After months of polls and rallies, interviews and debates, the French presidential campaign wraps up at midnight tonight, followed by the customary media moratorium leading in to Sunday’s vote.
The status quo looks to have it in the bag – the preferred candidate of the European Union, of finance and the media conglomerates finishes his campaign with a twenty-two percent lead in the latest ELABE/BFMTV poll, and the blessings of the global political establishment.
French media are reporting on plans for Macron’s victory night celebration in Paris and already speculating on his first day in office at the Elysée Palace.
Triumphal images of Macron on campaign dominate the news channels and the front pages of the press whilst Le Pen is attacked at every turn, the unity of thought across the media at times resembling a one-party state.
A populist revolt, although not impossible, looks – through the French media prism at least – unlikely. And yet, in the same poll, 19% of respondents declaring themselves certain to vote, are still undecided and there remains a visceral anger at the political system across the country.
Amongst Le Pen supporters, many of whom remain hopeful for a victory on Sunday, there is also a sentiment that five more years of tumult for France would help build on recent electoral gains for the Front National, transforming the movement into a political force to rival the establishment party machines, particularly if a good result can be achieved in next month’s parliamentary elections.
Whilst the implantation of the Front National across France has been dramatic in the past decade, in many locations the movement lacks a ground presence, relying on motivated volunteers to cover large areas.
The priority, if hopes are dashed on Sunday, must be to water the grassroots outside the northern industrial and south-eastern heartlands and beyond recently won territories, winning power from the mayoral level up to the national parliament, party sources tell the Gateway Pundit.
Many observers point to the potential roadblocks of a Le Pen presidency without a parliamentary majority although alliance building would be on the cards if Le Pen causes a stir on Sunday, as seen in her choice of prime minister, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan.
Whilst many party faithful see the 2022 presidential election as the Plan B, others on the French right believe it is now or never. If a nationalist candidate cannot succeed under the current conditions in France, it can never happen, they argue. Moreover, given the dramatic circumstances the country faces, many believe that France cannot weather another five years along its current trajectory.
They point to an almost decade long economic slump, closing factories and slowly dying towns. Pessimism is the order of the day, outside of Paris at least, fueled by a sense that the country is living off past glories, selling the family silver to pay its bills, with many young people seeing no long-term future at home.
The family silver? Vast swathes of vineyards being sold off to foreign investors, and fire sales on the country’s architectural heritage due to crippling inheritance taxes which prevent the passing down of family businesses and centuries old properties to the next generation. ‘For Sale’ signs litter the urban landscape. As the nation’s heritage is sold off, with it disappears the national morale and belief in revival.
In parallel with these economic woes, France is increasingly plagued by a phenomenon referred to as ‘l’insécurité’, a lawlessness ranging from car burnings and vandalism to arson attacks on police stations, largely committed by the criminal element of its immigrant underclass, the result of decades of mass immigration and failed integration policy.
And perhaps the most ominous sign of what lies ahead – the spread of Salafist Islam, one of the most visible signs of France’s demographic transformation, and its marriage with the delinquency and armed criminality of the suburbs.
It is no longer unusual to hear the French discuss civil conflict, even civil war, seen as unavoidable by many, including police and security services. The prospect of dividing the country along religious lines has even been discussed at government level.
All of these problems would continue or intensify under a Macron presidency, Le Pen campaigners agree, pointing to his failure to turn the economy around whilst serving as socialist François Hollande’s finance minister, and noting his praise for open borders advocate, Angela Merkel.
Le Pen speaking to the press this morning, before embarking on her final campaign stop to the historically symbolic cathedral of Reims, confidently predicted a democratic revolt that could not be prevented. Voters have the choice between her and the continuation of the previous socialist government, she stated, as represented by Monsieur Macron.
Only time will tell if Marine Le Pen has succeeded in the challenging task of communicating her message to French voters, despite a hostile media and all the firepower of an entrenched elite. If beaten, she may well profit from another five years of voter disillusionment to triumph at the next race but the real question that must be asked is what state the historic nation could find itself in by that time, and how – between now and then – it would weather the storms to come.
Photo Credit: Frédéric Gouis