French far-left is about to blow the chance to defeat globalism in presidential race
By: Rachel Marsden
PARIS — In the wake of the first of two rounds of French presidential
election voting, the far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who tightly
followed second place, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen to just miss qualifying
for the run-off against incumbent President Emmanuel Macron, has done something
akin to Che Guevara calling on his loyal supporters to back John F. Kennedy. The
France Insoumise candidate has instructed his backers not to give “one single
vote” to the one person polls now indicate is likely able to beat incumbent
global elite golden boy, President Emmanuel Macron.
It hardly came as a surprise that Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally candidacy scored a second place 23.2 percent (against Macron’s 27.8 percent), benefiting from a 6 percent increase as a result of the total implosion of the establishment right-wing party, Les Républicains, which most closely resembles its similarly named American counterpart and was once the party of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who refused to even endorse its awkwardly bourgeoise candidate, Valerie Pécresse). Macron’s own score increased by 6 percent over his performance in the 2017 election as a result of the establishment right-wing voters’ distaste for Pécresse. The conventional left and right parties garnered a total of just 6.6 percent between them. That’s one of the two main stories of the election so far: the disappearance of the conventional right-left ideological paradigm in favor of one that pits Macron’s establishment candidacy against anti-establishmentarians.
The second big story was the far-left surge in the waning days of the race, with far-left Mélenchon winning 22 percent of the vote, almost beating Le Pen nationally and also nearly winning the city of Paris over Macron in what appears to be a protest vote by citizens of the capital against the status quo.
Mélenchon and Le Pen have a lot in common. Both want France to wriggle free from its European Union straitjacket. They want to pull France out of NATO in favor of a more neutral, independent, and sovereign posture for the country vis-à-vis Russia and the U.S. Both candidates are considered much closer to the average French citizen — their daily concerns and challenges — than Macron or other establishment party representatives.
If Mélenchon could bring himself to prioritize workers’ rights over his incessant and heavy-handed race-related virtue-signaling, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see the far right and left unite ahead of the second round to mount an anti-establishment grand coalition against Macron. After all, this is the same French president who trampled all over Mélenchon’s beloved workers’ rights with mandatory COVID jab mandates, which have left many unemployed. Mélenchon has also consistency criticized Macron for his approach to Yellow Vest protesters who had hit the streets every Saturday for months objecting to Macron’s gas tax increase to fuel his climate change agenda on the backs of the average worker and, more generally, a perceived increase in cost of living.
It would have been at least consistent with his “man of the working people” image for Mélenchon to refrain from giving voting direction to his supporters ahead of the final round. But instead, Mélenchon did precisely the opposite. He took to the stage in the wake of the first round and repeatedly called on his supporters to vote against Le Pen. Not all of his supporters plan to follow, however, with 23 percent of them vowing to back Le Pen anyway, according to an IFOP poll.
While 33 percent of them vow to back Macron, it’s the 44 percent of Mélenchon voters who plan to abstain from voting in the second round (the highest figure of any party) that’s truly heartbreaking for those who were hoping to see France reclaim its sovereignty from supranational special interests and a government whose decisions are increasingly top-down rather than democratically bottom-up.
While Mélenchon’s support of Le Pen in a populist pact to clean out the corridors of power before getting back to having their hands around each other’s necks would have put Le Pen over the top in the second round, it doesn’t mean that Le Pen still can’t beat Macron anyway. IFOP currently predicts a Macron victory of 51 percent to Le Pen’s 49 percent. Abstention and undeclared voters are going to make all the difference. And if Le Pen does pull off a win, she just may have fellow far-right candidate, Eric Zemmour (7.1 percent in first-round voting), to thank, with 76 percent of his backers indicating their preference for Le Pen with only 4 percent of them favoring Macron.
Mélenchon and his supporters should think carefully over the next two weeks about what they want their legacy to be. They can either go down in history as virtue signaling-obsessed footnotes at a time when France was at a major crossroads in its history, or they play the starring role in saving France from out-of-control globalism. It’s what the French have been screaming for overwhelmingly with their voting choices in this election. But can the far-left put other differences aside and listen to them?
COPYRIGHT 2022 RACHEL MARSDEN