Monday, March 28, 2011
A Party Like the Others
In the cantonals, 55% of the eligible French didn't vote. Fact no. 1. Of the 45% who did vote and who found themselves in cantons where the FN candidate survived to the second round and faced an opponent of the Left or the Right, the FN candidate improved his or her score over the first round by an average of 10%. In short, disappointed voters of both the Left and the Right were willing to vote FN. For many people, the party is no longer taboo. Whatever else the FN represents, this figures marks a significant success for Marine Le Pen. Her strategy of dédiabolisation (de-demonization?) has worked. Or, to put it another way, in France in 2011, it is far more socially acceptable to express overtly anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-elitist attitudes than it is to be overtly anti-Semitic, deny the Holocaust, or argue that Algeria should still be French. But of course the same (mutatis mutandis) is true in the United States, where among numerous people on the extreme right the curious notion has taken hold that shari'a law is about to be established by a foreign-born chief executive of Muslim extraction abetted by "activist" judges, ACORN, NPR, and a host of other fifth columnists.