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The 2017 election cycle in France and the Netherlands featured candidates widely defined as politically extreme rapidly gaining traction as Election Day approached. Though neither Marine Le Pen of France nor Geert Wilders of the Netherlands were victorious in their bids to lead their respective nations, their second-place finishes led many to question how to typify this growing base of support for politically extreme candidates. As targets of their charged rhetoric felt increasingly threatened by their momentum, even after the elections, many seek to understand which underlying issues motivated support for candidates with such unprecedented views. In the context of their modern political histories, this paper searches for a possible association between economic insecurity and support for politically extreme candidates in the 2017 election cycle, finding a strong association in France and a tenuous association in the Netherlands.
2017 election cycle, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, economic inequality, political extremism, anti-Islam policy, anti-EU policy
Date Posted: 24 October 2017