Monday, March 16, 2015

Departmental Elections: Abstention Wins

Granted, departmental elections aren't the most exciting of political exercises, but with the Front National threatening to consolidate its position as "France's No. 1 Party," as they like to say, you'd think people would want to have their say about this. But the clear winner in next Sunday's election is--Abstention. 54% of voters will stay home, according to IFOP, and a whopping 74% of the under-35 set prefer "je m'en fous" to any flesh-and-blood candidate. Additionally, the FN has candidates in 95% of the races, while the UMP and PS manage to muster a candidate in fewer than 80%.

And yes, the FN is going to "win" and the PS is going to take a thumping.


Cincinna said...

The actual polling data is interesting, showing UMP running neck and neck with the FN for first place. The PS, and all the parties of the far left, will most likely never make it to the second round. They will be, even though this is not an election of major importance concerning governance, eliminated from the scene, at least in people's perception.
Latest Ifop poll for upcoming French departmental elections:

FN 30%
UMP 29%
PS 19%

The schizophrenic courting/ diabolization of the FN by the left, beginning with Mitterrand, has totally backfired. The internals of all these polls show that a large amount of the FN's support is drawn from
the far left and the PS, not at all from UMP and UDI. There is no longer any such thing as a "front republicain". People are no longer accepting 'consignes de vote' from on high, from a left living a life of luxury, behaving like elitists totally out of touch with the realities of every day living faced by ordinary people. The latest chapter in the soap opera saga of 'Dynasty on the Seine' with Valerie Trierweiller smacking a guy in a bar, only adds to the disgust regular people feel as they try and work to feed their families, and give them a better life. La Gauche Caviar was never more true or more visible.

On the continuum Liberty -> Tyranny, the PS, far left and the FN, all fall somewhere on the tending towards tyranny end of the scale. A seemingly unlikely alliance along the old L/R model, but the FN is not a "far right" party; in its belief in socialist economics, and top down governance, it believes not in Liberty and individual freedom, but in socialism~ National Socialism is still socialism.

Steven Rendall said...

My wife and are going to be out of the country during the second round, and we've been trying to line up friends to cast our votes by procuration, but we're finding that most of them are not planning to vote. And these are all people who used to vote socialist or communist.

Cincinna said...

Vote by procuration? Isn't that just an open invitation for voter fraud?
What is the rational for permitting this? Is it any wonder that the French are losing confidence in their government system?
If the FN is so dangerous, so terrifying, why would people be staying home .
If you do not vote, you can't complain afterwards.

bernard said...

vote par procuration: if memory serves me well, one can only obtain 2-3 procurations, so vote rigging that way would necessitate a great deal of accomplices, thus security would not be ensured, which would be a problem. Vote rigging does not happen that way in France so far as I know.

There are much better ways, especially for local elections:

- register lots of electors where they don't live. The process was industrialised by a Paris 5th arrondissement firm, Tiberi, Tiberi and Son(s), and was highly successful, at least for a while.

- since we're on the subject of Corsica, dead man voting is also very promising (it also works pretty well for pensions). Very, very commmon there.

- and my personal favourite - picture the cartoon -, stuffing your socks full of ballots on local election day in Perpignan. This is excellent provided your socks do not fall down your ankles, in which case ballots are likely to fall out at an inappropriate time, which happened to the local mayor (or was it the local Deputé, I am not too sure) a few years ago.

Vote rigging does not need procurations, it just needs doing.

Cincinna said...

Thanks, Bernard, for your lighthearted and humorous take on voter fraud.
I do think that vote by procuration in a democratic society is unseemly, but each country has a right to its own electoral peculiarities.
In the US, one can vote by absentee ballot, if you are not able to get to the polls. This has to be done far in advance, by mail, and a deadline date. That is how I voted all the years I lived in France.
A classic example of alleged voter fraud is the 1960 presidential election Kennedy v. Nixon. It is pretty much agreed by many political scientists that Nixon actually narrowly won the election, with Texas and Illinois contested. Always the astute politician, Nixon and his advisers felt it was unwise to challenge the popular JFK, and Nixon, still very young, decided to concede, and live to fight another day. Whence came the expression "In Chicago, dead people vote democrat 20-1."

Steven Rendall said...

I just want to assure everyone that my wife and I are not involved in vote-rigging. My point was that we're having a hard time finding someone to cast what is essentially an absentee ballot for us because so many of our friends are not planning to vote. In other words, I was providing anecdotal evidence in support of Art's point.

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Awesome post thanks for sharing About departmental elections.the Front National threatening to consolidate its position as "France's No. 1 Party," as they like to say.I was providing anecdotal evidence in support of Art's point.

Steven Rendall said...

Just a footnote to this tempest in a teapot: To vote by procuration in France, you have to go personally to the police station, present identification, fill out a form with full information about yourself and about the person who is to vote for you, and who has to be a registered voter in the same commune. Then the delegate has to present that official authorization at the polls. All this makes using procuration to commit voter fraud extremely unlikely; there are easier ways.

bernard said...

@Steven Rendall
That was my point, exactly. The vote par procuration is not dangerous at all and I have used it myself. I mentioned a few ways which have been observed in the somewhat recent past, just for fun.

Of course there are several other ways on which I used to be briefed when, many years ago, I was acting as an under-cover observer for a political party in some heavily contested elections in the Ile de France area. No democracy is exempt in this respect and some, thankfully very few in France nowadays, will always succumb to the temptation.

Anonymous said...

The PS will take a thumping, but I don't think basically all races will turn into FN vs. UMP. However if that's the case, since UMP's official philosophy is "ni ni" (ie., voting for the PS is the same as voting for FN, as explained by Nicolas Sarkozy), the people I know who typically vote on the left have said they wouldn't vote, nor do they plan on voting at all.
Mediapart has a pretty good article: