Emmanuel Macron, who leads the runoff for French president, met with union leaders today in a Whirlpool factory that is scheduled to close and move to Poland, all in an attempt to strike at his rival's political heartland in northern France. But his plans went awry and turned into a chaotic, hour-long back-and-forth with jeering workers when far-right leader Marine Le Pen got there first and promised to keep the plant open — giving hope to the 300 employees whose jobs are under threat.
Strategically speaking: Le Pen is a far more skilled campaigner than the more robotic Macron and she's showing why she remains a formidable threat to Macron in the May 7 election. While virtually all of France's establishment has now endorsed Macron, that is a similar scenario to what preceded Brexit and Donald Trump's respective triumphs. The next political polls will be important.
Why it's important: After Brexit and Trump, the French election is the third major opportunity for western voters to decide whether to maintain the post-war political and economic framework, or to bust it up. Macron favors the former, and Le Pen the latter.