Whether Eric Zemmour announces his candidacy on December 5 at a major rally in Paris or not, he has already won the presidential elections. His tough talk defending his vision of France, its culture and history, what he calls a “civilizational battle” against “an immigrant invasion imposing a foreign civilisation on France,” has determined what the next president must promise he will do once elected.
The Left and Greens have been reduced to ashes where most hover between one and eight percent of voter intent, and Macron can do at best in the first round vote 23%. The big question is will people vote this time? Zemmour may be the catalyst but he is a victim of his own success.
Like Icarus, Eric Zemmour’s stellar rise in the polls took him too close to the sun and his waxen wings made out of his anti-immigrant rhetoric melted under the competition precipitating the fall we see today.
But this is a symbol of Zemmour’s victories and he has had perhaps one Pyrrhic Victory too many. He has imposed the frame and the themes of the upcoming Presidential elections and everybody has taken on his arguments.
Zemmour made his bed, and now everybody else is sleeping in it and he has been pushed out of his own bed and could end up sleeping on the floor.
Framing The Debate
Zemmour’s claim of the “Great Replacement” of the French by “an invasion of immigrants from different cultures and civilizations” is an argument practically the whole competition from left to right have taken up.
- The far left Les Insoumis party candidate, Jean-luc Melenchon, calls it “creolisation” or what the Germans call Multi-Kulti and says it’s a good thing. Melenchon is polling at 9%. Nearly 70% of the French say there are too many immigrants in the country.
But there is much more to Zemmour’s ideological victory in the campaign.
- One of the socialist hopefuls, Arnaud Montebourg, not only wants to expel illegal migrants and convicted foreign criminals, he also wants to prevent immigrant workers from sending money home to countries which refuse to take back their nationals.
- Les Républicains party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has five primary candidates who want to put an end to birthright citizenship for babies born of foreign parents, end aid to countries which refuse to accept the return of their nationals, deport foreign criminals, end immigration and in some cases even want to strip criminals with duel citizenship of their French citizenship and deport them.
- Marine Le Pen, considered a leftist by Zemmour, is battling for control of traditional far right wing themes such as closing borders, ending immigration, expelling illegal migrants, building new prisons and enforcing minimum sentences.
It is hard to see much daylight between the once Conservative Les Républicains and the far right National Front of 20 years ago. One Primary candidate, Eric Ciotti, wants to rewrite the Constitution to include a clause which says France is a “Christian Nation.” He has gone as far as to say he would vote for Zemmour if he were in the second round against Macron.
The move to the hard right by Les Républicains is political opportunism, at best. Many of the Les Républicains voters say they will cast their ballot for Eric Zemmour as they have already heard such promises from their party, which has been in and out of power for 40 years; promises which were never kept.
For the French philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, Eric Zemmour, a Jew himself of Berber origin, is the “result of 30 years of cowardice.” He also told the Jewish Lobby CRIF, on November 15, that: “Eric Zemmour says France is in danger of death and he is right.”
Zemmour’s handicap is he has not broken into Le Pen’s electorate: the poorly paid workers, the unemployed ethnic French and retirees. Zemmour is strong among conservative middle class and intellectuals. He accuses Le Pen of being a leftist because she wants to nationalize some banks, toll-way auto-routes, and other industries; that now she wants to stay in the Euro and Schengen borderless area and has abandoned Frexit.
Zemmour has also imposed on the whole playing field his idea that social welfare benefits should be reserved for French nationals, that families of delinquents who live in social housing should be expelled when one is arrested for dealing drugs. The idea of sending the Army into what are in Zemmour’s words “the zones of non-Republic” where “gangs, drug dealers and Islamists rule supreme” is generally accepted and up to 10,000 soldiers already patrol the streets of French cities.
The term “zones of non-Republic” has been widely taken up, even by members of the government.
Often Police receive orders not to intervene where it could provoke violence and rioting and are filmed daily backing off from attacks by youth of migrant background.
Under strong political pressure, Zemmour’s editor, Albin Michel, dropped him in June as he was finishing up his latest book, “France Has Not Said Its Last Word” and yet it is a best seller as he tours France making speeches and signing the book, filling concert halls and meeting halls with larger crowds than traditional parties can gather. Eric Zemmour, for the moment, has no party behind him, nor has he officially proclaimed he is a candidate.
Zemmour was forced out of the evening panel debate program on C-News, Face à l’info, in September by the government audio-visual regulator which said he is now an opposition candidate and his speaking time would have to be counted against the station. (1) Another blatant attempt to silence him. It was the most watched evening debate program in the country. The result is there is not one debate program today, even on state run TV, where Zemmour is not a major topic of discussion.
1. In France time for candidates and parties on TV and radio is strictly regulated with 1/3 for the Presidency/Cabinet, 1/3 for the parliamentary majority and 1/3 for the opposition.