The fascists were outsmarted in France but perhaps they’re playing the long game in the United Kingdom. In both cases, the issue came down to ideological splintering. In the British elections, Nigel Farage’s fascist MAGA UK Reform Party took absolutely no precautions to avoid splitting the conservative vote. The result was catastrophic for the ruling Conservative Party known as “The Tories.”

In 2019 the Brexit Party, which Mr. Farage then led, chose not to run candidates against many Conservative lawmakers, avoiding a risk that the right-wing vote would split and helping Boris Johnson, a former prime minister, to a landslide victory.

Last week Mr. Farage’s new party fought the election all across the country, costing the Tories dozens of seats. [University of Kent politics] Professor [Michael] Goodwin calculated that in around 180 electoral districts the vote for Reform was larger than the margin of defeat for the Conservatives.

Britain will now be governed by one of the largest left-wing majorities in the country’s history, but Farage probably isn’t feeling like this is a defeat.

Not only did Reform candidates win five Parliament seats — including Mr. Farage, for the first time after eight attempts — but the party also secured around 14 percent of the vote nationwide. By that measure, Reform was the third most successful party in Britain, inviting comparisons to France’s burgeoning right-wing National Rally party.

What little is left of the Conservative Party now has to decide how to reconstitute itself, and the obvious route is to go full-MAGA because that’s clearly what the average conservative British voter prefers.

France’s elections are a lot more complicated, mainly because President Emmanuel Macron’s party isn’t a traditional left or right party. The parliamentary elections were basically between the fascist right, Macron’s center, and a coalition of the left and far left. Macron and the left don’t get along, at all, but they teamed up to beat the far right. After the first round of elections confirmed that the fascists were winning, hundreds of center, left and far left candidates dropped out to avoid splitting the anti-fascist vote in the second round. And it appears to have worked. Not only did the fascists fail to take over the legislature, but they came in third place. Of course, this left a bit of a mess.

The New Popular Front (NFP), a left-green alliance dominated by the radical left Unbowed France (LFI) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has emerged as the shock winner of France’s snap election.

While the winner was a surprise, the result is as expected: a hung parliament of three opposing blocs with hugely different platforms and no tradition of working together – and, under the terms of France’s constitution, no new elections for a year.

At least for now, politics in the United Kingdom are clarified. The Labour Party has come roaring in with margins that far outweigh their actual support.  Unlike in the United States, the newly elected members of Parliament don’t have to sit for reelection in two years. A new election isn’t mandated until 2029, so all these Labour members serving in conservative constituencies are safe for the time being. The right wing opposition is squeezed, seeking both to regain seats that were lost because supporters bolted for Farage’s isolationist fascists and seats that were lost to the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats’ party. If they move in one direction, they make it more difficult to make progress in the other.

In France, the fascists were unexpectedly defeated, but the country was left without an obvious way forward. Before the people can begin looking to the next election, they must first devise a way to govern in the present. Unlike in some parliamentary systems, if a government doesn’t form, France doesn’t simply have a do-over. There can be no new election for at least one year. So, can Macron and the left make some kind of deal?

As for polling, it was fairly accurate in the United Kingdom and in the first round of the French elections, but it was way off on the second round of the French elections. Considering all the candidates who dropped out after the first round, this isn’t surprising. What’s remarkable is that the anti-fascist pro-Republic forces were able to see the threat from the fascists so clearly and act so quickly to counteract it.

Can America similarly see this threat and come together to thwart it? I think we can, but not if we’re distracted. This election can’t be about our candidate’s fitness for office or age and competency. It has to be about stopping Trump and his movement.

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