We’ve had a few days to digest the results of the French elections now, with observers from around the world weighing in on “what it all means.” Marine Le Pen didn’t just lose… she was slaughtered at the polls by any modern election standard. This has resulted in waves of smug, self-satisfied cheering from liberals on multiple continents who were distressed over Brexit, Donald Trump’s election and a growing, uneasy sense that the wheels were somehow coming off the wagon. But perhaps the celebrations are a bit premature.
There’s a great article at Fox News by Chris Stirewalt, in which he warns that the Left should be “a bit more circumspect in their satisfaction” because Le Pen may have lost the battle, but she gained one heck of a lot of ground in the long war.
But [Le Pen] lost, as predicted, and from Paris to Manhattan to Washington to San Francisco a mild shudder of pleasure met the result. This is not entirely unlike the response to the various stumbles and ongoing foibles of Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress.
They should be more circumspect in their satisfaction.
As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told USA Today, “The rise of nativism is having an impact on the politics, even if the candidates aren’t winning.”
You can call it nativism, nationalism, populism, anti-globalism or any of the many other isms being bandied about in this discussion, but one thing you can not deny is that a different mood has set in among a lot of people in both Europe and the Americas. Stirewalt goes on to point out that even the “winners” in some of these debates will obviously be taking notice and very likely modifying their positions. Read the second, emphasized (by me) portion of this excerpt carefully.
Do you suppose that Macron will take for granted French attitudes about immigration or Islam? Do you think that Democrats will be so cavalier about opposing border security? Do you think that Republicans will ever be blithe again about free trade?…
It’s not racist to want controlled immigration. It’s not isolationist to want trade policies to represent national interests. It’s not nativist to care about your culture.
That last bit truly summarizes something which many of us have been feeling for quite some time and those few brief statements touch on topics which zig-zag across party lines. Democrats in charge of the party continue to scoff at the idea of border security, but after the last election there are more and more of them who aren’t quite so enthusiastic in their objections. Republican waving the free trade banner and suffering from Smoot–Hawley Hysteria Syndrome have been forced to at least look at the effects of unfair trade practices used by other countries. And seeing what’s been happening in France and across most of Europe has everyone at least considering what it means for a nation to have a communal, historical culture and stiffening their backs at suggestions that it’s racist to even bring up the topic for discussion.
Marine Le Pen lost the election, but Emmanuel Macron is already looking over his shoulder and dreading how he will be judged after the next terror attack. Donald Trump may not have money for a border wall yet, but illegal immigration is already down 70% and Democrats need to be cautious about acting like that’s a bad thing. NAFTA hasn’t been scrapped, but Canada and Mexico are at the bargaining table talking about a fresh look at what is or isn’t fair.
You lose a few battles in every war, but pretending that Le Pen’s loss suddenly means the status quo is fixed in stone is to deny reality. The world continues to change and we ignore that at our own peril.