Friday, May 11, 2012

Mélenchon-Le Pen

Jean-Luc Mélenchon may challenge Marine Le Pen in Hénin-Beaumont. Beyond the clash of these two colorful personalities, an imaginative analyst might see the labor pains of a new political formation struggling to be born: a party of the laissés-pour-compte of globalization, la France du Non et des exclus, a party of workers in declining sectors, retirees, small businessmen, blue-collar workers displaced by immigrants, etc.

Sociologically, such a party might make sense, but history has forged two distinct sensibilities in these social strata, two sensibilities so different that the cleavage between them is unlikely ever to be breached by political entrepreneurship. Mélenchon's effort may be viewed as an epic battle to prevent Marine Le Pen from consolidating her gains among these groups, for it is she who has come closest to achieving a party realignment, and if she makes further gains in the legislative elections and/or provokes internal dissension within the UMP, she may take yet another step toward making the extreme right the premier party of les classes populaires.

Mélenchon recognizes this danger, but it's not clear how much support he would actually command among the blue-collar workers of the 11th District of Pas-de-Calais. These are not the nostalgics of May '68 who thrilled to his speech at la Bastille. Le Pen scored better than 31% in this district in the first round of the presidentials, against under 15 for Mélenchon. The deck is therefore stacked against him. If he decides to throw his hat in the ring, he will deserve some credit for fighting the good fight, but it seems to be a losing battle.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

He's doing it!
http://zeredac.com/2012/05/12/melenchon-candidat-a-henin-beaumont-un-ego-trop-loin/

Anonymous said...

The Hénin-Beaumont constituency has voted solidly left in second rounds. Mélenchon should be the favorite to win it. I doubt he would leap into a race with MLP unless the numbers worked in his favor.

Arun

Anonymous said...

What I said above is predicated on JLM and MLP going head-to-head in the 2e tour. If it's a triangulaire and with a PS candidate, then MLP will most certainly win. JLM must know this, so he'll have to persuade the local PS to support him. And if the PS does run a candidate, JLM will clearly have to finish ahead of him, which he may or may not do. So it could in fact be a risky move on his part.

Arun

Anonymous said...

EELV has said it'd support the Front de Gauche whenever they fought the legislative battle where the Fn could win. The pressure is now on the PS (Hollande, but also the notoriously crooked locals) to let Mélenchon represent the Left. Small problem the constituency had been promised to a party semi-heavy weight who's not likely to like being relocated, not to mention the furor over whoever was earlier endorsed and is displaced to relocate said semi heavyweight...