Thursday, June 1, 2017

Où sont les fronts républicains d'antan?

The Republicans are splitting apart at the seams. In part this simply reflects the traditional guerre des chefs, even if the chefs in question at the moment are both petits. Both François Baroin and Laurent Wauquiez want to become president, but for the moment they must battle for supremacy within LR. Hence Baroin has come out as the "Katy bar the door" candidate against the FN, while Wauquiez has gone all brownshirt-friendly. This is splitting the party:

Et puis patatras ! Tout s’est effondré le lendemain à cause de la cacophonie qui règne à LR où un certain nombre d’élus – comme le président de la région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Laurent Wauquiez –, ont jugé prématuré voire carrément non avenu d’évoquer la question, ce qui est le signe d’une profonde fracture entre les modérés du parti et son aile plus droitière.
But the reason the leadership is divided is that the party base is divided. Plenty of LR voters, particularly those who stuck with Fillon, see no reason to shun the FN any longer. Especially in the south, where Marion Maréchal Le Pen is the face of the party rather than her aunt, the FN is seen as traditionalist and conservative, exactly the kind of right that Fillon embodied. And this rift in the base is ultimately driving the leadership contest. The results of the legislatives will be crucial in determining the outcome, and the resulting picture will most likely be geographically variegated.


Anonymous said...

What sort of result would help Baroin? I assume 'success ' would be necessary, but would that be 180 MP's? More? Less? Simply 'more than 4the PS*'? Or would it be based on positioning (IE., whether Baron backed or Wauquiez backed candidates won)? Victory against FN candidates in general? In a few select districts?

Wauquiez winning would be very bad news. Indeed, in order to get to power, non republican forced must count on a useful idiot who wants power more than protecting democracy.

* this would be a low bar. Right now, officials in my department even voice worry they may not be enough to form a 'group parlementaire', hopefully adding 'but, fingers crossed'. The upper number I've heard is 50.

Anonymous said...

Baroin and Waquiez are leaders of mice, not men. Good riddance to both, although that is not to say they Baroin's stand against the Le Pen mafia has no value.

Robinson said...

@Anonymous: neither of them are going away. French political leaders never, ever go away...

Anonymous said...

Agree: Fillion, at least, will join DSK in the elephant graveyard. Perhaps some of the old socialists will fade away as well. Probably not: Martine Aubry et. al. will leave the scene when their teeth fall out. Juppé and Sarko are still around, and Wauquiez and Baroin will haunt our screens until I am dead. Perhaps the odious used-car salesman Copé, who has been fading for years, will finally vanish after this election. Getting a French politician to leave the scene is like attempting to kill Rasputin.

Anonymous said...

The elections seem to have hit a lull - perhaps the combination of holiday weekends and election exhaustion, or the certainty of the impending EM victory dulling the race. Both the PS and the LR will need to rebuild. Listened to Segolene Royal when asked 'should the PS change names? " and shown a cartoon with an old lady (farmer type) saying 'if you got pickles inside the jar and label for for beans, you still got pickles' ('pickles ' = cornichon = nincompoop). So, Royal responded to the question with "first thing should be to decide what goes into the jar. Once you got the contents of the jars, choose the label.' said like someone who's actually canned beans, pickles, and other things.
First order of business doe both PS and lr: define what your party stands for, in the 'new world'. (People here speak of l'ancien monde when they speak of 'before-Macron'.)

Latest projections have 15-20 Melenchon, 20-30 PS, a handful of various people on the left, 280-320 En March, 180-200 LR, 15-20 FN.

The new law requires 12.5% registered adults voting for a person which means there'll be few 'triangulaired ' especially since you have anywhere from 10 to 25 candidates running in each district, thus splitting votes.

FrédéricLN said...

The outcomes on the 11 seats for the French living abroad are astonishing (even to me). Where the LREM candidate does not lead by far, it just means that there were 2 Macronist candidates, and they lead. I don't remember such a huge domination re these seats. Do pollsters diplomatically under-estimate the number of seats projected for LREM? At this point, I guess 400 is a very minimum. After that, there will be some subtle counts: 13% of LREM candidates are actually MoDem, and LREM left ~50 seats with Macronist incumbents without a candidate. Making it shorter: I'd be very surprised if more than 80 opponents to Mr Macron (i.e. 15% of seats) got elected. Said otherwise, Mr Macron might transform his 24% of votes into more that 85% of seats.

Anonymous said...

^ This is both astounding and dangerous, especially since a good third of them will be totally new at making laws and may just rubber stamp whatever the government wants (in fact part of being endorsed means they'll have to support whatever the government proposes.) I think having new people is good but you need some balance.
Dangerous because there are no midterm elections in France and much less in terms of check/balances, meaning it'd give Emmanuel Macron free rein to do anything he wants... And as Montesquieu said, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The very premise of democracy should be a balanced parliament.

