A Tale of Two Elections

Right after the European elections last month, French President Emmanuel Macron called snap elections for the National Assembly. He did so three years ahead of time, after his three-party coalition Ensemble (“Together”)—routinely but erroneously described as “centrist” or “center-right”—was routed, coming a distant third behind its rivals on both the left and right.

In the first round of domestic elections on June 30, the sovereigntist National Rally—also routinely and just as erroneously described as “far-right”—came on top for the first time in a national contest. This caused outright panic in the ranks of the establishment and optimistic predictions among France’s (and Europe’s) long-beleaguered patriotic conservatives.

In the end, and not for the first time, a frantic “anyone but them” tactic was devised by the government and supported by the left. It called on voters to support the candidate best placed to beat the National Rally in each electoral district. Over 200 Macronist and leftist candidates swiftly dropped from the race after the first round, thus creating tactical-voting pacts and mobilizing the entire political spectrum against the only patriotic, sovereigntist party.

In the second round, on July 7, it worked. The National Rally (Rassemblement National, RN, formerly FN) and its allies won the popular vote with over 37 percent of the votes cast, but came in third in terms of seats with a disappointing 143 mandates. This was possible because under France’s complex electoral system a candidate in an electoral district must win 50 percent of the votes in the first round or face the voters in the second.

In the second round, thanks to the “anyone but them” ploy, the leftist alliance New Popular Front (Nouveau Front Populaire, NFP) won 182 seats, ahead of Macron’s coalition (168 seats). In short, the main reason for the victory of the NFP is that Macron’s “center-right” party colluded with the leftist coalition to prevent a victory for the RN. Macron’s warning of a civil war if “far left or far right” wins was a smokescreen: his target was only the RN.

Another reason, mostly unreported in the English-language media, is that just before the second round, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the campaign financing of Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid in 2022. The scenario is remarkably similar to the ongoing anti-Trump lawfare campaign in the United States. Back then, Le Pen got 41 percent of the vote in the second round but inevitably lost to Macron, who was supported by everyone else—the lunatic fringe of the left included.

In the New Popular Front, that fringe includes the alliance’s key figure, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He founded the hard-left France Unbowed party in 2016 but failed to reach the presidential runoff in 2017 and 2022. In the end, he allied his party with the Socialists, Communists, and Greens; he also courted the huge Muslim vote, not only by condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza but even accusing it of pursuing “genocide” against Palestinians.

To Macron and his establishmentarian allies, this result was tantamount to a victory, because it means that the RN will remain effectively contained for years to come. As Le Monde reminded its readers on July 9, this scenario has been hailed as a return of the anti-far right “republican front” first summoned when Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, faced Jacques Chirac in the run-off of the 2002 presidential election.

The same daily, France’s near-exact cultural and political equivalent of The New York Times, noted one day earlier that Macron does not have “the slightest regret” about calling the snap election. He lost more than 80 deputies (168 seats compared to 250 in the previous legislature), but that does not matter—“cohabitation with the far right, once considered a possibility, was avoided, we can breathe at the Elysée Palace. A ‘very clear no was sent to the National Rally [RN]’ is the essence of the President’s entourage.” Just as importantly, Le Monde says,

It is therefore with an almost light heart that the Head of State will fly to Washington on July 10 to attend the NATO summit and the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Atlantic Alliance. Emmanuel Macron does not believe that he is weakened on the international scene after this episode. “A majority in the Assembly is for clear support for Ukraine,” people around him argue. “France has rejected extremism, the [American] Democrats will reject it too.”

This is the true meaning of France’s election. After the second round of voting showed the RN in third place, Le Pen said the “tide is rising” and that the party’s victory was “only delayed.” She had said more or less the same thing after coming in second in two previous presidential elections. The tide may continue to rise in 2027, when Macron’s term ends, but again, it won’t be enough.

