Saturday, April 22, 2017

French Elections Tomorrow-- Putin Gambling Big On Neo-Nazi Marine Le Pen


French elections are on weekends, when most people aren't at work and find it easier to vote. Makes sense, right? Tomorrow is the first round of the presidential election. The two top contenders will face-off on May 7. (Elections of the National Assembly come in mid-June.) Last we looked at the race, it appeared neo-Nazi Marine Le Pen would make it into the run-off. It still looks that way. Her polling numbers are stayed steady at around 23%. And the conventional wisdom at the time that an old right-wing-- though not neo-Nazi-- crook (crook as in dripping with corruption), Republican François Fillon would be the alternative. The French would be left to pick between a version of Trump and a version of Ted Cruz. Then a couple of Fillon's corruption cases exploded and he lost most of his credibility, causing the anti-Le Pen center to coalesce around independent Emmanuel Macron. So it looks like he is the most likely to face off against Le Pen in May. The tracking polls released yesterday show Macron with between 23% and 24.5%, Le Pen with between 22.5% and 23%, the left-wing candidate, Fillon with between 19% and 19.5%, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon with between 18.5% and 19.5%. No one else is in double digits.

Every single poll going back to January, 2016 shows Macron beating Le Pen by a landslide-- over 60% for him, mid-30s for her. Should Fillon somehow win tomorrow, polls show him also beating Le Pen comfortably. Ditto for Mélenchon-- he would beat either Le Pen or Fillon in May, but would be beaten by Macron.

Macron is a 39 year old ex-bankster (at Rothschild & Cie Banque) and an ex-Socialist, but more like a Blue Dog than what we think of as a socialist. He's straight down the middle politically, mostly hiding a platform and just campaigning on bullshit and claptrap. He finally released a program in March. His policies fit in perfectly with establishment conservatives like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. A couple of days ago he was kind of endorsed by Obama. A year ago he was Hollande's right-of-center Economy Minister but he has managed to recast himself as "an outsider."

Seeing Obama, who is well-regarded and admired in France, endorse Macron, Trump couldn't prevent himself from rising to the bait and more or less endorsing the neo-Nazi Le Pen. Trump is viewed as a figure of derision in France and he is widely disliked. After Trump jumped into the GA-06 first round against Ossoff, Ossoff's 43% polling shot up by 5 points in 4 days to finish just north of 48%. And the French have even more disdain for Trump than the suburban voters north of Atlanta do. It will be interesting to see if Trump's little kiss of death drives Le Pen's numbers down tomorrow. A friend of mine in Bordeaux told me not to count on it and that French voters wouldn't be likely to pay any more attention to a Trump endorsement than to a Putin endorsement or an endorsement from a random mime. "Trump has no credibility in France," he told me. "People here either laugh at him or worry what happened to America."

Gallup reported yesterday that "Trump averaged 41% job approval during his first quarter as president, 14 percentage points lower than any other president in Gallup's polling history. Bill Clinton had the previous low mark of 55%. The average first-quarter rating among post-World War II presidents elected to their first term is 61%, with John Kennedy's 74% the highest." He's far less popular in France.

Trump, in his incoherent way of off-the-cuff speaking, channeled fascist advisor Steve Bannon in telling the Associated Press that Le Pen is "strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France." Le Pen, firmly allied with Vladimir Putin (who gave her $10 million), wants to take France out of NATO and out of the EU. After Trump's victory in November, Le Pen told CNN that Monsieur Trumpanzéé "has made possible what was presented as completely impossible. So it's a sign of hope for those who cannot bear wild globalization. They cannot bear the political life led by the elites."
Echoing Trump's "Make America Great Again" election slogan, she vowed to oversee a return to France's glory days, saying if she were in power, the country would be "nothing like you have seen in the last 30 years."

"It would be very different. It would be the comeback of France, of the France that you like, of the France that hundreds of millions inhabitants of the earth love."

She said there would be no place for multiculturalism under a Le Pen presidency.

"I am opposed to a multicultural France, I think that those who have a different culture and who arrive in France have to submit themselves to French culture. Like the old saying, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.' I think that in France we should do like the French people.

