- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Oh, France, which way will you go? Freedom hangs in the balance — freedom, individual rights, sovereignty, the fate of borders, yay, even the fate of the entire French culture. And which presidential candidate voters select will set the course for France for years to come.

America just faced such a choice. The campaigns of the two nations are so similar, it’s uncanny — starting with the latest headliners from France.

France’s Emmanuel Macron just this week struck a harsh tone against Front National voters, labeling them, as Breitbart noted, “anti-France” and “true enemies.”

Front National voters are Marine Le Pen’s crowd — the crowd favoring tighter borders, immigration controls, preservation of France culture and the like, the crowd expressing utter dismay at what’s perceived as an overrun of the country with refugees from mostly Muslim nations and the ensuing loss of French culture.

Macron’s peeps?

Much more moderate in tone.

This is what Macron just had to say about Front National types: “Powerful, organized, skillful, determined. You pass them in the streets, in the countryside or on the web, most often well hidden. As hateful as they are cowardly. You know them. The party of the agents of the disaster, the fearmongerers. The French far-right. It’s here.”

Recognize the rhetoric?

Hold the phone, just for a moment.

By contrast, Le Pen put out at a rally in April, The New York Times reported: “Just watch the interlopers from all over the world come and install themselves in our home. They want to transform France into a giant squat. But it’s up to the owner to decide who can come in. So our first act will be to restore France’s frontiers.”

That call was met with cheers from the crowd, cheers that went like this: “This is our home!”

It’s Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump, across the ocean.

While Le Pen’s insisting on tighter borders, curbs on immigration, and fighting off accusations of racism, Macron’s waging his battle on “deplorables.”

Look at his rhetoric, at his most recent speech.

“[National Front backers] use anger, they propagate lies,” he said. “For decades, they have fanned hatred, fomented divisions, imposed their discourse of discrimination.”

And Clinton, in the midst of her own — failed — campaign?

She labeled those in the Republican party who opposed her policies “racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic” — a general “basket of deplorable,” unworthy of political representation.

Key word above: failed.

Another similarity between the campaigns?

Macron’s consistently leading Le Pen in the polls — just as Clinton led Trump, up to the very last minute. But the margins are narrowing — just as with the Clinton-Trump face-off. Interesting connections, yes?

And here’s one more: Le Pen’s messaging about terrorism and the need to protect France from further Islam-tied attacks has been consistent, bold, politically incorrect — and dead-on, just like Trump’s. That France was just hit by another Islamic terrorist is only giving voters another reason to pick Le Pen, not Macron. And watch: If Le Pen wins, the media and the left will express utter shock and dismay — just like in America, when Election Day ended and the votes were in for Trump, not Clinton.

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