Pat Buchanan’s analysis of the voting in Europe includes the following:

Consider what the French electorate just said.

In the first round of voting, communists and radicals took 11 percent. Their leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, endorsed the socialist Francois Hollande, who went on to win Sunday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who ran second in the first round with only 27 percent, raised his total Sunday to 48 percent. Though Marine Le Pen of the National Front had refused to endorse him, Sarkozy openly courted her voters.

As Marine put it, they call us racists, protectionists and xenophobes. Then they come asking for our endorsement, echo our words and seek our votes.

The near 30 percent the National Front and far left combined pulled in the first round is unprecedented in the annals of the Fifth Republic.


Ten years ago, the first-round voting in the French Presidential election looked as follows:

Gaullists: 19.88%
Socialists: 16.18%
Greens (including CAP21): 7.13%
UDF: 5.72%
Other Centrist (CPNT, Liberal Democracy, Radical Left, Christian Democrats): 11.65%

Trotskyist: (Workers’ Struggle, Revolutionary Communist, Workers’ Party): 11.56%
Pole Republicain (Left Euroskeptic): 5.33%
Communist: 3.37%
TOTAL LEFT: 20.26%

National Front: 16.86%
National Republican: 2.34%

This year, the results on the first round looked as follows:

Socialists: 28.63%
Gaullists: 27.18%
UDF: 9.13%
Greens: 2.31%

Left Front: 11.10%
Trotskyist: 0.56%
Other left: 1.40%
TOTAL LEFT: 13.06%

National Front: 17.90%
Arise the Republic: 1.79%

The vote for the Euroskeptic right is just a whisker above what it was 10 years ago. The vote for the Euroskeptic left is substantially smaller than it was 10 years ago. Even if you put the Pole Republicain in a separate box (they were definitely Euroskeptic, but not emphatically left), the vote share for the far left is about 2.5% lower this year than it was ten years ago. The broad Left Front got fewer votes this year than the Trotskyist parties alone got in 2002.

Indeed, if we compare to the previous Presidential election, in 1995 (17 years ago), you see something similar. The rightist parties (National Front and Movement for France) got 19.74% – slightly more than they did this year. The leftist parties (Communists and Trotskyists, plus a tiny cadre of Larouche followers) got 14.24% – again, more than they did this year.

Yes, the left and right fringes got more votes in the first round this year than they did in 2007, when the right (National Front and Movement for France) got 12.67% and the left (Trotskyist, Communist and Jose Bove’s party) got 9.00%. But while 2012 was an uptick from 2007, it was hardly an unprecedented victory for the fringes.