I have written before about how many Americans do not appreciate the rightward shift of European politics that has occurred over the past decade and a half. But I noted the major exception to the rule: France, which in 2012 elected a unreconstructed Socialist government.
However, the municipal elections did not treat the Socialists kindly. French mayors have broad powers, and turnout in these elections is therefore high by US standards. They thus are a valid indicator of popular political sentiment.
Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant (but allegedly no longer Anti-Semitic), harsh law and order favoring National Front had its best municipal elections ever, with preliminary results showing that it won control of 11 towns with populations of more than 9,000 people as well one of Marseilles’ districts.
An even better night was had by the center-right UMP, which took over 100 towns out of Socialist hands. Fortunately, UMP seems to draw enough support from more conservative French voters to keep the National Front from becoming a major force in national-level politics. But Le Pen’s party is expected to do well in the European Parliamentary elections because its key issues play particularly well with voters who participate in those lower turnout affairs.