Although American and French suburbs are often different kinds of places, here is one intriguing similarity: voters in both American and French suburbs have leaned to the right in recent elections.
Her strong showing gives her National Front (FN) hope of its first seats in parliament since the late 1980s. It also casts the spotlight on a new phenomenon: the success of the far right among lower middle class suburban voters.
“In 2012, the far-right vote has crystallized in these communities far from the big-city centers,” said Nice University sociologist Gilles Ivaldi.
In the past decade, soaring real estate prices have forced the working class and lower middle class out of urban centers and into soulless suburban housing estates, inconveniently far from their jobs and often with few public services.
These people are not the poorest of the poor, but squeezed between the bourgeoisie and an immigrant class living in drab tower blocks on the edge of the big cities, they fear they have the most to lose…
A study by the left-leaning Jean Jaures Foundation shows Le Pen scored the highest vote in suburban communities located between 20 and 50 km (12 to 30 miles) from metropolitan centers. In the cities, her score averaged less than 15 percent.
Could we see a political convergence of disaffected, conservative right-wing voters from suburbs on both sides of the Atlantic?
One big difference: this article is primarily about far right-wing voters in France who have a ways to go before becoming a sizable political presence compared to Republicans.