Le Pen Wins Day Two, and Day Three As Well

Le Pen Wins Day Two, and Day Three As Well, by Scott McConnell. The author obviously wants Le Pen to win — and makes a case.

Marine Le Pen can’t possibly win. French friends on Twitter told me this weeks ago. I asked one souveraniste activist the other night; he said she will do well to break 40 percent, and might be held to 35 percent. The entire French political class is aligned against her. And to many people who might be broadly sympathetic, leaving the euro seems like a leap into the dark. …

So, I concede, 11 days before the vote, a Le Pen win would be a huge upset, much more so than Trump or Brexit.

And yet.

She is a really skilled candidate, a wonderful one. Last night she was on TF1, not the main news channel but the somewhat lower-brow government-funded one. The most popular channel in France. She was interviewed for an hour and 15 minutes. She was tag-teamed by two journalists, and then a third was brought in to take her on, from London yet. The grilling was all tasteful — the journalists seemed clearly to enjoy the role they were playing, that of picking apart MLP’s positions, and enjoyed as well her skill in parrying their efforts to trip her up. …

She opposes the view she ascribes (quite justly) to the former banker Macron, that the “market” should be the “big boss” of everything—above everything else, nation, family, identity. That France should be transformed into a giant public marketplace. She talks about Europe with some tact — “I feel myself European” — but proposes a new form of “freely executed” bilateral negotiations between nations, rather than rule from Brussels.

But, as she makes clear later, she is no fan of the deference all French politicians pay to “Madame Merkel,” the way they all seek her benediction. She is of course fine with Madame Merkel when the latter defends the interests of Germany, which she should. Less so when she invites in a million and a half immigrants from who knows where, and no one knows where they are. …

But in terms of being a person who might, in the pollsters phrase, “understand people like me” she is miles ahead of Macron. …

She has really tried to get around to the left of Macron on every issue except immigration, where she of course well to the right. It is a fundamental choice France faces — that of course is the one thing everyone seems to agree upon.

This morning’s news showed new polls stating that roughly 60 percent of voters thought Le Pen had made a “good start” on her campaign, while less than half thought Macron had begun well. …

I know, I know, she can’t win. Everyone opposes her. But if you just came in from a foreign country and looked at the news, you might think she could.

hat-tip Stephen Neil