France Is Becoming More Conservative

France’s right wing is going mainstream.

QUICK FACTS:
  • French populist presidential contender and leader of the right-wing ‘National Rally,’ Marine Le Pen (53), lost for a second time to globalist and now reelected President Emmanuel Macron (44) on Sunday, but not without making the country’s conservative politics more mainstream.
  • Le Pen was able to snatch 41.5% of the vote—even with dominant French parties, Republicans and the Socialist Party, backing Macron—while campaigning for a France “restored in its sovereign functions” and in its “sovereignty and its freedoms.”
  • An analysis by The Associated Press characterized Le Pen’s “anti-system” politics as being “now more entrenched than ever in the psyche, thinking, and political landscape of France.”
  • By championing cost-of-living issues, befriending the working class, changing her party’s name, as well as advocating for French identity, culture, religion, and values, Le Pen enlarged her appeal to growing swaths of France’s electorate, including those who are wary of current trends in immigration, globalization, and radical Islamic fundamentalism.
  • Breakdowns of voter demographics by pollsters also forecast upsets in future elections for the left-wing political class, with Le Pen appearing to have beaten Macron decisively in the battle for the working-class vote and either defeating or just barely falling short of him among Millennials aged 25 to 34.
  • Le Pen may have also beaten Macron among voters aged 50 to 59—a segment of Generation X that made many of the same sacrifices as baby boomers but did not reap the same financial rewards, and today face persistent pressure from “fiscal conservatives” who want their state retirement age to be raised, Breitbart notes.
  • Support for Le Pen appears to have rallied strongly in the countryside and smaller rural towns, while Macron’s strongholds remain multicultural urban centers such as Paris and the relatively prosperous west. Le Pen defeated President Macron in France’s overseas territories in the Americas with massive, two-point swings almost everywhere, signaling a reversal of 2017 voting patterns.
  • “Le Pen does speak to many who feel unheard and uncared for by officials in Paris and Brussels,” AP comments, referring to her ascension to the highest French office as “closer than ever.”
  • Le Pen took a positive angle on the loss, focusing on “hope”: “In this defeat, I can”t help but feel a form of hope,” she said. “I will never abandon the French.”
LE PEN’S CAMPAIGN VALUES:
  • “Protection”: “We are convinced that freedom is combined with the return of a strategic and protective State, and that politics must keep the happiness and fulfillment of our compatriots as its objective,” Marine Le Pen’s website reads.
  • “Projection”: “We perceive the challenges of tomorrow and wish to prepare France for the major political, economic, ecological and civilizational challenges,” the site goes on to say.
  • “Transmission”: “We believe that our values, our material and immaterial heritage must be protected and valued for those who will succeed us.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Marine Le Pen—like first her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen—stands against neo-liberal ideology and wants to dilute France’s relationships with the European Union, NATO, and neighbor Germany.
  • “In this defeat, I can’t help but feel a form of hope,” said Le Pen in the wake of her loss to Macron. “I will never abandon the French.”