Why the French chose the ‘radical far right’ over Macron’s establishment

The overconfident president got what was coming when his party suffered a massive defeat in the first round of the national election

By Rachel Marsden, a columnist, political strategist, and host of independently produced talk-shows in French and English.

By Rachel Marsden, a columnist, political strategist, and host of independently produced talk-shows in French and English.


FILE PHOTO. France’s President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the press at the end of the European Council Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2024. ©  Ludovic MARIN / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron figured that he would toss a grenade at the anti-establishment right that beat his team in the European parliamentary elections last month, as Le Monde reported. He apparently figured that even though French voters favored Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party to keep Brussels’ Eurocrats in check, surely they would still find the so-called “far-right” too scary up-close in a national election. 

So Macron triggered what might go down as one of the dumbest unforced errors in political history. 

Even though an Ipsos survey taken in May indicated that 39% of the French viewed their vote at the EU level solely through the prism of a burning desire to spank Macron, he dissolved parliament and dared them to do it again. Maybe he just really likes spankings? Or else this is one guy who should probably steer clear of the betting tables in Las Vegas. Because the French just grabbed a hold of his grenade with both hands and used it to blow his beret right off his toupee.  

Team Macron didn’t even come in second this time, in the first of two rounds of voting. It came in third, with a projected 20%, behind both anti-establishment parties. The big winner, yet again, was Le Pen’s anti-establishment right National Rally party with about 33%, and the anti-establishment left New Popular Front coalition placed second at an estimated 28%. 

Not only did the much vilified “far-right” anti-establishment just win this round of voting, but there’s now even talk of them potentially securing between 260 to 310 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly — which could meet the 289 seats required for a majority government, according to an Elabe polling analysis. 

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Macron just threw a live grenade at his own feet

So now with Macron’s establishment party purged, leaving the anti-establishment right and left, the political cards are getting reshuffled for a second-round vote on Sunday, July 7, that’s set to determine the true ideological heart and soul of France. 

With this losing bet, Macron has virtually guaranteed himself a final three years of his presidency as a captain adrift legislatively, constantly fighting whatever crew he ultimately ends up with in government. And both sides of the anti-establishment political divide on the right and left are celebrating that. 

“This vote inflicted a heavy and undeniable defeat for the president, his candidates, and the so-called presidential majority,” said leftist coalition leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon. But then he called on his party’s candidates currently running in third place heading into the final round to drop out if the National Rally has any chance of winning, even if they meet the threshold of votes (12.5% of registered voters) to continue to the second round. 

This would mean that Team Melenchon would effectively be supporting the Macronist establishment candidates. There’s leftist logic for you: It’s awesome that we defeated the establishment, but please vote for it now over our anti-establishment rival.  

If you like that logic, just watch how they apply it to economics if they ever get into power. Two plus two equals… who really cares because you’re the ones paying for it, anyway. 

And even though the crooked globalist establishment has just been buried, its spectre of influence is still haunting the French political landscape heading into this final vote. They just don’t take a hint very well. 

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Already we’re seeing Team Macron, including Macron himself and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, demanding that French voters choose the National Rally’s opponents in the second round, even if they have to hold their noses and vote left, apparently. 

“Tonight’s lesson is that the far right is on the brink of power… Never in our democracy has the National Assembly been at such risk of being dominated by the far-right as it is this evening,” Attal said as the results were coming in. “Not a single vote should go to the National Rally… If we want to live up to the French destiny, it is our moral duty to do everything possible to prevent the worst from happening,” he added. 

Did it ever occur to these guys that they and their establishment pals are now seen as the real extremists, and that’s why they keep getting democratically rejected whenever the people get a say?

They’re talking like they think voters are stupid and don’t know a real threat when they see one. But what voters keep clearly conveying, in a second vote in as many months now, is that they are already fighting existential threats, that those are worse than any imaginary ones conjured up by the establishment, and that Team Macron is responsible for that. 

French citizens can barely afford to live anymore as a result of radical and extreme misplaced priorities on everything from Ukraine spending and domestically “economicidal” measures under the illusion that they’ll mean Ukraine wins on the battlefield, to musing about French troops fighting Russia in Ukraine — initially as “trainers” teaching Ukrainians nabbed off the street how to do burpees, preferably up against a missile launch firing mechanism. But then when it comes to outright commuting more troops who don’t even have to pretend that they’re in the war zone to do deadlifts and push-ups – hey, who knows. Not the French, because Macron wants to sow “strategic ambiguity.” Or as normal people call it: shadiness. 

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National Rally trounces Macron’s bloc in French vote

It’s not like Macron’s crash and burn didn’t enjoy the benefit of a massively long runway with several exit ramps. French Yellow Vest protests that kicked off in November 2018 with Macron’s decision raise carbon taxes again on car fuel, and lasted for months on end, up until the Covid lockdowns, should have been the first clue that the French weren’t willing to pay for ideological nonsense at the expense of their own ability to make ends meet. But then he and his elitist Eurocrat pals persisted with increasingly stifling climate change costs and regulations that messed with the price and availability of the food that the French put on their plates. Nothing radical about that, right? 

For all his insistence on democracy, Team Macron also rammed through unpopular laws with the Article 49.3 constitutional clause, forcing their passage. And now it’s just such a big mystery why the French are no longer deterred by Macron’s qualifying the opposition as extreme. And what has he done about the increasingly extreme immigration and insecurity situation, which French voters largely consider to be linked and one of the top three issues in this election alongside purchasing power and the perception of France in the world? Clearly not enough.  

So now he’s resorting to blowing a kiss to the left, treating them like the last hope to save voters from themselves and from what they keep telling him they want. I’m sure whatever he orders French voters to do now, they’ll be only too happy to just blindly obey. Twice now, French voters have listened to Macron’s electoral demands and told him to shove it. But third time’s the charm, right?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


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