Never let a good foreign crisis go to waste without some kind of an authoritarian tweet! That's the motto of Donald Trump, who has yearned for his little Neo-Nazi Marine LePen to also get into power in France. Of course, with that "Frexit" added to the Brexit, it would make the collapse of the EU almost a certainty. Fortunately, that didn't materialize as Centrist Independent Emmanuel Macron just topped Le Pen yesterday by two percentage points. ('France Chooses Hope Over Fear mongering', The Financial Times, today). This marks the 3rd time right wing nationalists have been beaten back, following elections in Austria and the Netherlands. But....Macron still has to put Le Pen away on May 7th in the runoff.
In the lead up to the French elections yesterday Trump- as is his wont- was quite active. For example, on Friday morning Trump tweeted about the possible impact of the Paris shooting the previous day resulting in one police officer dead and 2 wounded. Trump wrote:
"Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people in France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!"
No surprise Trump - the Hitler wannabe - would tweet this offal, attempting to interfere in the French election like he enlisted the help of the Russkies to do so in ours. After all, recall another incident in Paris - the November 2015 mass shooting at the Bataclan theater - helped solidify his lead in the polls going into the GOP primaries. But this is how authoritarians work: they prey on each and every act of terror to ramp up fear to support their shticks. At that time Trump tweeted:
"Everyone is now saying how right I was with illegal immigration and the wall. After Paris, they're all on the bandwagon."
Of course, as the results from yesterday revealed, this is ineffable codswallop. First, not "everyone" was saying any such thing. At least half the French electorate Is not on his "bandwagon" just as ours wasn't when he invoked each and every terror and quasi-terror incident (like the mass shooting in Orlando) to try to ramp up fear and consternation. Second there is NO evidence "illegal immigration", as per the Dept. of Homeland Security's own stats, shows any link to an uptick in terrorism. The DHA report showed no terror attacks transpired from any of the six nations Trump put on his de facto Muslim ban.
Third, the "wall" will not do anything to halt terror even if some element could use illegal (Mexican) immigration as a vehicle. What the wall will do is cost American taxpayers upward of $40 b if ever passed into law, and also - because of its putative design along river borders (like the Rio Grande) leave hundreds of Americans on the Mexican side. (Look for Trump's wall funding to trigger a shutdown later this week)
Again, this is what authoritarian narcissists do to consolidate power, as Hitler did after the Reichstag fire. (In that case, turning the power of the authoritative Nazi state against the Jews.)
In the case of the recent Paris attack, recall Trump labeled it such in advance of what French authorities acknowledged. During a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minster Paolo Gentiloni, Trump quickly called it a "terrorist attack" before French authorities had done so. Such premature negative framing is common to most authoritarians who need a general terror meme to support their campaigns or future plans. Trump went on to blab:
"It's a very very terrible thing that is going on in the world today. And what can you say? It just never ends. We have to be strong and vigilant and I've been saying that for a long time."
Once more, look at the buzzwords here: "strong and vigilant" - same words Hitler used after the Reichstag fire. Also Trump's words "it just never ends", expressing more the fondest hope of any proper strong man because if it ever did "end" there'd be no use for his authoritarian prescriptions.
And more to the point, because authoritarians know sane people are skeptical of their governance or what passes for such, they seek to gather other confirmed authoritarians into their fold. Hence, Trump praising the Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he's now egging on Le Pen. He'd like nothing better than to be sitting in the middle of such a triumvirate by the end of the summer. And yes, I call a spade a spade, so Marine is a neo-Nazi, given the apple never falls far from the tree, and her notorious dad (Jean-Marie) once said the holocaust was just a "detail of history". (It is true that he was expelled from the National Front party by his daughter, but this wasn't done out of some noble motive or respect for the Jews. She did it to pave the way for a credible campaign run using the PR that she'd 'disavowed' Poppy's hate". Don't buy it for a second!)
That Le Pen is as shamelessly exploitative of attacks as Trump, to firm up her authoritarian bona fides, was evident in the wake of the Paris shootings. That is, referencing "incredible lapses in the justice system" such that the current French government and its predecessor "had done everything to make France lose the war on terrorism". Immediately following her angst-provoking blurtations, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve blasted her for exploiting the attack.
Although Trump has never formally met Le Pen, a little known but sordid fact is that she is close to some of the same advisors who helped craft Trump's pseudo-populist message during the U.S. campaign. (And recall Le Pen was spotted in Trump Tower during the transition in January. The skinny is that they discussed mutual authoritarian governance in a post Brexit, post-Obama world)
Obviously, for Trump and Le Pen, the "populist" blather ....errr...message, is just that, all hollow bloviation with no substance. They tossed out words to console the feelings and infirmities of the poor, native working class blokes but don't really give two craps about them. If Trump really did, why would he have supported a health plan that tossed 24 million off their health care?
Interviewed in a NY Times piece last week, many pro=Trump voters asserted ongoing commitment even if Trump fulfills none of his campaign promises. Why is this? Because he was the "first" to speak to their cultural "persecution" and being "left at the back of the bus for societal priorities". Really, you can't make this shit up. So even after their health care is gone, and their homes foreclosed because the jobs promised never materialize, they will stick with their hero looneytune.
The French just have to ensure that in the runoff election THEY don't get stuck with Trump's psychotic female counterpart!