Editor’s note: An interesting and possibly important development in French politics is the possible presidential candidacy of Éric Zemmour, a Jewish conservative media figure. TOO readers may recall Guillaume Durocher’s article on Zemmour from 2015 where he noted:
Zemmour, who is not a recent convert to French nationalism, has been both the most prominent mainstream pundit arguing for conservatism and patriotism, and has to some degree been increasingly marginalized while still maintaining a major audience. He was removed from a talk show on the France 2 public TV channel in 2011 to move on to the more marginal regional channel, Paris Première. He has occasionally been sued by (de facto Jewish) “anti-racist” groups (for example, for arguing that a majority of drug dealers are Black or Arab). In January 2014, the Nouvel Observateur, the leading center-left magazine, equated Zemmour with Soral and Dieudonné under the title “Hatred.” Most recently, he was fired from a talk show on i-Télé (a secondary digital TV channel) for giving an interview to an Italian newspaper which was interpreted as advocating the deportation of French Muslims. In fact, he pointed out that Muslims could be evicted during an ethnic civil war, such conflict being exceedingly common in human history. Zemmour sees such a war in France as likely in the long-term.
Zemmour is walking a fine line and is by no means “burned out” with the establishment. He continues to be employed by RTL radio and the conservative newspaper Le Figaro. In addition, the controversy re-boosted his book Le suicide français back to the #1 spot of the Amazon best-seller list. Many mainstream figures, including those opposed to him politically, such as the leftists Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, protested i-Télé’s decision to fire him as censorship.
It is very tempting to argue that Zemmour is a “kosher nationalist” whose candidacy would be used to derail the hopes of Marine Le Pen. As Durocher notes, there are major problems for politicians not approved by the French Jewish community: “French Identitarian writer Anne Kling has argued that anti-immigration books have tended to be ignored unless they are kosher. She notes that the best-seller on crime and immigration, La France Orange mécanique, was promoted by “right-wing and ultra-right-wing Zionist” Jews and that the book’s author was represented in court by Gilles-William Goldnadel, a Franco-Israeli dual national close to the Likud party, Franco-Jewish neoconservative networks thus find it in their interest to promote books and ideas hostile to Islamic immigration.”
Durocher gives several scenarios in which a candidate like Zemmour would conform to Jewish interests:
One possible outcome would be for the center-right conservative party to become a genuinely anti-immigration party or possibly have FN participation in a coalition government (and possibly an outright FN presidential victory, although I wouldn’t bank on that before 2022 at the earliest).
This is only possible if the French Jewish community, on some level, accepts it. This may reflect in fact the optimum outcome for them: To not completely Islamize/Africanize France, but to have a multiracial country in which European-French remain the majority, with Jews as a privileged group, particularly over-represented in the oligarchy and media, and with politicians particularly sensitive to its concerns. This, it seems to me, would be optimal for French Jews, but, as we’ve already seen, Jews often pursue their ideological fervor even to the point of self-destructiveness, so the rational outcome is not necessarily the most likely. It is not clear that they would be temperamentally capable of maintaining a stable equilibrium, even one which was in their favor.
Axios presents the results of a recent small survey of 1,310 French citizens; Oct. 1-4, 2021
Emmanuel Macron 24%
Eric Zemmour 17
Marine Le Pen 15
Xavier Bertrand 13
Jean-Luc Mélenchon 11
And as Axios notes:
A split in the far-right vote could provide an opening for a candidate like Xavier Bertrand, who is seeking the nomination of the center-right Republicans.
The Harris poll gives Macron the slimmest of margins (51% to 49%) in a hypothetical runoff with Bertrand, and slightly larger leads against Le Pen (53% to 47%) and Zemmour (55% to 45%).
So Durocher’s scenario of the center-right benefiting from a Zemmour candidacy may come true (Zemmour hasn’t announced that he is running). But what is quite clear is that the Jewish community remains a power in France and is quite unlikely to support Le Pen.
Another issue is Covid policy. Macron has opted for a very strict vaccine policy which has led to protests and will likely sway some voters.
Over the weekend [July, 2021], more than 100,000 people took to the streets to decry French President Emmanuel Macron’s tough new rules that require proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter cafes, restaurants, churches, trains, shopping centers, cinemas, sports stadiums and many other public places. Two vaccination centers were also targeted by vandals. … some French venues that hold more than 50 people will start asking people to show so-called digital “health passes” that certify a person’s vaccination status. Macron has also made it mandatory for all health workers to get vaccinated. … Macron’s draconian approach to vaccines may end up hurting him as he starts his campaign for reelection next April.
A Daily Mail article (September 27) shows why the establishment would fear Le Pen in the April, 2022 election and use Zemmour as a way to derail her candidacy. Macron’s popularity is slipping, and vaccine policy and his pro-EU stance are issues:
Public dissatisfaction has been compounded by [Macron’s] bungled vaccine programme, that saw him brazenly claiming the AstraZeneca jab was only ‘quasi-effective’ before quickly backtracking amid poor uptake among the sceptical public.
The voters disdain for the EU has increased, leaving Macron more isolated as Le Pen gains ground.
Impatience with the president has been fuelled not just by the glacial vaccine roll-out but also by his apparent contradictions of scientific advice, with rivals referring to him as a ‘Napoleon’ and accusing the president of believing that he is an epidemiologist.
