britain now, and Germany. This polarization in the USA played a huge role in getting billionaire Donald Trump elected to the White House.

For France, unlike the USA, is it not a political outsider versus the political insider. For France has no rough equivalent to Hillary Clinton. Instead, it is just two political outsiders now, with the word ‘outsider’ meaning a fringe political candidate as epitomised by Marine Le Pen.