Songbirds flitted among the redbud trees. The wind tickled yellow flowers in fields of rapeseed. The medieval church clock clanged on the hour.
Otherwise all was still in this one-boulangerie town in the French countryside when Marine Le Pen strode to the lectern and, with the unwavering force of a freight train, vowed to save the country on behalf of its forgotten young.
“Our youth are in despair,” the 48-year-old thundered. “I will be the voice of the voiceless.”
Two-thirds of the way back in an overflow crowd, Adrien Vergnaud knew instantly that the leader of France’s far-right National Front was speaking for him. The joblessness, the migrants, the terrorism. She was the only one who cared.
Without her, said the tautly muscled 25-year-old construction worker, his troubled country has “no future.”
But with the backing of young voters like Vergnaud, Le Pen may become the next president of France.
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