Posted on July 3, 2024

Will the Left and Center Suppress the Right in France?

Timothy Vorgenss, American Renaissance, July 3, 2024

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The first round of the 2024 legislative elections on June 30 saw the Rassemblement National (RN, the former National Front founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen) come in first with 31 percent of the vote, followed by President Emmanuel Macron’s “Ensemble” coalition with 24 percent, and the leftist-unity Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP) at 22 percent. The Republicans — the soft-right French equivalent of the American Republicans — won 11 percent of the vote, while the Greens and other small parties picked up the remaining crumbs.

Blue-collar workers and the self-employed are still the strongest constituency for the RN. Men voted for it slightly more (34 percent) than women (29 percent). Support for the NFP, which is an uneasy coalition that runs from soft socialist to antifa, was particularly strong among 18–24 year-olds (41 percent) and 25–34 year-olds (38 percent).

Executives and professionals continue to lean more towards Macron’s center-left (which can now be considered far-left, since it has entered into electoral alliances with the NFP in order to defeat the RN) and the now essentially emasculated Republicans.

Immigration had a significant impact on the vote. The regions with the most immigrants tend to support the RN, which has traditionally promised to cut immigration. The reason for this is obvious to anyone who lives in these areas, and it has become increasingly difficult for centrists — lost in the comforts of life and entrenched in their voting habits — to pretend that immigration doesn’t matter. A study by British Politics and Policy Blog of the London School of Economics found that even a slight increase in immigrants automatically leads to a significant rise in votes for the Far Right.

The less skilled have always seen immigrants as competitors for jobs; now more French of every class see them as potential criminals. Former interior minister Gérard Collomb warned in 2018, “Today we live side by side, I fear that tomorrow we will live face to face.” At the time this appalled journalists but, of course, he was stating the obvious.

The destructive impulse of the Far Left

The Far Left is driven by what seems to be a death wish: It far prefers those who destroy to those who build, anti-growth economists to nuclear engineers, rioters to successful entrepreneurs, and environmentalist vandals to farmers.

This is reflected in its systematic support for multi-recidivist delinquents and Islamist radicals, and its resentment against anyone who is successful. It is a double-or-nothing strategy through which whites can join seething Third World resentment of the West. Many voters and even journalists are terrified by this new Far Left, which defends Hamas as a heroic Palestinian resistance movement.

The NFP’s program of 236 billion euros of additional annual spending and massive tax hikes would smother the economy, panic creditors, and bankrupt the country. Its proposals to end free trade, control rents, freeze prices, and terminate European budget-control treaties are policies that have brought misery wherever they have been tried.

The NFP’s Raphaël Arnault is an antifa candidate, known for violence. He embodies the front’s strategy of joining marginal and violent elements to the leftist cause. The NFP sees violence as a means of political mobilization, and aims to galvanize a militant base ready to take action in the streets to put pressure on democratic institutions and political opponents. It has been emboldened by decades of impunity and will back down only if real authority is restored.

The NFP also includes openly anti-Semitic representatives who attract North Africans and blacks by playing on the Palestinian cause. This strategy of “perverse virtue signaling” to show support for Third-World causes is often insincere and opportunistic. The speeches and actions of some NFP leaders show a glaring inconsistency between their erstwhile public declarations and their new-found solicitude for radical new friends.

There is a recent particularly violent rap track “No Pasarán” (Spanish for “they will not succeed”) that revels in hatred for the RN: “If the fascists come by I’m going to go out with my big caliber”; “They deserve to die”; “Marine (Le Pen) and Marion (Maréchal) are whores. Take a stick on those bitches in heat”; “Jordan (Bardella, president of the RN,) you’re dead.” Leftists are divided between those who think this is a terrible political message and those who want to see civil war.

Marion Maréchal, granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and a much stronger identitarian than her aunt, Marine, tweeted in reply: “Thank you to these rappers for the thousands of votes that their hate clip will bring us.”

The media stuck to its usual double standards. Three years ago, when “Papacito,” a civic nationalist influencer, posted a video simulating killing a voter for the Far Left, there was widespread indignation. Even symbolic violence is not admissible in democratic debate. However, reactions to the “No Pasarán” song — which promises real death to Marine Le Pen, Jordan Bardella, and Éric Ciotti (a Republican who supports the RN) — were far more circumspect.

The NFP makes strange bedfellows. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who leads the coalition, certainly flirts with anti-Semitism, yet leftist Jewish candidates such as Esther Benbassa and Raphaël Glucksmann have joined the coalition, probably attracted by the promise of an ambitious social program and in the hope of stopping the RN.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Credit Image: © Telmo Pinto/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire)

A video illustrates this dilemma: a crayfish emerges from a basket filled with seafood, thinking it has escaped to freedom — only to be instantly fried as it falls into a wok filled with boiling oil. On the campaign trail, Jewish voters call these candidates “damned traitors.”

