Oct 20, 2021
In our electoral war room eight months ago, we at Uncommon Decency argued that the French political landscape ahead of the presidential race next May was ripe for a populist upset. In other words, that the scores of pollsters predicting a Macron-LePen runoff contest could be proved wrong by France’s ever so facetious electorate. That upset might just have a name now: Eric Zemmour. A former political journalist and a Tucker Carlsonesque talking head, the right-wing intellectual has published his third bestselling essay, his public meetings quickly morphing into campaign rallies. Of Algerian Jewish stock, Zemmour has found himself in the unlikely role of organic intellectual for the country’s nationalistic right. Though not officially in the running, his bid for the presidency is but a foregone conclusion. In the span of two months Zemmour surged from 5% in the polls to the high teens, making him a favorite to face off against Macron in the runoff. In the most Trumpian of ways, he keeps a near-monopoly on the airwaves by breaking up taboos and imposing his agenda, such as the borderline conspiracy theory of a great replacement of France’s white Christian population with a new brown and Islamic alien majority. Today we dive into the Zemmour phenomenon and gauge how far he can go with two veteran journalists, Anne-Élisabeth Moutet and John Lichfield.
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