"That doesn't mean discriminating against, (or) persecuting; it means we have a culture, we have values, and all those who come to our place have to submit themselves to this culture and these values. ... Saying ... 'Come as you are, keep living like you do, keep your culture and we will add all that together,' doesn't work. Multicultural societies are multi-conflict societies."

Le Pen praised the US President-elect for what she called "his willingness to break with the idea that the USA has to police the world."
Oops. I guess Trump is disappointing European neo-Nazis the same way he's disappointing his moron supporters in America. Our old friend emorej a Hong Kong came up with a way to map what he calls French Presidential Candidates’ Weirdness by using American equivalents that he encouraged me to share with you:

One way for Americans to keep track of the five major French Presidential candidates (especially the favored Centrist), in tomorrow’s ‘jungle primary,’ is by equating them with American politicians.

This works best by in a counter-history where:

Barack Obama did not become a national figure; and
The 2008-2016 Tim Geithner-guided bailout and “recovery” (and the US occupation of Libya and Syria) was presided over by President Hillary and her Vice-President Tim Kaine.
In this counter-history’s 2016 US Presidential election:
The American version of Benoit Hamon is Democratic nominee Martin O’Malley (who defeated Hillary-backed Tim Kaine in the primary), who then faded in opinion polls;
The American version of Jean-Luc Melenchon is Bernie Sanders, running as an independent (with platform written by Jill Stein and Noam Chomsky), who has surprised everybody with a late surge in opinion polls;
The American version of Marine Le Pen is Steve Bannon;
The American version of Francois Fillon is Republican nominee Dick Cheney (with a mouth transplant from Spiro Agnew), whose corruption scandals have undercut his moralizing rhetoric; and...
--Now we get to “the weird part” (!)--
The American version of Emmanuel Macron (the “favorite” running ‘up the middle’), is Tim Geithner!
Yes, the young architect of reviled President Hillary’s most-reviled economic policies, who has never before stood for election, even for High School Class dog-catcher, has been projected as the round-two run-off winner in virtually every poll.

So what will happen?
If Brexit and Trump-ocalypse are any guide, then the undecided (who are numerous), along with late mind-changing voters, should break heavily against Macron-Geithner.
If moderate Left voters feel any debt towards the harder Left, which has held its nose to help elect many moderate Left politicians, then supporters of the fading Hamon-O’Malley should break heavily towards the surging Melenchon-Sanders.
A majority of downwardly mobile small-town Whites (does this sound familiar?) will vote for Le Pen-Bannon, out of anger at Muslims, other Browns and Blacks.
The big question is whether a substantial minority of these voters will vote for Melenchon-Sanders out of anger at German economic dominance and American strategic recklessness.
And then two weeks later comes the top-two run-off, when:
The Macron-Geithner central platform plank,
to ‘reduce government spending, and
share what's left with more immigrants’,
makes him the perfect foil to lose to either of the
previously “unelectable” candidates Le Pen-Bannon or Melenchon-Sanders.
Of course the MSM insists that President Melenchon would be catastrophic but, from a Progressive perspective, many of Melenchon’s most extreme platform planks are easy to see as negotiating positions that could result in useful compromises.

In contrast, the truly terrifying (and probably most-likely) scenario of President Le Pen, pushing France out of Europe and “foreigners” out of France, would put much of Europe into freefall, towards a bottom that nobody can predict.

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At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First Brexit, then the potential of a Le Pen victory in France and the breakup of the EU. Except for the NATO alliance, which France left behind once before under De Gaulle, it looks to me like the most visible rejection of American leadership in a world filled with it.

Assume for a moment I'm correct. THIS will be Obama's legacy as far as the Conned Servatives are concerned: the man who gave away control of the world through his incompetence and surrounded America with enemies and competitors. Since the average American now barely attains the mental abilities of hardcore sports jocks, this accusation will be applied to what remains of the Democrats for a long time.

At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red baiting has spread to DWT. So sad.

France leaving Europe -- so delusional.


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