Legislative: Marine Le Pen can thank Éric Zemmour

This is probably the most important event of these parliamentary elections, or even of current political history: the RN wins 89 deputies in a majority vote. The “glass ceiling” has thus officially been broken. And in a way, Éric Zemmour paved the way, perhaps unconsciously.

Journalist Jules Torres is part of the closed circle of “embedded”. For months, he followed the Reconquest teams and was able to interact with the candidate. What emerges is a daily story that is sometimes complacent, but always fascinating. Fascinating in the sense that it highlights a fairly young, enthusiastic, structured entourage. And determined to put issues like “great replacement” or “repatriation” left by an RN in search of respectability back into the public debate.

The main importance of the book is this: it allows us to show from the inside the extent to which the Zemmourist staff is disconnected from the French. The successful author has surrounded himself with ideologues, traditional Catholics, fachosphere figures who appeal to a small base. Enough to fill the meetings of a CSP+ crowd eager for literary quotes and references to Talleyrand or Bainville. On the other hand, the ‘people’ of peripheral France are neglected and difficult to convince, because they do not know them well. Blessed bread for Marine Le Pen who had Éric Zemmour demonize her and occupied the open field. For him the constant TV channels, the controversies about Ukraine and the attacks of the political class and the media. It is up to her to travel to the markets, to the hypermarkets, to the associations to discuss purchasing power and the difficulties of everyday life. The result of the races is as follows: an RN stronger than ever, thanks in part to Éric Zemmour, involuntary electoral agent of the deputy of Pas-de-Calais who did not ask so much.

Decision makers. The RN seems to be the big winner of the parliamentary elections. Can we quantify how much Éric Zemmour contributed to this score?

Jules Torres† Marine Le Pen took advantage of the “lightning rod” Zemmour for half a year. Except during the intermission between the two rounds, the RN boss received very few attacks from the press and media focused on Recapture. This allowed her to soften her image, especially among LR voters. In the polls, this allows for wins by seeking voters outside of the RN’s core popular audiences. That is quite clear when we look at the polls from the second round of the parliamentary elections. When they ran out of candidates, 58% of LR voters abstained, 30% voted RN and 12% for Nupes. Such scores would not have been possible in 2017. For a growing number of French, Marine Le Pen is no longer a fear. Today, Jean-Luc Melenchon cleaves a lot more than she does. And I think Eric Zemmour has something to do with it.

“In the second round of the parliamentary elections, about a third of the LR voters chose an RN candidate”

Reconquest called for a “gathering of patriots” to weigh in in the National Assembly. However, Marine Le Pen’s move gained 89 seats alone. So what’s the practical use of “Zemmourism”?

Jules Torres† The RN is strong in the polls, the last presidential and parliamentary elections prove it. But to achieve such results, Marine Le Pen imposed a single rule on her party. Within that, few different sensitivities exist. The ‘identity flow’ in particular has lost its influence. As of now, it’s a populist line that doesn’t use the term right that dominates. Reconquest makes it possible to have in this political family a certain plurality of thoughts: more identity-based, more liberal in economic terms…

As we can see, Éric Zemmour performs better at the electoral level than in certain areas where the RN does not exist. An alliance could have been helpful. It would even have allowed the law of justice to become the guiding force in the country. Remember that in the first round, Reconquest and RN’s cumulative score is higher than Nupes.

Reconquête failed to place a candidate in the second round of the parliamentary elections. Was it expected by party headquarters?

The Reconquête directors did not expect to get a fraction, ie a minimum of 15 deputies. On the other hand, they were convinced that Éric Zemmour would manage to climb to the second round in the fourth constituency of Var, where he had achieved the best score in the first round of the presidential election with almost 15% of the vote. Being in third place was a real slap in the face. It is clear that the parliamentary elections are well below expectations. But the party has a few reasons to rejoice.

Which?

By proposing 550 candidates, it establishes itself locally and brings in referees to spread its message throughout the territory. He was also able to fill his treasury to prepare for future campaigns. In addition, certain media candidates such as Stanislas Rigault or Damien Rieu have learned the trade. It is difficult for a political movement to take root in the field, it takes many elections to take root…

Reconquest does best in the affluent neighborhoods of major cities. Is the party a civil party?

Just look at the presidential and legislative electoral map. Reconquête achieves its best scores in the chic communes of the Parisian suburbs, in the districts west of the capital, in the seaside resorts of the Côte d’Azur. At the heart of his electorate is a patriotic bourgeoisie, little sensitive to demonization. On the other hand, let’s recognize that it didn’t know how to press in the popular electorate.

“Marine Le Pen controls much of the popular electorate, it is a solid foundation”

Why ?

I followed him in his campaign and I think he made some strategic mistakes. A candidate must demonstrate that he is in osmosis with the French. However, he waited until January 22 to make his first market visit to Cannes. Marine Le Pen has been doing this for years. She must have taken hundreds of walks, almost a million selfies. He also made far too many shows on continuous TV channels at the expense of the PQR or local TV channels. Marine Le Pen did the opposite.

Éric Zemmour wanted to form an alliance between the working class and the bourgeoisie. So he failed. Is it an “impossible union”?

In its current state it seems difficult. Marine Le Pen “holds in hand” part of the popular electorate and repels wealthy circles. Éric Zemmour is in the opposite situation and the very harsh words spoken about Marine Le Pen, much appreciated by his base, will not help him. It seems that an alliance is possible, but it has to be done behind a third party. Why not, in the medium term, around Jordan Bardella that appeals to both types of voters?

Note that this alliance can also be forged by a personality of the “classic” right. In 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy took over Jean-Marie Le Pen and gathered a bourgeois and popular electorate. He is the last to achieve this.

What is the future of Reconquest?

At the electoral level, the next battle will be the 2024 European elections, the vote of which could allow Reconquête to seat MEPs. With 6%, LFI and the PS could each elect 6 delegates. Until then, the party will struggle to get to the light, in the absence of elected officials. It must therefore engage in a cultural battle with young people on social networks, in intellectual circles. In short, it’s likely that Reconquest will do more “metapolitics” than politics.

Interview by Lucas Jakubowicz

Zemmour, in the secret of his campaign, by Jules Torres, Plon, 224 pages, 19.90 euros

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