France elections: LePen gets nearly 7-million votes, a record for her party

The Associated Press reports that the far-right rocked the French political establishment on Sunday. Yes, Marine LePen was expected to do well in the first round of the presidential election, but she generated a record number of votes for her party.

Le Pen, in a chest-thumping speech to cheering supporters Sunday night, declared that she embodies “the great alternative” for French voters. She portrayed her duel with Macron as a battle between “patriots” and “wild deregulation” — warning of job losses overseas, mass migration straining resources at home and “the free circulation of terrorists.”

“The time has come to free the French people,” she said at her election day headquarters in the northern French town of Henin-Beaumont, adding that nothing short of “the survival of France” will be at stake in the presidential runoff.

Her supporters burst into a rendition of the French national anthem, chanted “We will win!” and waved French flags and blue flags with “Marine President” inscribed on them.

Her opponent is Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to be the winner on May 7. Conventional logic — and granted such logic has been tossed to the side of the road in the United Kingdom and the United States in the past year — suggests voters will rally around him because he is more palatable to the broad swath of the electorate.

Vox issues an important reminder, noting

That Le Pen and Macron are the two front runners moving into round two of the elections represents a remarkable turning point for France. In a stunning rejection of the status quo in French politics, neither of the two mainstream parties — the Socialists on the left nor the Republicans on the right — made it to the final round, a first in France’s history.

A LePen win in two weeks would stun her country and the world. Her party’s rhetoric is well known in France. It includes removing France from the European Union, protectionist economic policies and anti-immigration. Her victory also would be a boon for Russia, though it should be noted that U.S. President Donald Trump also has spoken highly of LePen.

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