As France enters an election season amidst years of double-digit unemployment and near-zero economic growth, far-left politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon is making large gains against the race's frontrunners. From his Socialist track record to his welcoming views on immigration, Mélenchon is being called France's “Bernie Sanders" and there's a lot of buzz around his threat to the French establishment. His leading opponent, Marine Le Pen, is championed by the alt-right and has run her campaign on a Trump-esque platform of isolationism, racism, and fear mongering.
With the first round of French Presidential elections on April 23, here's why Mélenchon should be on your radar.
Left-leaning politics aren't all he has in common with Bernie Sanders.
“Mélenchon does have some things in common with Sanders; at 65, he is the oldest of all 11 candidates in the race has a long reputation for railing angrily against the cloistered political elite,” Time reports. “His platform too includes scrapping free-trade agreements with the U.S. and Canada.”
In fact, he's widely regarded as even more radical than Sanders.
After joining the Socialist Party in 1976, Mélenchon accumulated three decades of experience in Socialist politics and eventually founded the Unsubmissive France party in 2016. He supports "taxing incomes above €400,000 at 100 percent, hiking public spending and cutting the workweek to 32 hours per week, as well as withdrawing France from NATO and adopting a pacifist foreign policy," according to Mic. He also defends the legalization of marijuana and is pro-immigration.
Oh, and he created a video game where you can "fight capitalism."
Mélenchon's video game Fiscal Kombat lets you beat up French politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy and Christine Lagarde.