Mitch Guthman said...

Sorry to keep beating the same dead horse but this split was the easily predictable result of those inside the LR trying to de-demonize the FN in order to attract the support of voters attracted to its message but unwilling to "waste" their votes on unelectable candidates. The extremely obvious point which seems to have escaped Sarko & Co. was that there wasn't any point to establishing oneself as the second choice if the consequence of your de-demonization was to allow FN leaning voters to support their now suddenly respectable and electable first choice. That is to say, only an unsuccessful de-demonization effort would benefit the LR, while a successful one would create exactly the kind of boomerang effect we seeing here.

The UMP/LR "de-demonization" campaign was both stupid and, ultimately, suicidal.

Robinson said...

@Mitch Guthman: I understand where you are coming from, however it seems to me that the de-demonization move was inevitable. There is really rather little, it point of principle, that separates the right wing of LR from the FN, and there is basically nothing that separates the Juppé wing from REM. The FN represents the views of a substantial part of the French population, so it will take its rightful place in the assembly as one of the main opposition movements. The right-wing tendency that Wauquiez represents just as much as the younger Le Pens will be beaten with sound arguments and good government; it won't be contained by pious references the dying memory of Vichy.

@Myos I agree about the danger of a huge majority of the center. I sometimes think France would be better off if Juppé were president: a center-right program similar to Macron's would be passed by a center-right parliament, and there would be an opposition from the "gauche de gouvernement." However, the gauche de gouvernement is in fact as much in favor of Macron's program as the Juppé-ist right: perhaps it is better for everyone to say what they think and stand for what they believe in. There will be opposition, but it will mostly be in the streets, not in the Assembly. Macron certainly has an energy that Juppé lacks. I only fear that France has all of its eggs in one political basket.

Anonymous said...

I live in the 5th arrondissement. Of course everyone in Paris is voting for the REM candidates, even those who in the past might have voted for a socialist or a LR candidate. We want to give Macron a chance.

No one is or should be mystified by this massive shift towards the centre---ni gauche ni droite--in Macron's slogan. To say that "democracy" is not well served by a clear majority in the Asssembly and that all parties must be "represented" betrays a misunderstanding of the relation between the executive and the legislative branches.

Bernard said...

first they said Macron was crazy. Second they said he would be incapable of a good campaign. Third they said he would not last the distance. Fourth he would come in third or fourth in the first round. Fifth the SozNat was such a great campaigner she would crush Macron in the second round. Sixth LREM would be defeated in the legislative election. Seventh LREM is going to have too many MPs and that's not healthy. What's next?
I made mistake one, but then I learned from my mistake and reassessed. Full disclosure, I joined LREM in early january, coming from the PS.

Mitch Guthman said...

@ Robinson,

I don’t think the entry of the FN into the mainstream of respectable French politics was at all inevitable. I think it was the result of the bizarre confluence of Sarkozy’s campaign to win over right-wingers who were attracted to the FN but unwilling to risk giving the left power by wasting their votes on a party that consisted mostly of deplorables and the obsessive adherence to austerity by all the European center-left parties. It has always been my view that the MLP’s rise was fueled mainly by austerity and the ossification of the French political class.

I share the concerns expressed by myos. I don’t believe that the election of Macron does anything except kick the can a bit further and that this small respite has probably been bought at the price of something far, far worse when Macron fails.

I still don’t understand Macron’s appeal to people; particularly those who one supposes would prefer the policies of the center–left. There’s also the question of how well he’ll hold up if the other parties’ civil-wars result in the LR reforming as a party of the right and the PS returning to its roots as a party of the center-right. Both moves would seem to undercut Macron’s base of support since he’s now overtly allied with the right and all the polling shows that the PS still can save itself and rebuild it powerbase because the policies of the center-left continue to poll extremely well.

And I wonder what will happen once he gets his majority and starts implementing what the polls show would be some very unpopular policies.

@ Bernard,

I’m genuinely curious about your change of parties. It seems rather a radical change to move from a party that historically represented the center-left to one which seems essentially to be mirroring the LR’s social and economic policies but with catchier slogans and no internal struggle for power. Are your reasons tactical or a desire to give Macron a free hand? As it stands now, what remains of the PS’s leadership is still extremely centrist and committed to austerity and labour “reforms” so it’s difficult to understand your move.

Lapinot said...

François Baroin, the French right’s sacrificial lamb:

'[Sarkozy] told him [Baroin] that Macron would fall short in the legislative [elections] and that he had a good chance of becoming prime minister,” added the source.


Baroin dictated ultra-tough terms to his troops heading into battle. “Anyone who gets close to Macron before the legislative elections will be excluded,” he told RTL radio.

The hard line turned out to be disastrous.'