Thursday, November 10, 2016

884 Marine Le Pen next. White working-class rage

Marine Le Pen next.  White working-class rage

Newsletter published on 9 November 2016

(1) The (Rothschild) Economist contemplates a Le Pen Victory
(2) Le Pen congratulates Trump
(3) French Elite doubles its efforts to stop Marine Le Pen
(4) Farage Offers to be Trump's Ambassador to the EU

(1) The (Rothschild) Economist contemplates a Le Pen Victory

Does Donald Trump’s victory presage a win for Marine Le Pen? It remains
improbable. But it would be unwise to rule it out

Nov 9th 2016

What might be the knock-on effect in Europe of Donald Trump’s victory?
The next big democracy to vote after America is France, which holds its
presidential election next spring. Could Marine Le Pen, leader of the
populist National Front (FN), be elected president?

Before the American result, the question seemed absurd. Polls have
suggested for months that she would do well enough to secure one of the
two second-round places at voting next April. This in itself would be a
victory of sorts, repeating the achievement of her father, Jean-Marie Le
Pen, in 2002. But no polls have indicated that she could beat the
centre-right candidate likely to face her.

Now, the unthinkable has become conceivable. There was no disguising the
delight in Paris at the FN headquarters. A jubilant Ms Le Pen, who had
argued that a Trump victory would be good for France, congratulated the
American president-elect and praised the "free" American people. Her
lieutenant and party strategist, Florian Philippot, summed up the mood
at the FN: "Their world is collapsing; ours is being built." Even Mr Le
Pen, who has fallen out with his daughter, tweeted: "Today the United
States, tomorrow France!"

Certainly, the parallels between Ms Le Pen and Mr Trump are striking.
Both trade on simplified truths and build politics on rejection and
nostalgia. They have both reinvented themselves as anti-establishment
outsiders, who stand up for people forgotten by the system and scorned
by the elite. They speak to the same white working-class rage, use
similar vocabulary, and thrive each time the establishment sneers at
them. Drawing her own personal strength from the old industrial and
mining towns of northern France, which once voted Communist, Ms Le Pen
is now the favourite politician among French working-class voters.

Their policy instincts are similar too. Mr Trump and Ms Le Pen are both
protectionists and nationalists, supportive of Brexit and sympathetic to
Russia. The FN has borrowed money from a Russian bank with links to the
Kremlin, and Ms Le Pen has long admired Vladimir Putin. Pro-Europeans in
Paris are particularly concerned at the prospect of an alliance between
Mr Trump, Mr Putin and Ms Le Pen, bent on dividing the European Union
and undermining the old order. After the Brexit vote, the FN leader
promised a "Frexit" referendum in France too.

One difference is rhetorical excess. Ms Le Pen is in some ways a Trump
lite. She may share many of his reflexes, but wraps them up in more
cautious language. She has never, for instance, called for all Muslims
to be banned from France, but rather for an end to an "uncontrolled
wave" of immigration. She does not promise to build walls, but to
control borders. The problem, she says, is not Islam but what she calls
the "Islamification" of France.

In France, where Ms Le Pen is trying to transform a one-time pariah
movement with former neo-Nazi links into a credible political force
ready to govern, such nuances remain an asset. Ms Le Pen’s populism has
fewer rough edges than Mr Trump’s, and is all the more electorally
powerful for it. Even in France’s two-round system, which makes it
difficult for insurgent parties, her party has shown that it can win a
majority of votes locally. The FN now governs a dozen town halls across
France, mostly in the north and the Mediterranean fringe.

To win the two-round presidential election, however, Ms Le Pen would
have to break a glass ceiling. Empirically, this has capped her support,
both in opinion polls and at the ballot box, at just over 40%. A
majority of French voters on the left and centre-right, less wedded to
their political family than they are allergic to the FN, tend to gang up
to vote against it in a run-off, in what is known as a front
républicain. They did just this at regional elections in December 2015,
when Ms Le Pen won 44%, but failed to secure the presidency of northern
France, after Socialists, improbably, campaigned for the centre-right
candidate, Xavier Bertrand.

