For twenty years, with each presidential election, France has been scared about the passage of Le Pen. 2002 and its “clap of thunder”, 2017 and its “cry of alarm”… Twenty years that it passes and that we catch up, between the two rounds, with those who no longer believe in it. But not this time. No, not this time… Laurent Bazin’s chronicle.
In the summer of 2002, when I arrived in this small village in the South, a slogan blocked the stone bridge which opens towards the avenue du Cazal. “No pasarán”. The slogan of the Spanish Republicans had been painted handsomely in black paint on the parapet. Since that night of April 21 when local youths had come to put it there, no one had thought of making it disappear. Especially not. An old man explained to me while rolling the “r” like a torrent of river that“here, Le Pen and his band of fachos, they are not welcome”. The village voted for Chirac overwhelmingly in the second round, like the rest of the country.
Twenty years later, there is no longer a slogan on the parapet of the bridge. On the evening of the first round, here, Marine Le Pen came out on top with 35% of the vote. 112 clear and determined voices. And forty better for Zemmour. Leaving little suspense for the second round.
It is a quiet little village, however, populated by friendly and gruff people, farmers, craftsmen, owners of SMEs, retirees, a few old elders (less and less) and young couples who populate the housing estates and work in the shops, factories, shops of nearby Carcassonne. And at the Agglo, too: here, 40% of jobs are public jobs.
They are modest, hard-working people, 96% of whom take their car to go to work, only watch the news with one eye but give for Ukraine when asked… But their purchasing power, that , They are talking ! And for a long time. With the feeling that they are not being listened to and that the car swallows up the vacations and extras they would like to pay for themselves every day.
They are very simple people, French people who like to chat about football or rugby, a nice piece of meat grilled over a fire, fresh summer rosé and enjoy dropping their children off in the car at school. Estagnol, before leaving for work. But rarely politics. They are not militants, moreover they no longer believe in parties. Right here, “in socialist land”, Hidalgo made 7 votes. But when it comes to voting, they do it with both hands, 85%. And 35% for Marine Le Pen, therefore.
They are the ones the President has just discovered, suddenly. They who, for a long time, were in the eyes of the macronists these French people who “smoke cigarettes and drive diesel”, have become, between the two towers, the pearl of their eyes. Suddenly, it was necessary to speak to them, to catch up with them by the sleeve. When they heard that we were finally taking an interest in their fate, when after the first round Bruno Le Maire addressed the “French who are struggling to end the month” and that Gérald Darmanin swore that it was necessary “hear their cry of alarm”, they smiled with a hint of bitterness. It is because they are no longer fooled. From Chirac, to Sarkozy and from Holland to Macron, they have heard too many of these declarations of circumstantial love.
“Everything is beautiful on election Sunday, and then afterwards we plan your APL or we make you work like a dog until you are 65”, they blurt out as their only comment, before shrugging their shoulders.
So this time, they won’t turn back. No. Those who voted for Le Pen will vote again for her. And others will join them, who did not really like this President who did not see fit to come and explain his program to them before the first round and “looked down on them” for five years. They no longer believe in it, they are ready to try something else…
So they skipped the outgoing President as they change channels on their XXL TV. Without thinking too much about the consequences, because after all “the others we tried them and she hasn’t yet, right?” And then, the election over, the result known, they went back to their barbecue and their little village house, with “the garden that goes well”.
What consequence, anyway?
It’s just politics. It’s not life changing.
Find this paper in Rolling Stone n°142, available here
Follow the evolution of the presidential with Rolling Stone