While the progressive left most certainly exists in the United States and comes into mainstream media on occasion, over the past few elections we have seen a strong inclination towards empowering centrist candidates and moderates: a result of America’s insistence of maintaining a two party system. This two party system between the Republicans and Democrats has essentially polarized politics, making key issues have only two perspectives on how to combat it. Consequently, polarization and politicization of national crises have been a political phenomenon ingrained in our electoral system.
What France, and many other democratic countries, have gotten right is their openness to a multi-party system in which their voting process allows for various parties to be present in its legislative, judicial and even executive branches. Creating new political parties is common, grassroot campaigns are expected, and having representation from all corners of the political spectrum is inherent. Consequently, both the progressive left and the far right of France have their appropriate representation within French political society. This becomes evident in the expanse of social safety nets, which when not limited to a bipolar system become much more popular among constituents, and the number of candidates from a diverse range of parties running for positions within the French government.
Leaking into the 2022 Presidential election within France, the current cast of presidential candidates represents parts of French society that could never be accurately represented by America’s bipolar system. What we see in France today is the existence of differing political thought all being offered equal opportunity to take or rather share the stage. Candidate Melenchon goes as far as to actively call for a constitutional redrafting of the current French republic so as to introduce and institutionalize widespread progressive legislature that is directly voted by today’s French people. Alternatively, candidate Zemmour, leader of his own party, represents France’s far right that has placed immigration, anti-crime and nationalization as its forefront politics. Meanwhile, there exists 10 other candidates; all representatives from parties ranging from the far left to the far right.
What I have seen consequently, is mass support being built up for Melenchon’s sixth republic idea and widespread political mobilization to discuss nearly each candidates’ platforms on a public scale debate. Regardless of whether Melenchon wins election, France’s electoral system has placed his progressive left policies on the front stage of modern French politics, while simultaneously exposing France’s far right for their actual stances and demographics. This transparency of the political ideology of the French population is inherent towards social cohesion and the formation of policy that accurately meet the needs and demands of its people. Abstention from votes has been an increasingly large problem in France, as is already an issue for American politics, which has been consistently addressed by candidates in this round. The flow of this presidential election simply is something that cannot be possible, and has not been previously evident, in our American system. While American politics seems so focused on achieving compromise through bipolarity and stagnant politicization. French politics seems far more focused on representation and debate. The results, we can see, are a history of progression, change and social safety policy. It is absolutely imperative for the American public to realize this cycle we have been stuck in, in which our inability to find representation beyond a bipolar system that can only work on maintaining the status quo has manifested in a government that regardless of whether is run by Republicans or Democrats is always subject to the same slow bureaucracy that empowers itself while maintaining a constant stream of suppression of its constituents political demands.