Sunday, March 13, 2011

All Is Right with the World

OK, folks, breathe easy: a new poll has DSK beating Marine Le Pen 30 to 21 in the first round; Sarkozy gets 19. So this is the new normal: a sitting president of the Republic comes in third to the candidate of the Front National. But of course DSK is not actually a candidate. If the candidate of the Left is Aubry, Royal, or Hollande, Sarko barely leads the field, but MLP is within the margin of error and beats the Socialist in each case. What does this tell us about the health of the French polity? At what point do we begin to speak of a crisis of legitimacy? Add up the votes for the extreme right and the extreme left and you get a large number of people--30%, 35%?--turning their backs on the system in place. I am reminded of an exchange of diplomatic cables. First embassy: "Situation here serious but not catastrophic." Second embassy: "Situation here catastrophic but not serious." Which better describes France?


Kirk said...

All due respect, I think these polls are relatively useless. We're at a point in time where candidates aren't declared, platforms aren't presented, and debates haven't been held.

I do, however, agree that Marine's numbers are a bit scary, but it may just be bad polling and people tossing out her name because they can.

Mr Punch said...

This looks like a crisis of legitimacy for the "system in place" in terms of partisan politics, not overall governance. DSK, after all, is neither an outsider nor a fresh face. MLP, who is both, may be at once a real threat, and eminently beatable by the right opponent. Best bet for the PS, DSK; for the UMP, Johnny Hallyday, if health and citizenship status permit.

Anonymous said...

Variae has an idea: vote for the PS candidate in early summer so that the left has a spokesperson in the Fall.

I'm willing to bet that as soon as DSK announces his candidacy, his numbers will fall.

However iffy the polls may be, MLP DOES have a growing popularity and DOES make inroads. Moscovici responding, not with ideas but with "let us designate DSK without a Primary vote" made me very angry. People who say they support Le Pen may not be racist, they just feel that no one else brings up the issues they face - and if the only answers they get are Le Pen's, then it's Le Pen.

Kirk said...

On the afternoon news on France 2 they showed some people who had formerly voted communist in the north-east of the country, who are veering toward the FN. This is not new. If you have people voting for one extremist group, why is it surprising that, as that group becomes weaker, they shift to another extremist group? They don't see it as being that different - they don't see a big difference between the far left and the far right. They're disappointed in the system that is in place, and they'll continue to vote for extremists.

Just another reason why, as I said in a comment to another post, that France's embracing of extremist left-wing parties is shameful and dangerous.

Mr Punch said...

Johnny Hallydat vs Sarko:

1. More "French"

2. But more "American" style

3. More committed to tax reform

4. No longer married to immigrant pop singer

Hallyday vs DSK:

1. In public eye longer

2. Less tainted by politics

3. Based in LA, not DC

4. Echoes of '68

Nicolas said...

" I am reminded of an exchange of diplomatic cables. First embassy: "Situation here serious but not catastrophic." Second embassy: "Situation here catastrophic but not serious."

... cited by Zizek last week on France Culture:

could be just a coincidence?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Just a coincidence, I didn't hear the show.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing extremist about either the Communists or the Front National. Both of these groups respond to popular will when others don't. The discourse on this blog is emblematic of all the problems in "mainstream" politics. Rather than address the issues at hand you resort to as hominem. Voting for the FN is simply beyond the pale. Why? Why exactly?

If your explanation for what is going on in France is that people have simply gone mad it's time to check the background (anti-populist and anti-democratic) assumptions behind your statements. Maybe you just need to learn not to denigrate and dehumanize those who are fighting for meaningful and necessary social change.

Cincinna said...

   What is extremist about the Far Left & the Far Right in France is that they are both believers & advocates of forms of totalitarianism & not of individual rights & Liberty.