Adding to his woes, voting intentions for Le Pen’s party have not been this positive since her father Jean-Marie Le Pen’s campaign in 2002, when he reached the second round of the presidential election.
The right-wing party is ranking ahead of any other party in France among the 25-34 age group, who have faced unemployment and soaring costs of student loans.
Many of the younger age groups had already turned against Macron in the Yellow Vest protests of 2018, the pandemic only hardening their positions.
On the other hand, Marine Le Pen recently called the health pass “a disproportionate interference with [our] liberty” and promised that she would be a “president of French liberties.” On the EU, Le Pen has “toned the [anti-EU] rhetoric down to try and win over more voters.”
Below is an article by Daniel Barge reposted with permission from Affirmative Right. As with Durocher, there is a real possibility that Zemmour could derail Marine Le Pen’s candidacy.
I don’t know who Éric Zemmour is or what his appeal to French people is. To get a true flavour of the guy I would probably have to learn French, which is never going to happen. But I can infer that he talks a great game, and makes plenty of good points. But those are mere details, and details are generally irrelevant. What is important is the big picture.
What is obvious, however, is that France has a Presidential election next year, and it would be extremely awkward for the governing elites if someone like Marine Le Pen won.
The way the election is structured is that there are a couple of rounds, with the final round being a run off between the two leading candidates. Last time it was the clearly astroturfed Macron vs Le Pen in the final, with Macron winning 66% to 34%.
The reason Macron won was because he was a “centrist” with almost total media support, who was able to take most of the votes to his Left as well as many Cuckservatives to his right. While he got 95% of voters describing themselves as “Left-wing” and 91% of voters describing themselves as “rather Left-wing,” Le Pen interestingly got almost a quarter or voters describing themselves as “Very left-wing.”
Since then, Le Pen has been making moves to break out of the “far-right extremist” framing imposed on her, and has made further inroads both to Leftist and Centrist voters.
For years now, in head-to-head polls with Macron she has been in the mid 40s, sometimes narrowing the gap to just 6 points. As we know, polls grossly under-count populist Right figures, so the gap may be much narrower or even inverted. Also, it has to be borne in mind that Le Pen’s support, which is socially unvalidated and constantly demonised by the media, is much harder than Macron’s, after all, his wishy-washy centrism does not inspire much passionate support anywhere.
So, from this we see that the macro-data was all pointing to Le Pen having a much better chance of beating Macron in 2022. Now, suddenly we are hearing about this “new” nationalist meteor, Éric Zemmour. Marine Le Pen’s own father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, now in his 90s, is said to be backing him.
From a quick “catch-up” article in Axios:
A far-right firebrand is shaking up the French presidential election and, with six months to go, has pulled into second in the polls.
Why it matters: This race had long seemed on course for a rematch between President Emmanuel Macron, now an unpopular incumbent, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen. But it’s Le Pen who’s now facing a major threat on her right flank.
Driving the news: Éric Zemmour, a writer and TV pundit sometimes compared to Tucker Carlson, is second in the latest Harris Interactive poll — a crucial benchmark, as the top two finishers will enter a runoff. Never before has a candidate jumped so quickly in the polls, pollster Antoine Gautier told AFP.
Zemmour — who was convicted in 2009 of inciting racial hatred and is an advocate of the “Great Replacement” theory popular among white supremacists — has yet to enter the race, but took a leave of absence from the French equivalent of Fox News.
I won’t comment on his Jewishness, but it’s clear that Zemmour is an effective communicator who talks in a way that strikes a chord with ordinary French voters, but why is he pushing himself forward as a potential candidate, especially now? Remember, details are irrelevant. It is the bigger picture that is important.
There are three reasonable possibilities of what will happen with Zemmour, all of them negative for the populist Right:
- He crashes and burns, whereupon his lack of purchase with Right-wing voters is attributed to “anti-Semitism” and used to smear Le Pen as a “Nazi” again, scaring some voters to cling to Macron. An old trick that seems to keep on working.
- He does well, whereupon Le Pen’s bloc is split down the middle, allowing someone else — a bland Centre-Leftist or Centre-Rightist — to push Le Pen and Zemmour down to 3rd and 4th spot, and thus set up a “safe” final round for the Establishment.
- He does very well, whereupon he faces off against Macron in the final round and somehow manages to lose.
The idea that Zemmour goes all the way and wins the Presidency seems a little far-fetched but not impossible. However, this can safely be set aside for the moment.
So, to summarize, what are we looking at here?
In 2017 Le Pen does well for a Right-wing Populist but is defeated in the final round to an astroturfed Macron. By 2021 President Astroturf is looking shop-worn and jaded, while Le Pen continues to build a solid challenge. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Zemmour is unleashed, his most obvious purpose apparently being to stop Le Pen winning again. Conclusion: he’s a spoiler candidate.
What we are seeing here, once again, is the central principle around which contemporary French politics is built: namely stopping Marine Le Pen becoming President.
Is this part of the “shadow war,” which Colin Liddell and others allude to, that is being fought out between the West and the rising “ChiRus” powers of the East, with Le Pen weaponised to destablise the West while Zemmour is a French Deep State countermove? Or do the elites just genuinely dislike Le Pen, and think that their version of Pan-European and Eurabian multiculturalism is the way forward?