All polls suggest today that Ms Le Pen would similarly face—and lose—a
presidential run-off next year against the Republican candidate, who
will be picked at that party’s primary later this month. She would do
better in a contest with Nicolas Sarkozy, a frenetic former president,
against whom polls suggest she would win 42% of the vote, than she would
if she faced Alain Juppé, a professorial former prime minister, against
whom she would win 32%. Indeed, Mr Juppé has specifically campaigned for
left-wing voters disappointed with François Hollande’s Socialist
presidency to turn out at the Republican primary and vote for him, a
more palatable option for them than Ms Le Pen.

All of which assumes, however, that the polls are a reasonable guide to
voting intentions. Recent American and British experience now caution
against this. The sense of possibility that a victorious Mr Trump offers
Ms Le Pen will give her campaign fresh momentum, and perhaps embolden
her silent supporters. The more the media and political classes lament
the American result, the more she will play on the arrogance and
entitlement of the out-of-touch Paris elite. And, whether Mr Juppé or Mr
Sarkozy runs for president, her anti-establishment denunciation of the
unchanging cast of political old-timers will ring all too true. A Le Pen
victory may still be improbable. But it would be a grave mistake to rule
it out.

(2) Le Pen congratulates Trump

Wed Nov 9, 2016 | 2:56am EST

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen congratulates Donald Trump

France's far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen
congratulated Donald Trump on Wednesday as he looked set for a shock
victory in the U.S. presidential election.

"Congratulations to the new president of the United States Donald Trump
and to the free American people!" she said on Twitter.

Opinion polls show Le Pen likely to win the first round of French
presidential elections next year, but lose in the second round to
whoever should be her opponent.

Her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen who reached the second round
of French presidential elections in 2002, added his voice.

"Today the United States, tomorrow France," he tweeted, while National
Front deputy leader Florian Philippot followed up with a tweet saying
"their world is crumbling. Ours is building."

France's National Front has been building support for its
anti-immigration, anti-European Union stance in recent years.

U.S. Republican nominee Trump was on Wednesday edging closer to winning
the White House with a series of shock wins in key states such as
Florida and Ohio, rattling world markets that had expected Democrat
Hillary Clinton to defeat the political outsider.

(Reporting by Andrew Callus and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

(3) French Elite doubles its efforts to stop Marine Le Pen

France must face possibility of a 'President Marine Le Pen'

Published: 09 Nov 2016 13:28 GMT+01:00 Updated: 09 Nov 2016 13:28 GMT+01:00

After Donald Trump's earth-shaking win and Britain stunning the EU by
voting out, France must now accept the possibility far-right Marine Le
Pen could actually pull off a hat-trick of shocks in next year's French
presidential election.

Marine Le Pen congratulated Donald Trump on becoming the new president
of the United States long before the official results were in.

A sign that the leader of the populist far-right National Front party is
bouncing with confidence on Wednesday.

And you can’t blame her.

"Madame Frexit" as she dubbed herself, has already been given a huge
boost this summer by Britain’s rejection of the EU.

And if Le Pen and her party needed any more proof that populism was
proving popular it came in the form of 47.7 percent of the American
electorate voting for their own anti-establishment, wildcard candidate
in the form of Trump.

"Their world is crumbling, ours is being built" was how National Front
deputy leader Florian Philippot summed it up.

"Today, the United States, tomorrow France. Bravo America!" cheered
Jean-Marie Le Pen the founder of the the National Front.

     Leur monde s'effondre. Le nôtre se construit. #PlaceAuxPeuples     — Florian Philippot (@f_philippot)
November 9, 2016

For once it didn’t feel like inflated populist rhetoric.

But can Le Pen really complete a hat trick of shock vote victories?

"It’s now a hypothesis that everyone should take seriously," French
political commentator Philippe Marliere told The Local on Wednesday.

"That doesn’t mean it will happen, but it’s now something we have to
consider is a possibility.

