The Associated Press is reporting a development happening in #French politics that, if true, will constitute one of the most bizarre events of the 21st Century. It seems that a large number of people in the French LGBT community are turning to the #National Front of #Marine Le Pen in the upcoming French presidential elections. French gays are motivated by a fear of radical Islam, which has made its power felt in recent terror attacks in Paris, as well as Rouen and Nice, as well as a gay nightclub in Orlando. Le Pen, for her part, is embracing her new supporters, purging the National Front of the homophobic tendencies cultivated by the party’s founder and her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen..
Back during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Jean-Marie called for the rounding up of sufferers of the disease and placing them in “isolation centers.” 30 years later, with effective treatments for the disease that was once a certain sentence to a grisly death, the main fear among European gays is being murdered by homophobic Islamic terrorists, Le Pen is exploiting these concerns and is calling for draconian measures that would fall heaviest on France’s burgeoning and largely unassimilated Muslim community. Many in France, as well as other countries in Europe, feel that they are under invasion by migrants from the Middle East and North Africa who do not share European values.
Le Pen has been demonstrating surprising strength in the run-up to the elections. When the campaign started, most analysts were pretty confident that she could not go the distance, even she made the first round. Now, as polling shows the National Front pulling ahead, many are not so sure.
Le Pen seems to be riding a wave of resentment of the traditional parties in France, on both the left and center-right, who believe that they have been betrayed and ignored by mainstream politicians.
The socialists have cratered thanks to the epic unpopularity of the current French President Francois Hollande. Politicians on the right, such as Francois Fillon, have been rocked by scandal.
If Le Pen becomes the first female president of the French Republic, it will be as tumultuous a development in its own way as the events of 1789, though presumably without the beheadings. The ascension of Le Pen, if it happens, will be a parallel to the rise of another unlikely politician, former businessman and reality show star Donald Trump, who is upending American politics to the delight of his supporters and the outrage of his opponents. How Le Pen and Trump would get along would be fascinating to see.