Lessons from France

Politico reports that National Rally (aka the National Front) gained “an elevenfold increase to 89 seats that gives the party unprecedented power in the incoming National Assembly” in the French elections earlier this week.

National Rally’s breakthrough from eight seats to 89 in the French legislature mirrors the big electoral breakthrough of the NSDAP in the 1930 Reichstag elections. Prior to then, the Nazi Party had always been a tiny, fringe movement in German politics. Yet in that election the party’s share of the German parliament increased from 12 seats to 107, a huge explosion in popularity.

What we should take away from both cases is that politics doesn’t move along at a steady, incremental pace. Often there can be no observable gains for years, then suddenly a movement can burst into popularity. It’s easy to forget this when you’re part of a dissident movement, because you can struggle for years with what seems like interminably slow progress.  You expect a steady climb to power, with growth and popularity increasing at a predictable rate.

But this isn’t how politics actually works. What is much more likely is years of extremely slow growth, followed by a sudden exponential increase. This is why persistence is so important, not giving up and not letting every setback get you down.

Another lesson we should draw from the French elections is that those in power grow weaker with every step forward of a dissident movement.

Politico reports,

“The far-right party, which only had eight MPs in the last makeup of the French lower chamber, had fallen short of the 15-seat threshold political parties have to reach to form a parliamentary group in its last term. MPs who are not in groups have less speaking time, less means and less say in how the assembly operates. Groups also get office space and meeting rooms.”

Politics also is a zero-sum game. For every increase in power and influence of a dissident movement, the dominant power suffers a decrease of power and influence. This is why every little bit of effort counts, every small success hurts the ruling power. It’s not like those in power maintain their same level of dominance whether your movement has 1% support as compared with 8% or 10% or 15% support.  If your movement has 15% support, the rest of the System is 15% weaker than it was, which helps contribute to its decline and downfall.

Also, in every System there are certain thresholds which, once crossed, entitle a political party or movement to large scale institutional privileges.
“With 89 seats, the National Rally will also be able to put forward a no-confidence vote. This could prove risky for Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s government, which has a majority of MPs against it. It is also above the 60-seat bar needed to refer a passed bill to the Constitutional Court, which is able to censor texts it deems anti-constitutional.” This means NR has major new powers to block and gum up the works of the degenerate mainstream liberal French parties, and to publicly hold them to account.

“Le Pen’s party has also bagged an actual jackpot, as the French state gives more money to parties that do well in elections. The party will receive about €10 million every year until 2027. At the end of 2020, the party had close to €24 million in debt, according to an official transparency report.”

These kinds of monetary benefits are also available under campaign finance law in the United States. For example, presidential candidate Ross Perot won enough support in 1992 and 1996 to qualify for millions of federal matching funds in subsequent elections.  Political momentum and influence has a cumulative, multiplier effect where larger and larger successes lead to still larger gains.

Don’t let anyone tell you there is no political solution. The struggle against this System is front-loaded. It’s hardest in the early period. But each tiny success builds on itself, and only after years of work and struggle can it reach a point where it can suddenly burst into mainstream popularity.

This System is much weaker in politics than it appears, which is why it spends so much time trying to depoliticize the people, or at least convince dissidents there is no political solution. In fact, there is only the political solution.