"And I would never have said that a few years ago. But Trump, with his
populist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant discourse has managed to take
over the most powerful democracy in the world. So why can’t it happen in

French newspaper Le Monde carried a similar warning: "In the world that
has opened up with this election, anything is possible – even that which
we have difficulty facing up to – an extremist party taking power."

Former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin added: "The main lesson for
us in France is that Marine Le Pen can win".

In next spring's presidential elections Le Pen is expected to top the
first round of voting.

But polls show she is likely to be defeated in the second round, as her
party was in last year's regional elections, when tactical voting kept
them out of power.

But who is willing to trust opinion polls anymore after both Brexit and
Trump defied them?

"There's a global awakening," Le Pen told reporters last month in the
southern town of Frejus where supporters flocked to hear her bashing the
EU, the euro and immigration.

In echoes of Trump's "Make America Great Again" or Brexit's "Take
Control" slogans, she declared that "the time of the nation state has
come again."

Le Pen, who has worked hard to clean up the image of her party, knows
that in France there are similar conditions and a similar climate to the
UK and the United States.

There are swathes of disenfranchised voters, white working classes who
feel abandoned, record unemployment, rapid de-industrialisation,
devastating jihadist terror attacks, a migrant crisis and a longstanding
resistance to change among many voters, especially in the rural France.

There is also the weak and disunited left which has had a shot at power
and failed to achieve what it promised voters and a right which is
failing to convince the electorate that it is a better alternative.

In France's depressed north, for example, voters in former leftist
bastions have decamped in droves to the protectionist National Front,
out of frustration with the government's failure to halt factory closures.

Into this setting anti-establishment figures like UKip’s Nigel Farage,
Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen can find fallow turf to plough their
populist anti-EU, anti-globalisation and anti-immigration rhetoric.

"There could be a kind of contagion effect. Disenfranchised voters will
see it happen elsewhere and think why not in France?" says political
commentator Marliere.

The best scenario for Le Pen would be a second round face off against
former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is deeply unpopular among left
wing voters, many of whom are horrified at the prospect of having to
tactically vote for "Sarko" to keep Le Pen out.

Sarkozy has lurched to the right in his bid to win back the Elysée
Palace and his rhetoric is even more anti-Islam and anti-Immigration
than Le Pen’s.

"If people have the option of a copy or the original, they will always
go for the original," said Marliere.

Le Pen has the advantage that with Brexit unlikely to be triggered
before May’s elections and Trump only taking office in January, it's
unlikely there will be any catastrophic effects that may dissuade French
voters from putting a cross in the box next to her name.

Jean-Yves Camus, a researcher who specialises in far-right movements,
said her trump card was that she had never been in government.

"It conceals many aspects in her programme that lack credibility," he said.

"She is absolutely convinced she can win," one of Le Pen's advisors told
AFP recently.

(4) Farage Offers to be Trump's Ambassador to the EU

Nigel Farage says he would like a role in Donald Trump's administration

The Ukip politicians was coy on whether he had already had talks with Mr

November 9, 2016

[...] The former Ukip leader has campaigned for Mr Trump in the United
States, giving a stump speech at at a rally on stage with the billionaire.

Mr Farage, who remains leader of Ukip’s group of MEPs despite stepping
down as party chief after the EU referendum, said he would like to serve
as Mr Trump’s ambassador to the European Union.

Donald Trump says election victory would be 'Brexit plus plus plus'

He was evasive when questioned whether he already had discussions with
Mr Trump about working for his administration were he to be elected.

The Brexit campaigner likened the US elections to the EU referendum and
suggested Mr Trump would bring about "change". Mr Trump has made similar
parallels between the two votes, dubbing himself "Mr Brexit".

"I don’t know what’s going to happen, all I can say is this election is
very simple: it’s rather like Brexit. Do you want a change, or do you
want to stay exactly as you are? That’s what it’s all about," Mr Farage
told ITV1’s The Agenda programme.

"If he did offer me a job I would quite like to be his ambassador to the
European Union. I think I would do that job very well."[...]

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