An American observer comments on French politics.
Art,While this might seem an off the wall question I noticed both you and I live in Massachusetts. So at a high level what do makes Massachusetts different from France, the UK, Midwest US in terms of "populism" and "globalism?" In Massachusetts more than perhaps anywhere on earth the population seems to completely buy in to anti populism and globalism. Does the unique history of industrialization in New England vs Northern France lets say make the difference? Massachusetts started to deindustrialize far earlier than most other places given its early efforts at industrialization. I think most Massachusetts residents for example give little sympathy for de-industrialization in other parts of the world given how little sympathy they were given for de-industrialization in MA during the middle of the 20th century.I will also note that uniquely among early industrializing societies Massachusetts NEVER had much in the way of coal and steel related activity.
Second, thinking about this some more while Vichy was publically an agrarian type movement it did have many concerns about France "falling behind" economically as an agrarian society as such the concerns of Vichy and its fascist counterparts in Spain and Italy were not that dissimilar to that of the Boston Brahmin elite. I will also note that the Nazi SS organization and the Nazi SS uniforms(to a greater extent) were both based on the Massachusetts State Police. Additionally many of songs sang at Nazi Youth Camps and Brownshirt rallies had lyrics based of the fight songs sung at Harvard University football games in the 1910s and 1920s.http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/which-came-first-the-well-dressed-nazi-or-the-american-copper.19586/The difference in industrial police seems to be that MA went straight from mills and textiles to post industrial services while France, Spain, and Italy went into auto, steel, coal etc.
Be afraid! It is better to be alarmist than complacent. If Americans and especially Democrats had been a little more alarmist, a man child would not now be sitting in the Oval Office. From casual conversations with friends in Paris, I think the level of alarm is fairly high, but polls still put Macron ahead of Le Pen in the second round (latest: 61% vs 39%). Are they reliable? At least as reliable as the opinions of political journalists.
@Anonymous: No, they are not reliable. Emotion takes over rationale during the last weeks of a campaign. Marine Le Pen has very good reasons to hope to win the some missing percentage points.Some people refer to 2002, but Jean-Marie Le Pen would have been around 17% in polls for second turn (there were none) and got around 19%. Now Marine Le Pen gets between 42 and 45% depending on the opponent. There are no kind of fences left anymore. My humble and stable opinion.
@FrédéricLNI disagree but thank you for your humble and stable opinion. Opinion polls are more reliable than the opinions of pundits imo. I think the most leftwing voters will rally to the centrist Macron rather than face chaos. I know that the French have become increasingly volatile and passive-aggressive over the years (tous pourris!), but not quite as stupid as all those Americans (50%?) who allowed Trump to win because they thought Clinton "corrupt." Besides, surely most French leftists realize that Hamon and Mélenchon are jokes...
It's a mistake to focus on ”corrupt”. Throughout the campaign, Trump was defendant in a fraud trial. Instead, the correct lesson is that you can't beat something with nothing. This lesson applies even if the 'something' is a steaming turd.I'm probably very late to this, but someone pointed out to me the other day that 'En Marche' is named after Macron's initials. Ugh.
@bertSome 40%- 50% of Americans didn't even bother to vote, among whom were certainly many democrats, no? That will not be the case in France. I would predict a high turnout in an election that is in a way a referendum on the euro and the EU. The Left in France always comes to its senses at the last minute..... unless they have really lost their marbles listening to the utopian ravings of Hamon and Mélenchon.
The problem I see is that left leaning people are told Macron is their 'vote utile '. Except he doesn't really speak to people who don't have a baccalaureat (70-75% people where I live). People care about the low salaries they earn and many see the loi travail as loi macron, a betrayal. Hamon is the medium between Melenchon and Macron. Melenchon speaks to the older voters on the left, who appreciate his literary references and occasional alexandrin cadences mixed with insults and French Parler. A friend pointed out one of his former posters recalled the iconic che poster, an appeal to soixanthuitards. People are worried sick about LePen but they don't like Macron.If you will, let us hope EM isn't France's HRC.
@Anonymous February 27, 2017 at 8:21 AM : "Opinion polls are more reliable than the opinions of pundits imo." I happily take your point, as I am a pollster, or now more a polls expert. So I believe in their (even questionable) accuracy. But only their accuracy to describe the present state of things. Is the relative position of competitors in a world-class 100-meters race a very reliable indication of the final result, 10 seconds before the end? Pundits also have some reliable knowledge and experience of what can happen during the 10 last seconds.
"If you will, let us hope EM isn't France's HRC."Fortunately, France doesn't have an electoral college system.
I'm sorry to be so late to this thread but it seems to me that Americans have no sense of "voting strategically", mostly because we have no second round. If you combined the HRC votes with those that went to fringe candidates with no possibility of victory we wouldn't be dealing with the Orange Sh*itgibbon (not my term, it was the Scots) now.Don
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