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The French Far Right
How Le Pen Could Lose

The Front National’s victory in the first round of local elections this weekend made headlines everywhere—including in our pages. But a new poll suggests that the French establishment strategy for defeating the FN—its “firewall”—may be formidable in the second round. In the wake of the Socialists’ decision to withdraw their candidates from the second round and urge their voters to support the center-Right, the polls spell trouble for the FN. Reuters reports:

In the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, Le Pen would win 47 percent of the vote while former minister Xavier Bertrand with the conservative Republicains would get 53 percent, the TNS Sofres-OnePoint poll showed.

In the southern Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, Le Pen’s niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen would get 46 percent against 54 percent for Christian Estrosi, the conservative mayor of the Riviera city of Nice.

The National Front’s gains in the first round came largely at the expense of the ruling Socialists, who have called on their candidates to pull out of the elections in the two regions as well as an eastern region to increase the chances of the National Front losing.

The poll found that 77 percent of left-wing voters in the two regions planned on voting for the conservatives and only 14 percent expected to abstain from voting.

Following the weekend’s results, we noted that, “Historically, France’s centrist parties have counted on [the FN’s] ugliness to push voters towards them, betting that on the second round of ballots (which in this case come next week) voters would gravitate to whichever of them remained as the only acceptable alternative to the FN.” It looks like that bet may hold again, at least in some places. Keep an eye on two things as the process progress: how bad the breaches of the firewall are, and whether the centrist parties appear to learn anything from the FN’s gains in the first round this time around.

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  • Andrew Allison

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in these poll results. As TAI has noted, political poll results have been wildly misleading of late. In the case of France, people are even more likely that usual to not to admit that they plan to vote for the “dreadful” FN. I think that the political establishments of both Europe and the US underestimate how disgusted the voters are with them.

    • vepxistqaosani

      Exactly the comment I was about to make.

      But I would much, much rather believe in the polling. If we’re right about the source of the recent inaccuracies, we could very well soon have a President Trump.

      • Jim__L

        Do you think that Paul Ryan doesn’t have what it takes to stand up to executive overreach on the part of a President Trump?

        This is not a rhetorical question, I don’t know the answer and I think the answer would be very, very interesting.

        • CapitalHawk

          The question is whether Paul Ryan would risk blowing up the Republican Party. If he were to go to “war” with a sitting Republican President – Donald Trump or not – I think it would very likely blow up the Republican Party. Better to risk suffering in a couple of elections and retaining your base voters than to blow it up for all time.

          • Jim__L

            Showing the presidency far too much deference is a large part of the problem. I would argue that attitude needs to change.

            I do not believe that allowing a Democrat to win the presidency while the presidency is so intoxicated with power, would be tolerable. Unless Congress is willing to break the authoritarian overreach of the president — and they have showed no willingness to do so with Obama — that position must be kept out of the hands of Democrats. Period.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, that’s the conservative plan. Too bad the top three front-runners, Trump, Cruz and Carson, have not shown themselves to be very credible on either temperament or policy. We on the left already know the problems with the GOP approach to life. We are hoping your current-favorite fellows are convincing the middle of what we already know.

          • Boritz

            credible on either temperament or policy

            FBI investigation of illicit, unsecured email server

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thin gruel as your flag-bearers go more and more nuts in public.

          • Jim__L

            FG, Hillary deserves to be in prison for doing what she did with state secrets. The idea that you can dismiss this as “thin gruel” shows you have taken leave of your senses.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I simply believe the 2016 election is going to be about policy, not some off-point (off the point of POLICY) gripes.

          • Jim__L

            If terrorism is a point of policy, then this is a point of policy. Exposing the sort of secrets Clinton exposed degraded our capabilities to the point we were not able to prevent 9/11.

            She belongs in prison, and she’s not the only one.

          • FriendlyGoat

            No, policy is fiscal, social and judicial. It is not just another discussion of terrorism.

          • Tom

            Cruz has a better temperament and better policy than Clinton ever had. And this is not a compliment to Cruz.

          • FriendlyGoat

            And yet, they say the Republican Party is planning for the possibility of a brokered convention to nominate SOMEONE ELSE next summer in the event those pesky voters favor either Trump or Cruz. They evidently believe the general-election voters will choose Mrs. Clinton if they allow themselves to be stuck with either Trump or Cruz.

            BTW, you may know there has been a very famous black youngster (13 yr old) named C.J. Pearson who had five million online followers for his Internet speeches against Obama and for Cruz. It made regular national print news yesterday that he abruptly switched sides and now supports Bernie Sanders. He had 5 million followers on the right and made a U-turn anyway. I LOVE IT.

