Mélenchon: Far-leftist surges in French polls, shocking the frontrunners
With ten days to go before April 23’s first round vote, the colourful, cultured and cantankerous far-leftist has the frontrunners on the defensive.
Suddenly, the grumpy far-leftist -- a showman in a Chairman Mao jacket who openly admired late Venezuelan populist leader Hugo Chavez -- holds the mantle of France’s most popular politician. In the course of a whirlwind month, the 65-year-old Mélenchon surged nine spots to number one in weekly glossy Paris Match’s opinion poll. A full 68 percent of those surveyed hold “favourable opinions” of the far-left candidate, the poll by the Ifop-Fiducial firm showed.
On some polls, Mélenchon has now bypassed embattled conservative François Fillon for third place in a presidential race that will see the top two advance to the May 7 run-off.
Here in the States, we call just about anything that isn't laissez-faire conservative Christian capitalism "far-left" (e.g. look at Jakobs's posts hilariously calling Hillary Clinton a socialist). We throw around the terms leftist/socialist/communist like names. Oh, you use the 24-hour clock? Commie. You prefer the metric system? Commie. You think the poor need some sort of safety net? Commie. You think workers in the 1840s demanding an 8-hour workday did the right thing? Commie (seriously, there's this one guy in my college class who calls any policy that even so much as theoretically benefits laborers as 'communism', no matter what it is— and this is a class on 19th century England). So by this point, I react to claims of someone being "far-left" the same way I react to claims of conservatives being "fascists" or "Neo-Nazis"—
But this guy? Oh no. He is a fucking leftist. He's is basically the left wing version of Le Pen. Same anti-EU authoritarian populism, but with Trotskyite socioeconomic policies. And while I do support some of his environmental plans, god damn me if I don't it's scary to imagine if he got into power. That's how I've been feeling about a lot of leaders lately. Trump is... Trump. We've already seen what Duterte can do (interestingly, Duterte describes himself as a socialist, even though every socialist I've seen claims he's the furthest thing from one). And Brexit's been a real horrorshow (and I mean that in its actual meaning, not the nadsat I keep on spouting).
An interesting phenomenon is occurring. I noticed that many Trump supporters keep claiming that Marine Le Pen is "actually pretty left-wing," if not an out-and-out leftist. The reverse is happening for Mélenchon, where many leftists are saying he's actually right-wing, a right-wing socialist at best.
Mélenchon vs Le Pen. It's like Sanders vs. Trump except even more extreme.