Eric Zemmour, TV talk show host and Gallic Trump, steals Macron
Mr Zemmour has yet to officially declare his candidacy, but has quit his TV show and published a book-manifesto, France has not said its last word (France has not had its last word), which denounces the perceived political and social decline of the country.
He used the book as the basis for a speaking tour, with events sometimes taking the form of political rallies attracting thousands of supporters.
He doesn’t have a political party behind him like Ms Le Pen – but then neither does Mr Macron long before 2017. And his TV show has often attracted over a million viewers, while his books are selling to million copies.
It got 17 percent in the Harris Interactive poll, down from just 7 percent a month ago. This compares to 24% for Mr Macron and just 15% for Ms Le Pen. About a third of his supporters have defected from Mr. Zemmour.
This is only a poll, but there is a sense of momentum behind Mr. Zemmour that is shaking the French general public.
His anti-immigration stance, which includes the suggestion that migrants should be forced to have French names, already has other candidates jostling in its wake.
Budding Conservative presidential candidate Michel Barnier, who has often appeared sober and unfazed as the EU’s Brexit negotiator, felt the need to promise a referendum on cutting immigration and challenged the precedence of Brussels over migration policy.
Ms Le Pen, meanwhile, stepped up the anti-immigration rhetoric she softened earlier this year as she tried – unsuccessfully – to broaden her base in the regional elections in June.
Mr Zemmour also criticizes Islam and its role in modern France, endorsing the far-right theory known as the “great replacement” – that the Muslim population will soon outnumber the white French and will overwhelm the culture. traditional of the country. He predicted that France would be “an Islamic republic” by the end of the century.
His brutal and uncompromising statements have earned him two convictions for inciting racial or religious hatred.
He even suggested that France could slide into civil war, an idea that gained popularity in June when it was featured in a pair of open letters, one written by a group made up mostly of retired generals. and the other by a large but anonymous collection of serving soldiers.
Yet at this point most political pundits seem to expect him to sink as his politics come under closer scrutiny and the center-right closes ranks and organizes against him. . But then, that’s what they used to say in 2016 about a longtime presidential candidate called Donald Trump.