Apr 21, 2017

How Trump and Brexit could predict the French elections

Michel Euler / AP

With the Islamic State claiming responsibility for the shooting death of a policeman on Paris' iconic Champs-Élysées just ahead of Sunday's first-round French elections, social media and commentators see a change in the voting atmosphere that could benefit the far-right populist Marine Le Pen.

Why it matters: If she won the runoff May 7, it would be a seismic manifestation of the global populist and nationalist trends that propelled Trump and the Brexit.

On the Twitters: "Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!" Trump tweeted this morning.

Axios' Shane Savitsky says she could win, and notes she has promised a referendum to leave the EU:

  • "If Trump's victory taught us anything, it should be that Le Pen certainly might win the French presidency. But Trump taught us something else — talking the talk is easy, but following through once in power can be much harder. Le Pen's call to destroy the 'anti-democratic monster' of the EU works well as a sound bite, but implementing it won't be easy."
  • For one thing ... Frexit would be more difficult than Le Pen lets on because France's participation in the EU is codified in its constitution.

Axios' Steve LeVine, a longtime foreign correspondent for the big papers, sees a "better than 50-50 chance" LePen goes all the way, based partly on the "rule of threes" following the upset victories for Trump and Brexit. Steve emails me:

  • A wild card: "The first round is a tight race among four candidates, and one of them — Jean-Luc Mélenchon — is every bit [the firebrand] as Le Pen, only from the far left. It's conceivable that the second round will pit [them] against one another. Like Le Pen, Mélenchon threatens to abandon the euro — which would likely lead to a collapse of the unifying monetary union. In addition, Mélenchon vows to quit NATO, the IMF and the World Trade Organization."
  • The takeaway: "These positions are why the French election ultimately is more important to the U.S. than Brexit."

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to less than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 5,401,701 — Total deaths: 345,060 — Total recoveries — 2,149,407Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 1,643,238 — Total deaths: 97,720 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

President Trump doubled down on his push to reopen schools, tweeting late Sunday: "Schools in our country should be opened ASAP."

Zoom in: Trump pushed back on NIAD Director Anthony Fauci cautioning against the move earlier this month, calling his concerns "not an acceptable answer."