CNN has said the similarity between the French presidential election and the U.S. presidential election is “frightening” as they predict Marine Le Pen’s polling numbers could be much higher than current polls indicate.The U.S. presidential election in 2016 saw more than its fair share of twists and turns, ultimately leading to an electoral college victory for President Donald Trump. CNN claims the French election is looking similar in many ways as establishment candidates like Republican François Fillon and Socialist party Benoit Hamon are pushed out of the race.
The piece, which was written by David A. Andelman, claims that French media is behaving much like U.S. media did in the run-up to the election, “effectively baptising one of the two leading candidates the winner even before the first ballot is cast”.
French newspaper Le Monde asked readers: “What would the first months of an Emmanuel Macron presidency look like?” which Andelman said evoked U.S. media who claimed that Hillary Clinton could not lose. Some outlets like the Huffington Post gave her a 98.2 per cent chance to win on election day.
Andelman claims the two front runners, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, are both “alarming”. Le Pen because she wants to remove France from the European Union and the euro, as well as tackle Islamisation, and Macron because “he has no party machine behind him to back him in any tough battle in the National Assembly”.
Most polls indicate a tie between Macron and Le Pen in the first round. But CNN says the polls are faulty and predicts Le Pen will likely have a much larger turnout, claiming many of Le Pen’s supporters do not talk to media and do not spend time online where most of the French polling is conducted.
Scandals have also been a major factor for candidates like Fillon who has been mired in accusations of financial corruption. Le Pen, Andelman claims, “seems largely immune to every scandal”, and compared her to President Trump saying she is “rather like someone else who was declared out of the race more than once”.
Finally, Andelman touched on the narrative of “fake news” and Russian involvement which many in the U.S. media said had a hand in the loss of Hillary Clinton. Citing the recent meeting between Le Pen and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, he said Le Pen was the “favoured candidate” of the Kremlin and “Russian hackers” were spreading “fake news” to help her.
The first round of the French presidential election will take place on 23 April, followed by a second round between the first and second place candidates on 7 May.