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 The Illusions of Disillusion
Commentary
The Nation cover image

 Three-quarters of 1 percent: that was the vote tally
 that Jean-Marie Le Pen managed to eke out the first time he ran for the presidency of France in the early 1970s. In the late hours of election night, May 5, 1974, the 45-year-old leader of the far-right National Front downplayed the disappointing results with his usual bravado. Sporting a gangster-like eye patch and a plaid tie (legend has it that he lost his left eye in a political brawl), his black suit bursting at the seams around his massive frame, the former paratrooper boasted: “This political campaign gave us the occasion to rise from oblivion, to get our name out, as well as our ideas, those of the social, popular and national right we represent.”

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