Tuesday, April 12, 2022

In France, Ongoing Political Realignment

Results from the first round of presidential balloting in France:

Emmanuel Macron (Centrist)                          28%
Marie le Pen (Far Right)                                   23%
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Far Left)                       22%
Éric Zemmour (Cranky Intellectual Right)      8%
Valérie Pécresse (Gaullist)                                  5%
Janick Jadot (Green)                                           5%
Jean Lassalle (Shepherds)                                  2%
Fabien Roussel (Communist)                             2%
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Genuine Gaullist)     2%
Anne Hidalgo (Socialist)                                      2%

So we have Macron vs. le Pen, again. Neither one of the parties that dominated French politics from 1960 to 2000, the Gaullists and the Socialists, even made the 5% threshold to get partial government funding; the Socialist candidate lost to the shepherd who ran as the candidate of the Mountain People's Party.

The incumbent Macron came out ahead but I think that is simply from process of elimination. Even though I am a centrist I despise him. He presents himself as the only one who can save France from ruin under the crazies of the left or the right, which, ok, might be true, but "I am normal" isn't really much of a platform. His rhetoric promises "bold solutions" but his policies are bland neo-liberalism. He didn't really campaign for this round because, he said, he was too busy trying to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, and you see how well that is going. I think he's a slimy narcissist who lucked into a situation where he could pose as the only sane man in French politics, and it is quite possible that his awful personality and weak policies will bring him down.

That le Pen still leads the right despite her continued strong support for Vladimir Putin is deeply disturbing. I hope this will cause many French voters to decide that Macron is the less bad option, but you never know. Millions of people around the world are fed up with their own situations and in no mood to care about anyone else, and if they think things are so bad we desperately need a change, le Pen might win.

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