How to Defeat Le Pen

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How to Defeat Le Pen

Marine Le Pen could be France’s next president. Sure, her lead in some polls exaggerates her strength before the field narrows to two candidates -- but voters’ discontent with normal politics isn’t subsiding. Failing to take the anti-immigrant, populist insurgent seriously would be a huge mistake.

For France’s sake, and Europe’s, Le Pen must be defeated. Her party’s blend of virulent xenophobia and economic statism makes Donald Trump seem moderate. But with her support still building, defeating her calls for more than a show of contempt. Her rivals need to understand why she’s so popular.

The National Front is no longer just a fringe movement of bigots and extremists. It is now a refuge for disenchanted working-class voters, the unemployed and young people unable to find their first jobs. In response to their concerns about terrorism, economic stagnation and joblessness, the party has an appealing list of scapegoats: immigrants, globalization and a corrupt establishment in Paris and Brussels.

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