France is radicalizing. The National Front is climbing to dizzying heights, making Nicolas Sarkozy regret heeding the voice of his party that promised him a populist campaign. This was the President's greatest error. His visceral absence of conviction made him think that he could freely navigate from the center to the extreme right occasionally retreating back to the left causing a deliberate blurring of divisions, a well known trick when you have an essentially self-oriented political vision. The electors have punished his self-centeredness without regard to representing the traditional right. They punish him for having been led more often than leading. His chances are dwindling as the hours go by. Apart from purely political considerations, his departure would do some good if it only put an end to this shameless political spectacle that has been imposed upon us where the personal lives of candidates are delivered to mask what is actually relevant.
The rise of the National Front is worrisome for Marine Le Pen despite her best efforts to make herself presentable. She is far from victory, and it will probably take one or two more generations in the Le Pen dynasty for the party to produce returns other than deeply negative waves. By pandering to Sarkozy's true nature, it seems that she can only succeed at losing to him. The fact remains that the party maintains a strategy that is more "emetic" than rational. Accordingly, this first round will satisfy the paranoid who see a largely exaggerated enemy as the cause of all their ills.
What could save Sarkozy, now? A miracle, embodied by Marine Le Pen as Joan of Arc who would come to save her king? Highly unlikely.
We recall Francois Hollande urging the French to choose a normal man as the French head of state. This could happen. Although he yielded to the demagoguery familiar to the left during election cycles, he seems capable of appeasement. But if he wins, he should remember that he owes his victory to the rejection of a man rather than a platform based on unrealistic growth, which allowed him to avoid the real issue of the efforts required. This will be a heavy burden. Because globalization is a peculiar force in that it allows real money to escape from the hands of those who would ignore the temptation to get a hold of it and balance the accounts. We must ensure that Hollande's mandate, if his election really comes to pass, does not become one of those political failures, the victim of uncontrollable economic interests. Because for once, the National Front could become the main right-wing party in France. And the rest is history.
What remains is the choice between the two pillars. Sarkozy intends to shatter Holland. A strange expression, but on that is understandable. Those who have succeeded in capturing Elysee are not likely to leave it gracefully. Things never change.