Is Le Pen ideologically a French equivalent of Trump?

  • I've heard some say that Marine Le Pen was like Trump and by voting against her the French have put the brakes on Trump-like populism.

    What are the political similarities between Le Pen and Trump?

    It should be noted as a comment that the inspiration for Le Pen (and her father) was the genesis of extreme right French nationalism in Charles Maurras. Maurras is also one of the quoted / admired idols of the Stephen Bannon & his admiration forms several cornerstones of Trump's campaign. and refer. Although they are liberal sources plenty of bi-partisan sources agree

  • user5751924

    user5751924 Correct answer

    5 years ago

    There are major differences between the French and American political culture which reflect into their respective political agendas. I am not sure their minds or political programs fully fall into the definition of "ideologies". I sum it up like this.


    • Protectionism

    • Isolationism

    • Identity politics

    • Anti-immigration

    • Anti-NATO

    • Extreme vetting or more controls on Muslims; Note that there were significant attempts by Le Pen supporters like Dieudonné and Alain Soral to appeal to French Muslim voters based on anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli rhetoric (Jean Marie Le Pen is Dieudonné's third child godfather).

    • Anti-gay wedding; although the n°2 official of the national front is openly gay. This sometimes leads to tensions in a party with a homophobic past.

    • Relationship with media


    • Marine Le Pen sometimes goes socialist (35h work week, partial nationalisation of banks, ...), sometimes full liberal (stop the family subsidies, ...) while Trump looks like a fully convinced capitalist (within the borders, as protectionism goes). Note that it wasn't always like this, the old national front was much more liberal economically. To some extent it still is when it campaigns in south eastern France, unlike when it campaigns in northern France, as shown here an article in french that discusses the differences between the socialist north and capitalist south of national front voters.

    • No gun passion in France, hence no gun passion in Le Pen

    • French people love their universal health care system. Hence Marine le Pen wants to keep it; but not for foreigners. Unlike Mr Trump's attitude towards health care

    • Marine Le Pen wants a kind of "national preference" for public employment, public housing, ... (this has been part of the national front's program for a long time, and part of why it is anti-constitutional, it goes against equality before the law). I never heard anything like this from Mr Trump.

    Sources: National Front's program, Mr Trump's positions

    I know that pinning down Trumps actual position is difficult, but Trump has supported universal health care in the past, and has spoken in support of somewhat 'socialist' ideas such as not raising retirement ages, mandated maternity leave, etc (which seems in line with right-wing populism). In practice, he doesn't seem to support any of this, but who knows if Le Pen would have. I think if we want to compare them, the best thing would be to compare their campaign, not how they actually govern (especially as this is impacted by other elements in the party, see eg health-care).

    Also worth noting that the National Front and those like them are the children of fascist groups. Their ideological roots are third way, and so not left or right. Trump is far more simplistic, like a caricature of rich America. Also, the idea that a retirement age is "socialist" is bizarre, and similarly trade protectionism isn't exactly capitalism. Autarky is closer to imperialism or fascism.

    @inappropriateCode In socialist countries, a fixed retirement age is usually linked to obtaining a state pension. It's a form of market control and re-allocation of resources, which are both things associated with socialism. I think you mis-read the point on protectionism: the OP is saying that Trump is a capitalist, with the *exception* of his view on protectionism.

    Some of this answer is ok, but some of it is just silly. IE the personalities section (blonde hair? Really? And loud mouth? Have you ever listened to a politician?).

    Could you expand on what you mean by "identity politics"? What sorts of policies/behaviors are you describing?

    @jpmc26 I interpreted that as nationalism.

    @Sumyrda It more likely has something to do with issues like homosexuality and/or racial differences; see Wikipedia to get a general sense of what it's about. But I'd still like to see it expanded into something more concrete for this answer.

