Moving to the Mainstream: Far Right Populist Rhetoric in France and the United States

Presentation author(s)

Emily Kratz ’21, Normal, Illinois

Majors: Political Science; French


The last several decades have seen a rise in populist movements around the world, and especially a rise in right wing populist rhetoric in the past two decades since 9/11. Particularly in the context of the election and presidency of Donald Trump in the United States and the growing anti-European Union sentiment not only in the United Kingdom following the referendum to exit the EU but also in a variety of other European states, among them the Netherlands, Hungary, and France, the topic of right-wing populism and its implications has resurfaced for political scientists.

What are the similarities and differences between the populist rhetoric of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, the leading right wing populist in France? This comparative project reviews the literature on populism, far right political parties, and far right populist rhetoric to examine how such rhetoric has entered the mainstream political discourses since 2001. The goal is not to explain the electoral successes or failures of populist candidates and/or parties for either state, but rather to describe how far right rhetoric has shaped political debates and political parties. The presentation will include considerations about party structure and the role of the media in answering the research question.


Rachel Ellett

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