Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Race Thus Far

"Horse-race reporting" is the pejorative term for the lowest form of political writing, namely, handicapping the candidates as though they were nags circling the oval. But I indulge in it in my latest article for The American Prospect. Readers of FP won't learn anything they don't know, but they may appreciate the kicker:

Hence the chief significance of this primary exercise may be to determine the fate of Macron, the only challenger on the left currently given any chance of actually winning the presidency. Of course, it’s still very early in the race, several debates remain before the left primary takes place, and there is no reason to place much confidence in the polls, not only because polls everywhere have been mistaken this year but also because the fragmentation of the French party system has made it very difficult to predict what voters are likely to vote in the primary. Turnout is expected to be light, much lower than turnout in the primary of the right and center that elected Fillon. This augurs ill for the eventual winner, whose victory celebration may resemble a wake around the corpse of the Socialist Party built by François Mitterrand. If a left remains in France after this election, it will bear little resemblance to the party that still dreamed in 1981 of a “rupture with capitalism” by democratic means and a repair of the breach in the workers’ movement that opened when the French Section of the Workers’ International split from the Communists at Tours in 1920.