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The Milton Measure

Emmanuel Macron Wins French Presidential Election

by on Friday, May 19th, 2017

In the recent French presidential election, Emmanuel Macron won by quite a large margin over Marie Le Pen. This is a good thing. A Le Pen victory would have been devastating to all French people, not just the Muslims living there who would have suffered the most under a Le Pen/National Front government. With that said, I think Marie Le Pen is far from gone, and unless Macron brings serious change to France, she (or someone in her family) will eventually ascend to power.

Firstly, in France, the careers of powerful politicians tend to be longer than those in the United States. To name just one example— François Mitterrand first ran for President with the Socialist Party in 1965. He lost by 11%. He ran again in 1974 and lost again. He ran a third time in 1981 and won, served as president until 1995 when he was replaced by Conservative Jacques Chirac, who had run in every election since 1981. Marie Le Pen is only 48, which means we could see her running for decades to come. Furthermore, her niece, Marion Le Pen, is only 27. The younger family member recently announced a retirement from politics to focus on her family, but my bet is that she’s biding her time to see if she should stick with the National Front or back a more standard right-wing party.

Worse still for Macron, he doesn’t truly have a party. He created En Marche (note the fact that the initials of his party are the same as his own), a pro-business, socially liberal party. Though En Marche will probably win at least a plurality in the legislative elections this June, the party lacks any important figures besides Macron. This, of course, means Macron is in danger from Day One. Should he show any signs of weakness or hit any bump in popularity, he will likely have to deal with dozens of En Marche Representatives bailing, half his cabinet walking out to form their own parties (something Macron did to his predecessor, François Hollande), and every other party clawing at him. A personality-driven party like En Marche will blow up if the personality they center themself around leaves or fades (look to what is happening to UK Independence Party without Nigel Farage, or the Canadian New Democratic Party without Jack Layton).

Of course, more than any of these other issues, Macron’s fatal flaw may be his own lack of vision. En Marche is largely centrist, and does not prescribe major policy reforms. This won’t do for the French People, who tend to demand strong presidents. One of his first-round opponents, Jean-Luc Melenchon, prescribed a much more radical vision, involving leftie economics and major constitutional reform. Macron, on the other hand, lacks strong policies to combat either the increase in wealth inequality or the constant problem of terrorism. Should he fail to fight these problems, Macron will find himself facing an emboldened Marie Le Pen in 5 years, and the French People will be much less likely to vote for sane centrism had that already failed them. I hope Macron does a great job and is able to stop the global tide of xenophobic right-wing populism. WEn Marche, vive la France

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Posted by on May 19 2017. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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