Mark Steyn On The Size Of Le Pen's Victory—So Far!—”Nothing Like It Has Happened Before”
07/02/2024
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Mark Steyn knows more about French politics than I do, because he speaks French, goes to France on a regular basis, and spent some time there recently recovering from a heart attack:

In France, meanwhile, it is, as the front page of Les Echos puts it, ”La fin d’un ère” - ”The end of an era”. The paper means it in the sense that Macron is over—the dinky globalist metrosexual called his snap election to demonstrate that Marine Le Pen’s thirty-one-per-cent tally in the Euro-vote was because the citizenry use EU elections as mere protest and that in a meaningful vote for their own National Assembly they would reduce her take to something more manageable. Instead, ”Le Pen’s far-right party” increased its haul, up to thirty-four per cent.

So it may be la fin d’un ère in more than a Macronian sense. De Gaulle’s Fifth Republic was designed to straitjacket French politics into a narrow range of alternating bland left-of-centre/right-of-centre choices. Instead, under the dinky boy, the French centre has utterly imploded. In the village I chance to know best—where I spent my long post-cardiac convalescence a year-and-a-half back—(on a seventy-four per cent turnout) forty-seven per cent voted for the ”far right” and another twenty-six per cent for the hard left; that doesn’t leave a lot for the so-called ”mainstream” parties.

What will the next week bring? The French establishment is urging ”unity” against the Rassemblement National, the elites being so oblivious they think it’s still 2002 when Chirac faced off against Marine’s dad and the masses could be cajoled to ”vote for the crook not the fascist”. Mme Le Pen is not her father, and Macron is loathed by two-thirds of the electorate on a scale unknown to the merely conventionally sleazy Chirac. Legions of leftie youth, meanwhile, reacted to last night’s results in the traditional manner —doing their bit to ”save democracy” by smashing up cellphone shops:

That’ll put a dent in some storefronts, but not in Mme Le Pen’s vote. The difference between now and 2002 is the much more widespread sense that France itself is unravelling—twelve-year-old girls are kidnapped and gang-raped; Mohamed Amra and the assassination team that sprang him from prison are still at large; a few hours before polling stations opened, ”gang” members shot up a wedding in Lorraine, killing one man and wounding a pregnant woman. Scenes of French cities aflame will not do anything to diminish the rationale for the Rassemblement National. Au contraire...

Still, how Round Two will go is a tough call because nothing like it has happened before. The Fifth Republic’s voting system was created to ensure the first round eliminated all but Tweedleleft and Tweedleright. Instead, the high turnout has resulted in a record number of soi-disant ”triangulaires”—constituencies in which a third-placed party (in this case Macron’s) did well enough to qualify for the runoff. In 2017, there was just one ”triangulaire”; in 2022, there were eight; on Sunday there will be over three hundred. In the coming days, there will be a lot of horse-trading between the ”centre” and the ”left” to reduce the variables. However, down at street level, there are enough lefties who’d rather vote for Le Pen than Macron, and a few centrists who’d rather vote for Le Pen than Mélenchon.

Conversely, the system is supposed to make it difficult to win outright in the first round. Yet Mme Le Pen and some thirty-six of her colleagues did so. For purposes of comparison, at the dawn of the Macron era, in 2017, RN eventually won eight seats in the National Assembly. Last night they won five times as many on the first ballot.

So something is approaching critical mass. On the current numbers, the ”far right” would likely fall just a handful shy of a majority (289 seats) in the new parliament. Could the next seven days put them over the finish line? Certainly—especially if the most visible signs of the ”united” resistance are the despised globalist tinpot and the anarchist youth. Nevertheless, a more cautious person might bet on Mme Le Pen coming up just a wee bit short—if only because all the forces of the French elites are determined to stop her.

Whatever happens, the state of France is on them. Since Chirac, no president has won a second term—until Macron two years ago, and he only did it because by then the ”fascist” Le Pen had become leader of the opposition and the only alternative, but still with a low-ish ceiling on her vote. The ceiling has risen, remorselessly, so that last night, as last month, the ”fascists” placed first. The French people, like the Dutch and the Italians and others, keep telling their leaders they want something else, and the Euro-princelings cover their ears and go nya-nya, can’t hear you. The media’s rote descriptor of ”far right” is not really helpful in a France in which virtually the entire map other than a few seething cities has been painted RN. They’re not ”far” at all; they’re getting nearer every day, and they will be nearer still come Sunday.

Far Cries, Steynonline.com,  July 1, 2024, [Emphases added]

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