The anti-democratic game of withdrawals

Projections clearly show the impact of electoral alliances on second-round results. If, in the first round of voting, no candidate wins an absolute majority, the surviving candidates go into a second round. These are the top two finishers, along with any other candidate who has won at least 12.5 percent of the number of registered voters in his district. In these three-way races, all parties gang up against the RN. If the NFP candidate is weaker than the Macronist candidate, he drops out of the race so that the non-RN vote will not be split. If the Macronist candidate is weaker, he drops out. Either way, the RN candidate has a much tougher fight against a united opposition.

Projections show that without an anti-RN alliance of withdrawals, the RN could win between 250 and 290 seats, with 289 giving it an absolute majority in the Assembly. However, with withdrawals, the RN gets only 200 to 230 seats.

Many see these electoral alliances — often between groups that hate each other — as profoundly anti-democratic. It cheats a significant number of voters out of proportional representation. The Macron party has finally shown its true face. It will withdraw in three-way fights to help the Far Left win. Centrist voters are beginning to realize there is no center anymore.

The respective interests of the different social categories remain similar to what they were in the days of the Jean-Marie Le Pen’s original National Front. Workers tend to vote for parties that promise greater social protection and keep out immigrants, whom they perceive as threats to their jobs. These people support the RN.

Executives and professionals often benefit from globalization and free-market policies, and so they lean towards the Macronist camp and the Republicans. They appear to care only about their savings accounts.

However, these elections revealed an interesting trend: A number of young voters are turning to the RN. This is a notable change in the political landscape.

Forty-one percent of 18–24 year-olds did vote for the Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP), while 23 percent voted RN. In the 25–34 age bracket, the NFP picked up 38 percent and the RN 28 percent. These figures show that while the Left still has the greatest hold on young voters, the RN is making significant inroads.

The RN, with its charismatic young leader Jordan Bardella, its physically attractive leaders and supporters (very important in winning votes), and constant talk of security and national identity, is producing something unprecedented. Young women wearing RN logos make dancing videos of themselves.

Mila, a young high school student who got death threats for it from young Muslims, lent her voice to a song praising forced repatriation of Arabs and blacks. Its title Je partira pas (meaning “I won’t go”) is deliberately ungrammatical, underlining the mistakes made by poorly assimilated non-whites. This kind of open racial nationalism was unthinkable just a few years ago.

The RN is now seen as an anti-establishment party, which appeals to young people disillusioned with traditional parties and the current system. They believe the RN can overturn the established order and offer new solutions. Still, the NFP remains the top draw among young voters, particularly those committed to social and environmental causes.

The centrist electorate and the middle bourgeoisie probably hold the fate of France in their soft hands. Political activists have always called them cowards because their socio-economic position lets them switch between parties according to circumstances. The RN will have to play to their versatility and to their love of money. They often vote against candidates who threaten their pocketbooks, and the only argument that will matter to them is that the greatest evil must be avoided. They must be convinced that the leftist NFP is the gateway to chaos. Advantage: The RN won’t need to lie. Still, what the centrists have in common with the Left is luxury beliefs: They have the means to believe absurd things, yet avoid their consequences.

Has France, with its three peoples — Right, Left, and Center — who hate each other, become ungovernable? If the RN wins an absolute majority, it will have to take over a country that is, in Jordan Bardella’s words, in ruins. In the unlikely event that Mr. Bardella becomes prime minister, Jean-Luc Mélenchon intends to govern through action in the streets. It’s not for nothing that he has promoted the most radical elements in the alliance by making them candidates. Is he anticipating defeat at the ballot box, the better to achieve victory by rioting?

Despite the anti-democratic coalition against it, the RN will surely have the most deputies, but probably not the 289 it needs for an absolute majority that would make Mr. Bardella an essentially obligatory choice for prime minister. What could put the party over the top would be voters’ resentment against being told to vote for candidates they don’t like for the sole purpose of keeping out a “Far Right” that more and more Frenchmen think should have a chance at power.

Even without an absolute majority, could the RN cobble together enough allies from the conservative fringe of the Republican party and a few identitarians to its right to form a government? Or could there be a self-styled “Republican Front” government, composed of the Soft Right, Socialists, Ecologists, and Greens that would have enough deputies to form a government that keeps out both the RN and the wildest lefties?

The second-round vote this Sunday might be only the beginning of a frantic round of horse-trading by groups that have always despised each other but are forced to work together in an attempt to keep the French political system from breaking down completely.