For headscarf-wearing voter Yasmina Aksas, Le Pen’s defeat wasn’t a celebration moment — not with such strong backing for her and ideas that “used to be limited to militant far-right groups” becoming increasingly acceptable in polite company. “It’s still 40% of people voting for Le Pen,” the 19-year-old law student said. “It’s not a victory.”

The far-right has gone mainstream in France, writes John Leicester for the AP.

That’s the headline from the landmark showing by Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election. The fierce nationalist didn’t win Sunday. But she edged another step closer — snatching a victory of sorts from her defeat to reelected President Emmanuel Macron.

With 41.5% of the vote, unprecedented for her, Le Pen’s anti-foreigner, anti-system politics of disgruntlement are now more entrenched than ever in the psyche, thinking and political landscape of France.

Since the Le Pen dynasty — first her dad, Jean-Marie, and now Marine, his daughter — first started contesting presidential elections in 1974, never have so many French voters bought into their doctrine that multicultural and multiracial France, a country with the words “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” inscribed on its public buildings, would be richer, safer and somehow more French if it was less open to foreigners and the outside world.

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