Saturday, October 31, 2015

Marine Le Pen and the Jewish Vote

Jérôme Fourquet has taken up the question of the Jewish vote for the FN in Slate.fr. As Fourquet himself points out, this is a difficult question to investigate, because ethnic statistics are hard to come by in France and major polling organizations do not break down results along ethnic lines. Hence inferences about ethnic group voting patterns have to be inferred indirectly from precinct-level electoral results and known residential patterns. The results are never as clear as one might like. Nevertheless, Fourquet concludes that there has been a modest but discernible increase of Jewish support for the Front National as Marine Le Pen has shifted the party's discourse to downplay antisemitic themes and to emphasize concerns about "insecurity" at home and support for Israel abroad. As Jewish-Muslim tensions increase in France, so does Jewish support for the Front National. At the same time, as Fourquet is careful to note, the Jewish vote for the FN remains below the national average and largely confined to specific urban areas where Jewish-Muslim tensions have been particularly high.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The FN Reverts to Form

Gone are the paeans to republicanism, the critiques of the euro, the gestures toward economists like Jacques Sapir who seemed to support Marine Le Pen's position on currency union, and the various other rhetorical stratagems by which Marine Le Pen sought to differentiate her party from her father's. The refugee crisis has changed all that, and it is now "safe" for the FN to fly its xenophobic colors openly. The party no longer needs to be "de-demonized" because the demons are on the loose un peu partout in Europe, and the demons are on the side of the Front. Hence FN mayor David Rachline of Fréjus can boast of having saved several sheep from ritual slaughter by Muslims. Mayor Robert Ménard of Béziers can storm a refugee shelter, demanding that they leave. And the party leader herself can go to Calais, where hundreds of migrants are living in squalid conditions and risking their necks to get out of France and cross the Channel to London, to announce that it's either the Vague Bleu Marine or la vague migratoire. One or the other will "submerge" France.

How ironic that Jean-Marie Le Pen should have been excluded from the party just as support for his ideas attains its apogee.