The National Front’s Marine Le Pen and Republican François Fillon are fairly neck-and-neck, depending on which polls you read. So far, no one has produced any damning dirt on Le Pen, but Fillon is being investigated for paying his wife to do nothing with government money. On top of that, last year’s attacks in Nice, Paris, Valence, Magnanville, and Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray are still fresh in voters’ minds. Unless somebody uncovers that Le Pen gets her funding from Russia, she’s the populist to beat.
Then again, the populism sword is a double edged one. It also can swing to the left, like it is in Italy and Austria. Emmanuel Macron has a shot, as does the Left Front candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The Social Party’s candidate, who I refer to as Whats-His-Name, is mostly dead in the water.