© ludovic MARIN/AFPFrench President Emmanuel Macron.
The latest French national polls show a final face off between the anti-establishment right and left, and the total decimation of President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance party. Looks like he may have fooled himself into thinking that dumping all over the political chessboard was a big-brained three-dimensional move.

In the wake of the anti-establishment National Rally party winning the European elections by a landslide, with more than double the score of Macron's party, the usual suspects started chewing up the scenery with riots and unrest. All the National Rally needs to do is film it to create a campaign ad for themselves heading into the French national elections that Macron called in a double-or-nothing bet with the French people. Because Macron did that. And it's the National Rally that has long campaigned on the promise of putting an end to it.

It finally looks like enough French voters aren't scared into denying Le Pen's party the opportunity. The far-right label just doesn't act as the kind of knee-jerk deterrent that it once did. And why should it? "France is on the brink of all-out civil conflict," headlined Britain's Telegraph. That has happened under Macron, not Le Pen, as he rammed through his establishment agenda piece by piece with his designated prime minister invoking Article 49.3 of the French Constitution to ram through legislation without a vote at least 23 times, totally overriding the democratic process - the second most since the Fifth Republic began in 1958. Its use to move the goalposts on retirees and make them work longer when France is a global taxation champion that robs them of hard earned cash their entire working lives, under the pretext of getting it back when they retire, would explain why the majority of retirees who voted massively for Macron no longer tell pollsters that they will. His support has dropped to just 28%, according to the latest Ifop poll.

According to Le Monde, Macron said of his snap election call: "I've been preparing this for weeks, and I'm thrilled. I threw my unpinned grenade at their legs. Now we'll see how they manage." Looks like they're managing just fine, actually. Macron's party? Not so much. Next time, try putting a little more oomph behind that grenade toss, so it doesn't just risk rolling back and blowing up in your face. The latest Ifop poll predicts the establishment's total elimination after the first round of voting on June 30 with a mere 19% of the vote, and the two top parties heading to the second round on July 7 being the right and left anti-establishment at 35% and 26% respectively. And if lawlessness and violence keeps plaguing the streets between now and then, voters will fully understand that it was Macron who lit the match and the left that figured dumping fuel on the fire by trying to present the defeat of their right wing opponents as the solution to calming the unrest was somehow a winning strategy. Odds are that they'll feel blackmailed and only be more motivated to vote accordingly. Ask German Chancellor Olaf Scholz how all the protests against the anti-establishment so-called "far-right" AfD worked out for him. They came in second, making gains in the EU vote, and his party came in third with its worst ever showing. Turns out that voters don't really like to feel that they're somehow being manipulated.

Macron may think that he incited panic for survival in opposing political camps - the president of the establishment right's Les Républicains proposed an alliance with Le Pen, then briefly barricaded himself inside party headquarters so his colleagues couldn't gather to oust him. And the smaller anti-establishment right party Reconquête, founded by Eric Zemmour, ended up kicking out four of its five elected Eurodeputies when Marion Marechal (Marine Le Pen's niece and number one on Reconquête's EU electoral list) joined forces with her aunt's party instead of dividing the vote. But Macron would have barely been able to settle in with his popcorn before the sideshows ended.

It's just such a big mystery how it's come to this, and how the establishment in France and in Europe totally lost the plot.

In May 2023, Reuters reported that the EU had approved $1.61 billion to buy out Dutch farmers whose cattle were deemed overly enthusiastic with their belching, peeing, and defecating. The farmers then started a political party called the Farmer-Citizen movement, backing the anti-establishment Geert Wilders, whose party won the general elections in November 2023, then went on to a second place finish (and a six seat gain) in the EU vote.

In Germany, as farmers and truckers gathered at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to protest the EU establishment's crushing bureaucracy on everything from climate change to Ukraine, the misplaced priorities and inability to make ends meet resonated so loudly with the average German that 69% of them backed the protest movement - which would explain the second place finish of the anti-establishment party (the AfD) attacked by the establishment as being in cahoots with the farmers. Turns out that a whole lot of Germans were, too.

In France, 90% of voters backed French farmer protests and were disgusted when Macron showed up at the annual Paris International Agricultural Fair with a bunch of riot squad goons who unloaded their tear gas on presumably innocent cows (although who knows, maybe they were silently setting off some planet-killing farts) while he ran from an initial confrontation with angry farmers. And well, what do you know. It turns out that 90% support for the farmers roughly translated into 93% of French communes voting for the National Rally in the EU elections.

Surely it's all just a big coincidence. Who knew that messing with people's food and livelihood while focusing on costly ideological priorities that are mainly of interest to the little elite cabal in charge would ever be the recipe for regime change? But the question now is whether Macron, having bet it all and lost, would cling to power like leaders he denounces. Or whether he'd abide by his own stated democratic principles and resign, as the majority (57%) of French say they'd want him to do.