They’re voting in France’s presidential runoff, and Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande is likely to prevail over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. The Guardian has a good rundown.

As for further background for those, like me, who don’t know a lot about the French election or French politics in general, I’d recommend David A. Bell’s article in TNR and Yascha Mounk’s in Slate.

The real story here is the reconfiguration of the French right. Mounk writes:

In this election, France’s establishment has embraced Islamophobic ideas to an unprecedented degree. Right-wing populism, once a fringe phenomenon, has been conquering the bastions of Europe’s political mainstream with frightening speed; even so, most observers failed to predict the extent to which anti-immigrant themes would shape this campaign. It’s difficult to know whether Europe’s populists are approaching the zenith of their power or will continue their steady rise. But one thing is certain: At no point in Europe’s postwar history has the far right’s influence been as pervasive as it is now.

Demoralizing to see how powerful a trope this is.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.