Why Is France Acting Like Marine Le Pen Is the Adult in the Room?

Ms. Le Pen and her party, remarkably, have become, in the eyes of many, the voice of la France profonde, the voice of reason. She has condemned the violence on the streets (though never the police’s), as well as Mr. Macron for “losing the meaning of democracy,” adding, “When the ruler wants something and the people don’t, it should not be done.” She has promised that she will reverse the retirement age change if — when — she’s elected.

Her party’s 88 members of the National Assembly, the third-largest group in the legislative body, have succeeded in further normalizing the far right by playing the role of the adults in the room. The far right is managing to present itself as the defenders of democracy, imperiled by Mr. Macron’s diktats, and of stability, threatened by left-wing chaos.

Is this a durable position? The Yellow Vest movement did not lead to the defeat of Mr. Macron in 2022. But those elections did see Ms. Le Pen receive more votes than her party ever…

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This article was written by Mitchell Abidor and Miguel Lago and originally published on www.nytimes.com