The French People have spoken. In the tradition of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, they elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, the youngest French President in history, who soundly defeated Arch Conservative Marine Le Pen, known for her strong anti-immigrant xenophobia and anti-European Union beliefs. And Liberals around the world have enjoyed a collective sigh of relief.
Macron’s victory comes at the end of a long and tumultuous political campaign, during which both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump weighed in: President Obama officially threw his hat in the ring behind Macron, while President Trump unofficially offered support to Le Pen by praising her policies, abilities and character.
It’s hard not to compare the French Elections to the U.S. Presidential Elections in November, 2016. Both races pitted centrist candidates with more traditionally liberal views (Clinton and Macron) against extreme right wing populists with strong anti-immigration stances. And both elections featured e-mail hacking scandals affecting the liberal candidates.
But while Clinton failed to make her case to the American People, Macron made his case to the French People with resounding success, capturing 65% of the vote—-a true electoral mandate. Of course, Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote by a small margin, losing thanks to the anachronistic electoral college system that’s unique to the U.S. system. But the relative strength and popularity of Emmanuel Macron in France can’t be denied.
While Clinton represented the old, tired status-quo to many Americans, Macron, in contrast, represented youth, vigor and optimism, capturing the minds and hearts of a significant majority of French voters, even after several devastating terrorist attacks have made many French citizens wary of immigrants and immigration policies. For the times, this is a significant achievement.
Learn more about Emmanuel Macron’s victory (France24)