The French presidential elections took place this year. It could have been the fact that I have been checking the news more frequently the past few years, but I felt that this particular French election had a lot more media coverage and attention than the past ones. In fact, looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read any coverage about any French elections in past 19 years. Maybe it was due to the lovely results of our own presidential election and the French election was seen as a beacon of hope that not all is lost. Or maybe it was the fact that two unique candidates made it to the second round: a centralist who could become the youngest French President or a far-right nationalist. There was a lot of attention on the French election.
While I followed the run-off election through the news outlets, I didn’t know much about Macron’s and Le Pen’s stances on various issues. I did know that Macron was more of a centralist candidate who believed in being a part of the EU and being more welcoming to immigrants and refugees while Le Pen was more of a nationalist, wanting to massive decrease legal immigration, remove all illegal immigrants, and ban wearing Muslim headscarves in public. I was surprised that Macron won with such a large margin; his percentage was nearly double of Le Pen’s.
I was shocked to learn that the French had their lowest voter turnout in years, and yet that percentage was still higher than the voter turnout in the United States 2016 presidential election. While I understand some people use not voting as a form of protest for not likely either candidate, I believe that as a citizen of a country, it is a person’s civic duty to vote. I know there were many people who didn’t vote either because they didn’t register in time or didn’t want to. I think if we want to have a higher voter turnout, we should use the French as an example since they hold their election on a Sunday where the majority of people don’t have work. Honestly, I don’t how I feel about our use of the electoral college. While I understand why the founding fathers felt that it was necessary to have, it really can affect voter turnouts. If one lives in a historically Republican or Democratic state and belongs to the minority party, they might feel that their vote doesn’t matter since whether or not they vote their state electoral votes will still go to the same party. Anyways, that is enough of my political ramblings. Congratulations to France!