The Atlantic

How Populism Took Root in France

It’s not about the rise of the far right. It’s about the collapse of both left and right.
Source: Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

The idea that politicians operate on a spectrum, with the right on one end and the left on the other, originated with the French Revolution, when royalists sat on the right side of the National Assembly and revolutionaries on the left. So it’s only fitting that, 228 years later, France is at the forefront of a phenomenon on display in many democracies at the moment: the crumbling of left-right politics.

Of the four leading candidates in France’s presidential election, the first round of which takes place on Sunday, only one hails from a traditionally dominant left- or

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readScience
The Y Chromosome's Still-Uncharted Regions
Fifteen years ago this April, scientists announced that the human genome sequence was complete. I regret to inform you this is not true.   If you have been misled, it is because many scientists themselves have long ignored the last unassembled region
The Atlantic6 min readScience
Why Are There Suddenly So Many Nor'Easters?
Wednesday is the first full day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but you wouldn’t know it on the U.S. East Coast. A huge, ponderous snowstorm is lurching its way up the Atlantic seaboard, dumping snow from D.C. to Boston. More than two inches pe
The Atlantic3 min read
Steven Soderbergh's Unsane Is a Paranoid Nightmare
Shot entirely on an iPhone, the film sees a woman, played by Claire Foy, committed to a mental hospital against her will.