The Future of France's National Front

Marine Le Pen Is Down but Not Out

Marine Le Pen at a press conference in Nanterre, France, January 2018. Charles Platiau / REUTERS

"I was born with political setbacks." At the time she made this confession, back in October 2012, Marine Le Pen, then the up-and-coming new leader of France’s National Front party, did not mean it as an admission of doom. In her stark office on the second floor of the National Front’s headquarters in Nanterre, a lackluster residential banlieue a few miles west of Paris, she retraced her bumpy political life to me. For many years, she had operated in the shadow of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who generated decades of headlines and court cases with his anti-Semitic and racist outbursts. “To run for Congress and then to lose, that’s been our daily lot,” she philosophized. “Some have pleasant political journeys. Us? We trek with our backpacks on, we fall, we get back on our feet, we fall again, we get back on our feet again.”

In hindsight,

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