Monday, December 7, 2015

Trumpist Parties Cleanup in France

As bad as things may seen in the US, they're worse on Europe. What happened in France over the weekend is truly chilling. Can Trump win in the US? Well the equivalent of the Donald Trump party of France won in a big way over the weekend.

HT: Tom Brown

"The far-right National Front’s victory in the first round of French regional elections on Sunday will have an impact far beyond the composition of local governments and the shock it will have sent through the French political establishment."

"In every single European capital, politicians will ponder the results and wonder how an anti-immigration, anti-European movement could become France’s first political party. They will also worry about what it means for Europe in a time of crisis — economic and existential."

"The National Front may take over two, three or even more French regions after a second round of voting on December 13, but for many, the damage has been done."

I complained bitterly this morning about the clear push already to bellicose language from the press post San Bernandino. If the killers hadn't been Muslims nothing like this would be happening.

But this is happening in Europe as well. In fact it's worse there where the xenophobia against immigrants and refugees is deeper than in the US.

Marine Le Pen has done some fine work in mainstreaming her father's Right wing party.

"Marine Le Pen, the National Front’s current leader and daughter of the party’s founder Jean-Marie, is reaping the rewards for her strategy of pulling the party away from the far-right fringes, ridding it of its extremist stigma, and courting the disenfranchised working class she says is being abandoned by the mainstream political parties of both right and left."

"She stands a good chance of winning and then running the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, an area more populous than 12 EU countries. Her personal victory, winning more than 40 percent of the popular vote in an industrial area that was historically a stronghold of the Communist and Socialist parties, shows how many voters have drifted away from the ruling left, after seven years of economic crisis."

"Le Pen’s niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who is seen as more conservative than her aunt, notably on social issues, did even better in the Provence region. Other leading candidates also did better than expected, showing that the party has developed a grassroots following far beyond mere adhesion to Marine Le Pen herself."

A Jeb Bush donor said he would vote for Hillary before Trump.

Something like this may be necessary to stop the National Front in France. For those who love bipartisanship, the conservatives and socialists may well have to unite to hold off the Far Right in France. 

However, just like in the US, this bipartisanship is being killed in its crib, It is asymmetric:

"Left-right may have to join forces to stop Le Pen."

"The Socialist party decided late Sunday to withdraw its candidates from the second round of voting in regions where they had finished third in the first round. It also called on voters to back conservative candidates in a week’s time in order to prevent the National Front from winning."

"That is particularly the case in the North, in Provence and in Alsace, where Le Pen’s close aide and a party vice president, Florian Philippot, came in first with 35 percent of the vote."

"The National Front could still be defeated in the second round if all or most Socialist voters decide to back the center-right. It would, however, allow Le Pen to denounce, as she has long been doing, the mainstream parties for colluding to keep her out of power."

"By pulling its candidates in the name of what has been dubbed a “Republican Front” against Le Pen, the Socialists stand in stark contrast to Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative opposition leader. Earlier Sunday, Sarkozy rejected such tactics and said he didn’t want his Les Républicain party’s candidates to withdraw, or join forces with their Socialist rivals."

"As soon as the second round is over on December 13, expect the blame game to begin on who is responsible for handing over regions to the Le Pens."

To be sure, both Hollande and Sarkozy are losers here.

"Hollande and Sarkozy are both losers."

"President François Hollande enjoyed a boost in popularity in the wake of the November 13 Paris attacks. But it mattered little on Sunday."

"The new emphasis on security questions, with calls for a tougher stand on migrants and refugees, leaves Hollande exactly where he was before: an unpopular president who seems unable to find ways to address high unemployment — which is now, for the first time, above the eurozone average."

"The defeat is also a personal one for Hollande, who when in opposition five years ago led the Socialist party to a resounding victory in local elections, with his party taking over all but one of the country’s then 21 regions."

"The French leader had remained uncharacteristically silent in recent weeks and hadn’t campaigned at all, preferring to stick to the “presidential” posture and tend to France’s international problems — especially the fight against ISIL. It had little effect."

"However, the strong showing of his popular Defense Minister Jean Yves le Drian in the Brittany region shows that members of the government seen as good at their job can still attract voters."

"But Hollande’s loss is not a win for his long-time rival Sarkozy. The former president was also one of the day’s losers."

"In many regions, long-time mainstream conservative voters deserted to Le Pen. That was the case in Provence, where Sarkozy ally Christian Estrosi pulled less than 25 percent of the vote against Maréchal-Le Pen’s 42 percent."

"Sarkozy’s strategy of tough talking in a bid to compete with the National Front’s rhetoric didn’t convince many voters."

"Eyes on the 2017 prize."

"With 18 months to go before presidential elections, the result of Sunday’s vote will be scrutinized to assess the chances of potential candidates. But even if France has become a three-party country, it’s clear that a lot could happen before May 2017."

"The preliminary results on Sunday night showed that parties from the left, including the Socialists and their fractious allies such as the Greens, received around 35 percent of the vote. The mainstream conservatives — Les Républicains and others — won between 30 and 32 percent, and the Front National won between 29 and 31 percent."

"Socialist leaders began to spin that the left is still France’s main political movement. That may show they were right to push for joint candidates in the regional elections — but illustrates their failure in convincing other parties to join them."

"The secret hope of both Socialists and conservatives is that the National Front fails at what it has never done before: wield executive power in a large region."

"The party has no experience of management, and voters will get a chance to see them raise taxes, manage budgets, sit on school boards and interact with other local and regional governments."

"Seeing the National Front at work, the other parties hope, will open the eyes of voters."

France is not the only country whose politics are a huge mess. Look at the UK which seems like Labor will never get in again with the rise of the Far Left Scottish Independence party. 

I've talked about how I think some efficacious realignment in the US may be coming thanks to the rise of Trump. However, I admit this is based on my assumption he won't win. 

I still believe that regardless of what has happened in France. But it shows you that the sea changes are not just here. Indeed, things are even rockier elsewhere. 

I've said it before. The US right now is a better place for the Center Left than Europe in terms of direction of the country. Yes, the European countries have larger welfare states, etc. But all of this is the product of a period of time that is many years in the past-the immediate postwar period.


  1. Did you see the latest?:

  2. Yes and my new post is all about that.

    Just wow. The GOP POTUS primary leader just called for ban of all Muslims