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I guess eaten bread is soon forgotten. Not so long ago France was looking at a very real prospect of having to choose between Fillon and Le Pen. If a significant number of those who did support Fillon transfer to Le Pen, she has far better prospects than her father even did.
Personally I didn't qualify to vote 15 years ago (it's complicated - I was candidate in the 2002 legislatives, but wasn't on the electoral roll), but I handed out Green Party leaflets calling for voting Chirac.
The more salient reference is that most of them voted for Hollande five years ago, for a program that was quite decent on paper (Piketty wrote most of his economic program!), and look at the wasteland he left behind him.
Now, Hollande is the most unpopular president in history, and we are invited - no, commanded - to vote for his spiritual son, his successor in all but name, who will do nothing other than continue and deepen his neo-liberal reforms. So we are doubly cuckolded. Macron will deepen and widen the social chasm that leave an unhealthy plurality of citizens economically disenfranchised, marginalised, precarious, teetering on the edge of poverty or already in it.
These are the Deplorables that vote for Le Pen, and in part, for Mélenchon (and that is his triumph in this election -- a few more weeks of campaign, and he would have won it). According to the polls, about 20% of Mélenchon's electors will vote for Le Pen, 50% for Macron while holding their noses, and the rest will abstain or vote blank. What he recommends will have little effect on that split. And he needs those of his electors who will vote Le Pen next week, and as many of their peers as possible, for the legislatives in June.
More than anything else, what has sunk the French left is over-intellectualizing the vote, and under-emoting. I'm listening to my own emotions, and trying to commune with the herd. I'll vote according to reason, because that's who I am, but with empathy.
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
How? Where do I start?
First, people now know that, rather than taking strong consideration of the fact that more left wing than right wing voters voted for him in 2002, Chirac went full throttle, claiming a plebiscite for right-wing policies.
But also, in 2002, at least candidates had been running on their platforms. Macron was running on his person (for very long without a program at all, and even when it came you could see that it was a PR exercise in dropping in key words to give you the impression that he agreed with you, whatever your position).
But worse: the argument paraded throughout the campaign was that you have to vote for me to block the FN, and in the second round it is your duty to vote against them. This essentially turned the system into a first past the post from the get go, whereas in 2002 this was only following an unexpected result in the first round.
First past the post is a terrible system for parliament, let alone for president...
Third, Marine is not Jean-Marie. No, I am not trying to defend her. We must, though, at least acknowledge that they are different people.
Fourth, it could be argued that, economically, Macron is to the right of Chirac, at least on some key considerations that may matter a lot for some voters.
Fifth, in 2002 people had not yet experienced the 2007 crisis and the grinding impact of Germany's pig-headedness (and Macron's desired Europe is very much one where France would simply be in a position to do the same as Germany). Admittedly, France only felt the pinch of the Eurozone crisis as a whole - that is big enough- but for those who care for the plight of Greeks and Spaniards, voting for someone who wants more of it can be very painful.
That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure you can find other reasons why this would be the case.
Again, don't try to read my vote from this. I am simply pointing to a number of reasons why some people could feel different today.
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
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