          • Tom

            “They evidently believe the general-election voters will choose Mrs. Clinton if they allow themselves to be stuck with either Trump or Cruz.”

            Oh come now FG. You believe the Republican party establishment to be power-hungry apparatchiks, and both Trump and Cruz are not members thereof. Of course they wouldn’t want power to slip from them.

            As to your second paragraph, irrelevant. Unlike some people, I give no cares for celebrities.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “Of course they wouldn’t want power to slip from them.” Indeed.
            They are beginning to look very nervous that their voter base has no idea what it is doing—-and, “Good Heavens! Our tax cut and deregulation agenda could go poof:”

            I think it’s a big deal that a bunch of older conservatives were following a 13-year-old black youngster and admiring his audacity to have speechy fits against Obama—–and suddenly—-he flipped on them. You can call him a celebrity. I think he was a trend-setter and now is a much-improved trend setter. He used to say WHY he was for Cruz. Now he says WHY he is for Sanders.

          • Tom

            I never heard of the kid.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Try Google.

          • Tom

            I don’t deny his existence; I just deny his importance.

          • John Morris

            What do you mean IF he were to go to war. He, along with most of the establishment, have already declared war on Trump. I fully expect the Republican Party, National Review, the WSJ Editorial Page and Fox News to jointly endorse Hillary Clinton for President before this election is over.

            There is precedent. The Republican Party endorsed Edwin Edwards for Governor of Louisiana over David Duke after Duke won our crazy open primary. They distributed bumper stickers with “This time vote for the crook. It is important.” (Edwards was already on the long road to a Federal Pen, it was only a matter of time. Louisiana politics is ‘colorful.’) Or look what they recently did in Mississipi’s Senate race to keep Thad from losing to a Tea Party challenger.

            No, it is quite clear the Republican leadership would greatly prefer Granny C to Trump.

          • Tom

            The Republican party electing David Duke would have damaged it on the national stage, and probably finished it in Louisiana for years.
            The GOP has done stupid things before. That was smart.

          • CapitalHawk

            Tom is correct. Trying to blow up Trump if he has won the nomination of the Republican Party for President would be a whole nother thing.

          • John Morris

            Oh I agree. That one pretty much had to be done. Duke wasn’t even a Republican, more like Bloomburg in NY who jumped for tactical reasons. I’m just glad I happened to be living in TX at that moment in time and didn’t have to vote in that fiasco. I got to got to vote for W when their election came around. (LA is out of sync with pretty much everyone.)

            But the precedent was set and used again to save Thad and will be used again against Trump. In fact they will make the same “damaged for years” argument for why they “have” to do it.

          • Tom

            The problem is that they wouldn’t be wrong, at least regarding Trump. The way to avert this is by voting Cruz or Rubio.

        • Boritz

          Has the GOP learned a way…

          Oh yes, this is a well worn path. In Reagan’s case it consisted of surrounding him with a cabinet and a vice president that undermined him as much as possible where his direction was not approved by the establishment.

      • Andrew Allison

        And if a majority of the electorate make him President, would that be such a bad thing? We do, supposedly, live in a democracy.

        • vepxistqaosani

          Well, yes. But then, I’m an elitist. I think the minimum requirements for a president are wisdom, intelligence, knowledge, experience, forthrightness, and eloquence.

          All the current candidates are lacking in at least two, and Hillary in five; only Trump is missing all six.

          • Andrew Allison

            Debatable. I’d suggest that the minimum requirement for being President, one which the incumbent conspicuously lacks, is the willingness to listen to advice. But the point is that if the voters decided to elect Trump, he would their choice, not yours [grin]

          • vepxistqaosani

            I would say I have that covered under ‘wisdom’; those of us who have any at all know that there are things we don’t know. (Yes, Rumsfeld’s famous comment was wise — I’ve never understood why he got such grief over it.) Nor have I ever heard our glorious president even hint that there might be something he doesn’t know.

    • Jim__L

      I wouldn’t be surprised if political polls were out-and-out lies. Look at how “fast” sexual mores are supposed to have “changed” — the fact that it’s tough to believe may be because it is not true.

      • Andrew Allison

        Yes, it’s well-established that people tend to tell pollsters what they think will make them look good in the eyes of the pollster.

        • Angel Martin

          “…people tend to tell pollsters what they think will make them look good in the eyes of the pollster.”

          or they claim to be “undecided”

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