Europe'selections; Recent Elections in France and the United Kingdom, with More to Come in the Next Few Months, Bring Important Consequences for the United States. Unfortunately, Press Coverage Here Has Either Been Scarce or Inadequate, Leaving Americans in the Dark about What Is Really Going on across the Atlantic. [Derived Headline]

By Bolton, John | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 14, 2017 | Go to article overview

Europe'selections; Recent Elections in France and the United Kingdom, with More to Come in the Next Few Months, Bring Important Consequences for the United States. Unfortunately, Press Coverage Here Has Either Been Scarce or Inadequate, Leaving Americans in the Dark about What Is Really Going on across the Atlantic. [Derived Headline]


Bolton, John, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Recent elections in France and the United Kingdom, with more to come in the next few months, bring important consequences for the United States. Unfortunately, press coverage here has either been scarce or inadequate, leaving Americans in the dark about what is really going on across the Atlantic.

While France's presidential election (the second round of voting was May 7) received coverage, it was highly superficial, providing little insight regarding the equally important parliamentary elections scheduled for June 11 and 18.

And the outcome of Great Britain's stunning local elections on May 4 went almost unnoticed despite their clear implications for the U.K.'s June 8 nationwide vote for the House of Commons.

Moreover, German national elections fall on Sept. 24, and Italy could hold elections later this year or in early 2018.

The European Union remains in serious trouble, suffering from widespread voter discontent across the continent for its remoteness and lack of democratic accountability. Troublesome, divisive issues like international terrorism, migration from the Middle East, the faltering common currency and increasing Russian assertiveness in Eastern and Central Europe have sapped Europe's energy and willingness to work effectively with America on global threats.

In France's election, Marine Le Pen's Front National party lost the second round by a substantial, larger-than-expected margin. The FN suffered from earlier, unrealistically high predictions from many commentators that she could conceivably win the presidential runoff against former socialist cabinet member Emmanuel Macron. Nonetheless, she nearly doubled the vote her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, received in the 2002 runoff when he lost to President Jacques Chirac by an 82- to 18-percent margin.

Expectations overstated

The commentators' expectations (fears, really) that Le Pen could win were overstated to begin with. Similarly, the elation of the same commentators and pro-EU political elites that Le Pen's defeat means that her issues and supporters can now be disregarded is equally misplaced.

Despite the entire French establishment uniting against her, Le Pen's appeal to voters reached across the political spectrum. While much of Le Pen's platform is highly objectionable (not least, her traditionally French dirigiste economic policy), her improvement on her father's performance shows that the FN (even if now renamed) has not only not faded, it has become a major player in French politics.

In the crucial upcoming parliamentary elections, Le Pen faces a critical test to translate her support at the presidential level into seats in France's parliament. …

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Europe'selections; Recent Elections in France and the United Kingdom, with More to Come in the Next Few Months, Bring Important Consequences for the United States. Unfortunately, Press Coverage Here Has Either Been Scarce or Inadequate, Leaving Americans in the Dark about What Is Really Going on across the Atlantic. [Derived Headline]
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