So, to nobody’s surprise, Marie Le Pen lost the French election pretty hard. It was cast as part three (or four, or five, or even six, depending on your count) of democracy’s rallying against the globalist agenda, or alternatively, nationalistic proto-Nazism’s crushing defeat at the hands of a Totally Great and Not Sinister At All EU. Le Pen made a couple of tactical blunders—cozying up with Putin being one of them—but in large part, I think her defeat was inevitable. France has not yet been prepared for the political pendulum to swing back yet.
Folks compared her polling numbers to Brexit’s and Trump’s, painting all polls as being fundamentally wrong and wildly rigged. But, while wrong, the polling data of both of these elections wasn’t wrong by too massive a margin. Trump’s win was narrow in all of the states that he needed to flip in order to win, and, as the liberal media likes to remind us, his national numbers tallied in about 2 million counts lower than his opponent. Brexit similarly passed by a narrow margin. This is important to remember because Trump didn’t have a questionable history haunting his public approval rating—only a media that was trying to invent one. But if his father had been an extremely active politician and ad hoc Holocaust-denier, and if the party he was fronting had been at one time in living memory a legitimately extreme hard-nationalist minority party, then you’d be looking at a very different election season.
Which is what the French got. Le Pen’s name carries with it connotations of her father, who, albeit charismatic, isn’t exactly the best-remembered guy in recent French politics. Likewise, the National Front is effectively a national socialist party, and while she fronted an effort to “detoxify” them, such an effort isn’t saying a whole lot. So even while I do suspect election fraud, and even while I do suspect the polling data to have been skewed, I don’t think Le Pen ever stood a chance at the presidential seat this time around.
Is this actually significant? Well, no, not in any meaningful way. Elections happen every four years, so we can rest assured that there is likely to be another just like this one right around the corner. Anti-immigration sentiments will become even more ubiquitous on the continent, and the media that trashes all forms of right-wing cultural-centric rhetoric will discredit itself even further until the population has no choice but to hop on the counter-swung pendulum. The only thing this French election means is that for now, things will continue to get worse.
That said, it isn’t hard to see this as some form of victory for the National Front and Le Pen herself. Despite her family history and the history of her party, she managed to double FN’s votes within just one four year cycle. FN is no longer considered quite as fringe-extremist as they once were, having made the rounds in the public opinion circles as a credible-enough-for-the-ballot party that managed to secure the final round. This is no easy feat. More people are willing to talk about the issues that were central to their platform. More folks are willing to call out the propaganda machines for what they are. Much of this is due to Le Pen’s role over the last several years, but in particular her efforts over 2016 and 2017.
I must admit that I have no particular dog in the French fight. The solutions to the problems that face France are larger than what policy matters can decide. Leaving the EU is certainly a good start, but it may turn out to be a better move to wait until Brexit’s has tumbled on down through the system before starting a Frexit process—if only to weaken further the lumbering socialist bureaucratic monstrosity just as it’s gaining its bearings in the wake of the U.K.’s smug goodbye. In the meantime, attitudes sympathetic to the National Front’s platform will continue to gain traction among both the young and the old, and, one can hope, the media’s ever-slipping grip on the narrative will be that much more decrepit in four years. That should make victory a little easier.
Conservatives have been quick to point out Macron’s background in finance while attempting to paint him as a politically moderate centrist with business experience. So while he’s probably a safer economic choice for France, he’s hardly the bulwark against decline and decay that their culture is so intoxicated with. Like Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, “it’s the economy, stupid!”: he used vague statements about wealth, trade, and regulation in order to distract from the existential threats to Parisians’ lives, much less the country as a whole. The fact that he’s directly involved with extra-national forces and figures, each of whom are the Who’s Whos of the liberal agenda against nationalism and self-identity, was, of course, completely expected.
That said, being a foreigner who has never even been to France, the only interest I have in their politics is the degree to which their actions might weaken the European Union or destabilize the rest of the West. The French should take care of their own problems, but if they are willing to go quickly and quietly into the grave of secularized multiculturalism and anti-Western immigration, then they’re asking a bastion of historic-Christendom to be handed over to a growing of the caliphate-to-be. Europe lived with the foothold of an organized Islamic military presence for several centuries, and it didn’t turn out so well for the Iberian peninsula and the Balkans. You’d think that Europe would have an interest in learning from their own history, given how far back it stretches. But apparently, their memory only goes back to about World War II.
Nobody really wants to see Chartres or Notre Dame defaced and turned into mosques, or worse, outright demolished. And while what little of classical French tradition and culture that survived the Revolution has been seeing gradual abandonment and destruction under the past fifty years of a crushing secular regime, an outright invasion of the Islamic worldview will guarantee a dominance from which not even the memory of the old world will be possible. The crusaders that fought at Constantinople and those that defended the Byzantine empire at least put up fights when their cities were sacked and their lands brought under the Caliphate’s rule. France, following in line with the EU’s general attitudes of late, has no interest in even preserving, much less defending such ways of life. The National Front’s mere existence at least implies that there are some in France that do not agree with any of that. Le Pen’s present loss may rally more to the cause. It seems unlikely, however, that it will do so in time to prevent catastrophe.