“It’s not just unpopular, but very salient,” said Ethan Winter, senior analyst at progressive think tank Data for Progress, noting that Trump flirted with a similar formula, such as when he broke with orthodoxy. conservative to defend social safety net programs. like Medicare during its 2016 campaign.
But at a time when Europe has rallied like never before to confront Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Le Pen’s ties to Putin have emerged as both a political vulnerability and a potential threat to Europe. NATO and the United Western Front against Moscow.
While Le Pen has moderated her message and tried to soften her image, backing down from plans to withdraw from the European Union, she is still calling for reconciliation with Putin and her party is still repaying a nearly $10 million loan. euros (about 12 million dollars). received from a Russian bank.
“When you talk to Russia, you talk to your banker. That’s the problem, Madame Le Pen,” Macron said during a televised debate on Wednesday evening.
Le Pen countered that she was “a totally free woman” and that she supports certain sanctions against Russia and France’s support for Ukraine.
But she said she opposes stopping Russian oil and gas imports because it would harm the French who are already suffering from rising energy prices which she attributes to an ideological and punitive push for moving too quickly to a green economy.
Imprisoned Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny urged French citizens vote for Macron, claiming on Twitter on Wednesday that Le Pen is compromised by Moscow.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also offered his support to Macron.
“Although I don’t think I have the right to influence what happens in your country, I want to say that I have a relationship with Emmanuel Macron and I wouldn’t want to lose it,” he said on Wednesday. on the French television channel BFM. “If Le Pen realizes she made a mistake, our relationship could change.”
Simon Rosenberg, the founder of the Washington-based New Democrat Network, which has advised Britain’s Labor Party and worked in European politics, said American liberals need to realize that populist-nationalist movements like those of Trump and LePen took the place of the traditional center. good parties in many Western countries.
“I don’t think people understand how much of a crisis Europe’s centre-right is in. There is no centre-right government in any major European country at the moment,” he said.
It’s very different from Le Pen’s last campaign in 2017, which followed unexpected Trump and Brexit victories, when it seemed the far right was unstoppable.
Although not currently ascendant, right-wing parties and politicians from Trump to Le Pen to Hungary’s Viktor Orban share some things that make them attractive to Putin: distrust of NATO, support for fuels fossils and skepticism towards multicultural Western democratic values. .
“Virtually all of these parties have ties to Putin,” Rosenberg said, adding that a weak Macron and Biden are good for Putin ahead of another possible Trump presidential election in 2024. This would be inflation to weaken Western political will.