Fifty years ago while a student in Paris, a young right wing nationalist named Jean Marie-Le Pen, burst on the scene in a nation convulsed by the debacle in Vietnam and the outbreak of civil war in Algeria. His National Front Party has been around for over fifty years spouting an ultra-nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-European, anti-semitic, and anti-Muslim rhetoric of hate and violence. The world wide recession has been a shot-in-the-arm for those who find a cause of economic decline such as the presence of immigrants. His daughter, Marine Le Pen, and her running mate topped the poll in Sunday’s municipal by-election in the depressed industrial area of northern France. Unless moderate and left wing parties can form a coalition to defeat Ms. Le Pen she might well win her party’s first town hall in years.
If all French parties of the center and left agree to cooperate they can defeat the voices of hate and division, but if they continue squabbling the National Front party will gain a foothold in the industrial area of France. Ironically, Marine Le Pen is viewed as the most moderate of the right wing leader’s daughter. Heck, she is even willing to support the right of abortion and wants to downplay racism.