According to Jordan Bardella, the head of Le Pen’s party, “Depriving millions of French people of the possibility of seeing their ideas brought to power will never be a viable destiny for France.” He is right, in a way: permanently excluding one-third of French men and women from meaningful participation in the political process is not a viable destiny “for France.” This is an eminently viable destiny for the French traitor class, however, and for its obedient subjects. And for—of course—the burgeoning, Sharia-ruled “zones of special sensitivity,” home to millions of Muslims in France who are, overwhelmingly, anything but “French Muslims.”

With Muslims accounting for at least 10 percent of France’s voters, even if one-half of them abstained—the rate projected by Muslim activists, as opposed to the overall 37 percent abstention rate—this translates into at least seven percent of all votes cast. Most of those votes went to the left. Without them, there would have been a more-or-less even three-way split—and at least some hope that, eventually, the tide may rise enough to flood the Parisian swamp.

Across the English Channel, the picture is equally grim, albeit for different reasons.

A few days after the British election a colleague wondered, in a private message, “why the woke, multicultural, pro-immigration left is flourishing in England while being increasingly rejected in large parts of Western Europe.” Part of the answer is that the Conservatives themselves have been for a long time a woke, multicultural, pro-immigration party. Last Thursday they lost. They lost big and deserved to lose. Labour’s win primarily was the consequence of the Tories’ political, moral, and intellectual decrepitude.

What is described in the media and, in fact, appears to be, a Labour landslide is due to the vagaries of the British first-past-the-post electoral system. As it happens, the party was supported by a mere fifth of all registered voters on a 59.8 percent turnout—the lowest since 2001, and second lowest since 1918. Labour’s share of the overall vote has hardly changed since 2019, but—incredible as it may seem to those not familiar with the British system—the party ended up with an additional 200 seats in the House of Commons.

Labour’s strategists succeeded in making the party’s vote much more “cost-effective” than it was five years ago. In the British system this approach is known as vote efficiency: It is far more profitable to win just enough votes in each seat, as Labour did on July 4, than it is to have the same (or even greater) total number of votes concentrated in fewer constituencies. Let us reiterate: What looked like a landslide victory was, in fact, a reflection of the dysfunctionality of the British electoral system. Labour took almost two-thirds of the House seats (63 percent) with only one-third of the votes cast.

On the other hand, Nigel Farage’s Reform UK, the only real opposition in the new House of Commons, got 14.3 percent of the vote but only four members of Parliament. In other words, it got 40 percent of the number of Labour’s votes but less than one percent of the number of its 411 seats in the House. 

By contrast, the Liberal-Democrats (another woke, multicultural, pro-immigration party and anti-Brexit/pro-EU to boot) got 71 seats on just over 12 percent. The Lib-Dems cleverly focused their campaign almost solely on those constituencies—mostly affluent, middle-class and white—where they came second, after the Conservatives, in 2019. It worked very well for them. The Conservatives were caught in the crossfire between the Lib Dems and Reform UK, with catastrophic consequences.

There won’t be many changes in Britain’s moral and cultural downward drift because of the July 4 election, but we already know that it will be accelerated. The new Labour government intends to release prisoners after they serve just 40 percent of their sentences, which will be its method of reducing prison overcrowding. It will allow more than 100,000 migrants already in Britain to apply for asylum, which is tantamount to a general amnesty for immigration offenders. The new prime minister, Keir Starmer, has appointed a “women’s minister” who claims that “there are many definitions of a woman.” In the departmental announcements of new ministers, individual appointees are referred to as “they,” rather than “he” or “she.”

We should not doubt that similar bold and innovative solutions to Britain’s problems are on the way. There is widespread and well-founded realization among millions of Britons that politics will never change their lives for the better.

In A Tale of Two Cities, which takes place in London and Paris just before and during the French Revolution, Charles Dickens asserted his faith in the possibility of resurrection and soul-saving transformation, both on a personal and societal level. This summer’s Tale of Two Elections indicates that societal transformations of Britain and France, while different in their outward manifestations, are rather similar in their pernicious, soul-destroying substance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.