Even from the modest height of the ersatz Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas, the twinned radicalization of Lone Star and French conservatives unfolds in neat parallel. On a number of issues, the discourses of the Tea Party in Texas and the FN in France have pushed the traditional conservative establishments to the right. While “compassionate conservatives” have long argued for a more humane and generous immigration policy, the Tea Party has pushed mightily in the opposite direction. This seismic shift has led to the growing isolation of establishment figures like former President George W. Bush, and the growing prominence of radicals like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who himself becomes a beacon of moderation when compared to Tea Party militants like Senate candidate Chris Mapp, who told the Dallas Morning News that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight illegal immigrants — in his words, “wetbacks” — crossing the border.
The French right has responded in a similar manner to the FN’s harsh immigration policies. While no one has suggested shooting illegal immigrants from Romania or North Africa, the FN long ago called for the expulsion of three million “illegals” from France. More recently, FN leader Marine Le Pen has spoken about an “Arab occupation” of many French cities, while Florian Philippot, the FN candidate who is poised to win the mayor’s race in the Alsatian city of Forbach, insists on the term “invasion.”
In response, the mainstream French right has adopted the same language, sometimes with even greater ferocity.