The right-ward march of the west continues unabated:
Sarkozy’s stunning acknowledgment of Le Pen’s legitimacy can only help her cause: In the days after the first round, nearly two-thirds of Sarkozy voters told pollsters they favored an electoral pact with her party in the legislative elections that will follow soon after the presidential campaign. Le Pen herself clearly wants Sarkozy to lose, declaring that she will cast a blank ballot in the second round. She has called the UMP no different from the Socialists, and, indeed, her nationalist stance offers a starker alternative to the two major parties than they do to each other. Can this alternative achieve major party status? Having helped to dissolve the traditional French right while failing to replace it with a coherent or popular ideology of his own, it now appears possible that Nicolas Sarkozy’s principal legacy will be the rise of Marine Le Pen.
Voters also showed surprisingly strong support for the right-wing Independence Party, which campaigned on a platform that includes having Britain withdraw from the European Union. The party’s strong showing could amount to a wake-up call for Cameron, seen as a moderate reformer who has attempted to shift the Conservatives closer to the political center. The coalition’s junior partners — the Liberal Democrats — continued a major unwinding of support since their decision to join the Conservatives in government two years ago, with the number of elected local councilors from the party falling to a record low.
Here’s how it works: as austerity decimates European economies, serious Burkeans like Cameron become more and more tempted to go Neo-Nazi lite. They’ll give in eventually.