Regardless of what happens in France today (and the numbers appear to show a victory for Liberal-Centrist En Marche’s Macron), tomorrow is the dawn of a new reality in France. That awakening isn’t that there is an Extreme Nationalist party in France with significant followers, it’s that people are going to acknowledge it. Regardless of what the final numbers show, the Front National is a very real part of France today and tomorrow.
The fact that 26% of French voters, the lowest since 1969, have abstained from voting and that the second place party in the country, even if it’s by a large margin, is an Extreme Conservative Nationalist party speaks volumes about what France is today. If the exit polls are correct and Macron is to win 65%-35%, then that means Le Pen got 17 million people in France to vote for her. That’s 35% of the people who voted, but still an impressive 25%, a quarter of the country that voted for her. Le Pen doesn’t need to win, she just needs to exist. For all the joking and mockery of the Tea Party movement in the US of the last ten years, it undeniably shifted the political thermometer of the United States. It created a world where the traditional left and right parties faded in relevance to the majority of voters and where someone like Trump could win if they just produced their show properly.
Second place for Le Pen and the Front National is actually a victory because it means the political landscape of France is different than what people were willing to accept or believe. Beginning tomorrow, with the massive support they gained, things will happen in France with input from the Front National whether people like it or not.