Two weeks ago, I predicted:
Even if the polls are right and M Macron is on course to win by 20 points, that would still mean Mme Le Pen had doubled her father's share of the vote from 15 years ago.
2002 was the vote-for-the-crook-not-the-fascist election: The crook, M Chirac, got 80.2 per cent of the vote, leaving Jean-Marie Le Pen with 17.8 per cent.
Two times 17.8 equals 35.6 per cent. Yesterday, Marine Le Pen got 33.94 per cent. So my prediction was a little off, and, given what has happened to France in the intervening decade and a half, culminating in last year's summer of terror, has to be accounted a disappointment for her. Had Marine cracked 40 per cent, as her niece was threatening they would do, that would indeed have been a political earthquake.
The recriminations are already underway, within not just the party but the Le Pen family. Jean-Marie (the dad) and Marion (the niece) are said to regard Marine's focus on such issues as leaving the euro to have blunted the focus on the Front's traditional concerns such as immigration and its consequences. I'm inclined to agree: It's hard work dragging a democratic electorate the half-inch necessary to move against the conventional wisdom (as Donald Trump and Nigel Farage could tell you), and persuading them to move against all the conventional wisdom all at once is all but impossible, short of total societal collapse. ...