It looked like a military cemetery. The Place du Trocadéro was a sea of bleu-blanc-rouge bunting. All those flag-wavers stood out in the rain for hours to hear their hero, François Fillon, admit to "errors" he now regrets, although he seems to have no intention to give back the dough. Responsable mais pas coupable has worked for others, so why not for FF?
Defiance was the order of the day, and despite the high-flown talk of "examining his conscience" and considering only "the general interest," Fillon's speech was actually a long "Fuck you!" to his party rivals. As he repeated in calmer tones on France2 Sunday evening, he had no intention of deferring to anyone else, be it Juppé, Sarkozy, a cabal of regional governors, his former campaign aides, or the 83% of France that prefers someone else for president. He won the primary, point barre, and nobody can take that away from him. And he turned out 200,000 people on a rainy Sunday in Paris--never mind that the police said it was 40,000. 200,000 is a suitably impressive, almost Trumpian exaggeration. One Fillon aide went so far as to double to already-inflated estimate to 400,000. Fine. All's fair in politics.
So Fillon will remain the candidate, and the race is narrowing to a two-person contest between Macron and Le Pen. As things now stand, neither major party will have a candidate in the second round. And the future of the Fifth Republic will rest on the shoulders of a 39-year-old Wunderkind who thinks of himself on some days as the reincarnation of de Gaulle and on other days as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. So Round Two will be a contest between Jesus and Lucifer. Sauf qu'on dit que Lucifer s'est dédiabolisée.
Heaven help us.