French youth are following in the footsteps of Trump’s MAGA movement

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — “What the heck is going on over there?” This has been the sentiment expressed by friends and associates outside of France as they come across news of the 63-year-old longtime French right-wing editorialist who’s now running second in many polls to incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of next April’s presidential election.

Eric Zemmour was born in one of the rougher Parisian suburbs to working-class immigrant parents of North African origin who arrived during the Algerian War. He has spilled so much ink — in books and columns — on subjects like feminism, immigration, and the impact of general leftist debauchery on the deterioration of French culture and performance that it’s a miracle he has survived legal, career, and personal jeopardy to arrive at the doorstep of the French presidency.

But glancing at Zemmour’s inaugural campaign rally last Sunday, televised nationally by the main French news networks on which Zemmour has spent the past couple of decades making his name as a commentator, it was impossible not to notice that the majority of attendees were young. The phenomenon is not unlike former U.S. President Donald Trump’s appeal to young people both during his election campaigns and throughout his entire presidency.

Conservatism has become the counterculture as western institutions have veered increasingly left, failing to fulfill their pie-in-the-sky promises.

Into that void, steps someone like Donald Trump — or Eric Zemmour.

On paper, it’s easy to misunderstand the Zemmour phenomenon — particularly if one has a stereotypical notion of France as socialist. While one can’t argue that the exorbitant taxes on productive business and individual salaries for massive redistribution to wasteful social services and bloated bureaucracies are indeed proof of socialism run amok, the French have long looked around at the global competition and have understood that their socialist system has to change. The past three presidents — Emmanuel Macron, François Hollande, and Nicolas Sarkozy — promised to affect that change. And each one, in turn, found another distraction to avoid doing the heavy lifting.

Sarkozy was bogged down by the economic crisis. Hollande focused on military interventions in Africa as terrorist attacks besieged France. And Macron has been distracted by micromanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. That covers the past nearly 15 years of French life. And in that time, a new generation has grown up and reached voting age as institutional problems exacerbate further.

They came of age under increasingly authoritarian policies starting with leftist absurdism imposed in schools under the guise of promoting the most superficial diversity. They fell in love with the technological platforms that enabled them to connect with people and cultures worldwide and compared notes on the discrepancy between ground truth reality and their own government’s propaganda. Then they helplessly witnessed those same platforms tighten the screws on speech and narratives that didn’t align with those of the countries to whom those companies are beholden.

More recently, they’re now faced with seemingly never-ending restrictions and loss of freedoms for a single virus whose impact on them is far more economic than sanitary. And they’re witnessing in real time the implementation of societal segregation as the unjabbed without a government-issued QR code to access everyday venues and travel are effectively segregated from society. They also see the propaganda used to promote this human rights atrocity and the suppression of views that dare to call it into question.

And into this mix steps someone whose courage has been consistently proven over an entire career. And unlike Trump, Zemmour is a proven intellectual. Sort of a Noam Chomsky of the right.

“Generation Z”, as Zemmour’s young supporters call themselves, are simply fed up with the nonsense of their politically correct and establishment-submissive parents.

Zemmour made it clear at his rally that he’s anti-health pass and anti-COVID restrictions, a de-globalist and a re-industrialist, and that he wants France to make better decisions in the sole interests of the country and its citizens, regardless of what the European Union, the Davos World Economic Forum Champaign glass-clinkers, or the establishment media thinks.

Zemmour himself isn’t much like Trump, personally speaking. One can sit with Zemmour and engage in intellectual jousting for hours, as I have. I’m not sure if the same can be said of Trump. But they do tick many of the same boxes. They share a desire for restoring national sovereignty and saving their respective countries from their decades-long leftist slide. They also share a young fan base with similar personal and ideological values, despite being on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Whether it will be enough to lift Zemmour to a presidential win over incumbent Macron will depend on whether their parents’ political compass has been so badly deregulated that they can no longer recognize a glimmer of hope from a North Star.