Marine Le Pen lost this time, but the mainstream is still flowing in her direction

Christopher Dickey writes: So, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party, which placed first in six of 13 French regions last week, failed to win the second round in a single one this week.

But there’s no joy in the mainstream French political establishment, or in the mainstream French media that worked hard to defeat Le Pen and her candidates, because the mainstream is still flowing in her direction, and everyone knows it.

Indeed, traditional politicians here regard Le Pen with something like the same horror that the American mainstream regards Donald Trump, and for some of the same reasons. Seen as sly, anti-immigrant, implicitly racist populists, both are portrayed in the political language of Europe as “fascists.” But there are limits to the analogy.

The National Front, whose platform would do away with open European borders, the euro currency, and indeed “Europe” itself, has become not just a third party in the multi-party French system, it has become the third party. And when presidential elections roll around about 18 months from now, there is every chance that Le Pen will make it into the sudden-death second-round run-off. [Continue reading…]

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