Trump, Boris, and Le Pen — When Will We Stop Being Surprised

Someone tell the media that corrupt and ineffective governments churn out extreme figures

Mitchell Peterson
5 min readApr 13, 2022


Photo by Alexander on Unsplash

‘The West’ is struggling with a far-right problem. Every country has its version at varying levels of grotesque ideology. On one hand, it wasn’t entirely surprising that the US threw up an orange monster like Trump; he was simply an unpolished version of the Republicans that came before him and has since allowed many to show their true ideology.

But we’re seeing that no European country is immune. From the chill, vino-sipping plazas of Spain to the Mediterranean seaside villages in Italy to Viktor Orban to the towns tucked in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia and the politically-storied streets of France, the far-right is on the come up.

While reporting on the polls and upcoming elections in France, our media still somehow conveys a sense of surprise that is kind of annoying to me. I don’t know that much about Macron, but I do know he is a quintessential neoliberal technocrat. He’s a Bill Clinton-Obama business-friendly center-left-ish classic politician that would have done pretty well in a Tony Blair-early 2000s era.

Unfortunately for him, he’s come at the tail end of it, and that type of politician doesn’t vibe in the post-Great Recession years with the ever-poorer working people of any nation.

And now Emmanuel is in a much-too-tight election against an unlikely challenger.

But after the Yellow Vests, COVID, and now the war in Ukraine, what has the current French president done for the working people of France? It isn’t in his ideology to actually help them but instead make promises, point to GDP figures, give a thumbs up, and say everything will be fine.

So of course, Le Pen is gaining steam.

And the media needs to stop acting so surprised every time a centrist who hasn’t done much to alleviate economic pain gets challenged by a rising demagogue who makes a political career out of exploiting that hardship and mixing it with racism and xenophobia.

On one hand, it wasn’t entirely surprising that the US threw up an orange…



Mitchell Peterson

Freelance writer who spent nine years outside the US, currently in rural America writing the Substack bestseller 18 Uncles.