    @JBentley State pensions were first introduced by governments which were not socialist. Consider the welfare reforms of 1880s Germany) (bizarrely named as they are), and the Liberal Welfare Reforms of 1910s Britain. Both governments were not socialist and were attempting to prevent socialist influence through introducing welfare systems. If a state pension is socialism then Christianity must be Islam, since our logic is so loose and fuzzy!

    @DavidGrinberg: There is a difference between Le Pen loud mouth and other politicians; she (and her father) do not mince their words. They'll call others dumb, stupid, ... This is a far cry from the normally more policed language other politicians use (in France, at least); we do not expect our presidential debate to be a place where one's laundry is aired, presidents are expected to act with decorum.

    @inappropriateCode Very good point on state pensions. She also wants to nationalise some banks, I will replace it with that.

    @DavidGrinberg I admit I was having fun while writing this point, which is irrelevent when it comes to ideas. I will remove it.

    @inappropriateCode That just runs into the tricky problem of defining "socialism" exactly; there's no consensus I've seen. Both of your examples were socialist appeasements (you even say exactly that!) - they were giving *bits* of socialism to (try and) prevent the whole-sale takeover of socialism. You need to take this in context - Socialism was this big "Third side", unified and scary ("all the Socialists of the world are united!"). There's like three different meanings of "socialist" just there in your comment - it's a tag people use wantonly, and thus not very useful for communication.

    @inappropriateCode It doesn't help that Marx and co. were great at obfuscating terms and meanings; a lot of the confused language survives to this day. This is quite common in many branches of socialism - by introducing this deliberate confusion, you make it very hard to make any serious criticism or debate on the topics; you can easily deflect criticism along the lines of "Oh, no, that's not what I meant by X; it really means Y in the context of Z." UK Liberals *started* as today's Libertarians ("Less government!"), but changed into "socialists" as the general welfare of the UK improved.

    @Luaan Tax and spend isn't socialism. Welfare isn't socialism. I don't know why this needs stated, but socialism is about public control of the means of production. That's not a no true Scotsman fallacy, that's the definition. It's like saying you're Christian but you don't believe in Jesus. That's how intellectually jarring the supposition is. On the contrary, I'm the one who finds it hard to observe what goes for serious criticism on these issues. It's a lack of basic knowledge of political philosophy with a gross simplification of terms and concepts. Not my problem.

    @Luaan "Marx and co" were actually quite cautious in their use of the terms socialism, communism, and so on, as academics and philosophers usually are. The confusion can come when a lot of different people start to implement "socialist" policies. Such authors usually state their definitions before writing anything.

    @inappropriateCode Congratulations, you have a definition. Too bad most people don't use it, isn't it? Even in Marx' time, the term was diluted beyond recognition - and while Marx did use clear enough definitions of both socialism and later communism, in the end it really only meant he *added* a new definition to the same word (you know the good old joke "It's horrible, we have 12 standards for X? We need just one! ... and now there's 13 standards."). You can say it's "not your problem", but that doesn't help communication any. Meanings of words change; I'm not happy about it, but it's real.

    @user5751924 That's sloppy wording on my part, yes. By "co", I meant all the literature that considered itself to be socialist in some capacity, not just Marx and his disciples/partners. In Marxism, socialism wasn't something you strived for - it was a historical inevitability. A true Marxist should support capitalism, since that's what leads naturally to true socialism; though he wasn't quite consistent enough to not leave plenty of "room for interpretation". Of course, Marx came a long time *after* "socialism". He re-defined the term, and hence added to the confusion.

    @Luaan "Too bad most people don't use it, isn't it?" Yeah, it is too bad most people choose to be ignorant for nothing other than laziness. For a factual example, consider the distinction between old Labour and new Labour) in Britain. Specifically Clause IV of their constitution. We cannot simply accept this post-modernist tripe where anyone can be taken seriously by using any term however they like. Political terms are deliberately misused, that this is popular does not justify it.

    "Anti-immigration" Is Trump anti-immigration?

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