Aux Armes, Citoyens (part deux)
April 21, 2017 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Previously in the 2017 French presidential election: It was looking like the top two winners in the first round this Sunday would be Emmanuel Macron (of the centrist one-man party Forward!) and Marine Le Pen (of the far-right National Front), with François Fillon (of the center-right Republicans) lagging in third. Macron was then expected to win easily over Le Pen in the runoff. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Elysée: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of the far-left France Unbowed (and star of the video game Fiscal Kombat), has surged to tie Fillon for third place in most polls, as support for Benoît Hamon (of the center-left Socialist Party) has collapsed. Macron and Le Pen are still expected to make it to the runoff, but the possibility of either Mélenchon or even Fillon upsetting that outcome can't be dismissed. And with ISIS claiming responsibility for yesterday's shooting in Paris, the race is more up in the air than ever. posted by Cash4Lead (59 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
[Couple comments removed, please do make the effort to not steer the thread in a hard swerve toward your specific take right out of the gate.]
posted by cortex at 8:21 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


John Oliver has a harsh warning for France: 'Don't f--- up, too'.

Oliver played a clip from an interview with Le Pen from 2012 in which she said, “Would you accept 12 illegal immigrants moving into your flat? You wouldn’t. On top of that, they start to remove the wallpaper! Some of them would steal your wallet and brutalize your wife.”

“Hold on: brutalizing your wife and stealing your wallet, again, that’s just boilerplate racism. But ‘people are coming to take my wallpaper’ is something a crazy person says," Oliver said. “No one wants your wallpaper, you catastrophically weird person!”

posted by Capt. Renault at 8:21 AM on April 21 [33 favorites]


Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!!


...I mean, happy voting.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:31 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Couple of NPR people on their new Up First podcast this morning said that Parisians seem to be shrugging off yesterday's attack. Hope they're right, but I'm sure Le Pen will be hammering it.
posted by Etrigan at 8:34 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Man, I wished we signed some illegal immigrants to paint our place - the jackholes decided to paint over the wallpaper to save money (theirs, that is) with excuses it would be hard to remove, and did a very shitty job at that (at least better than "I could have done this, and never painted a wall before in my life").

I bet if Le Pen could have pointed me in the direction of these wallpaper removal experts, we'd have a smooth, smooth wall right now.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:35 AM on April 21 [6 favorites]


It has been really interesting participating in the French election for the first time (I became a citizen two years ago) and comparing the process to the US version. Yesterday I received a mailing from the Consulate that included 4-page glossy booklets outlining the program of each of the 11 candidates. Everyone gets equal space at the same time. (Oddly, only one of the candidates prominently displayed their political party affiliation--seems that most were trying to keep that on the low and run based on their own name recognition.) My kids got a hold of the booklets and drew mustaches on all the faces.

The booklets contained some pretty good howlers, especially from the minor candidates. One wants to make firing people illegal. Two of the three front-runners are anti-Europe, even though much of their funding comes from the EU. Also, point number 27 of Le Pen's platform, as she described it in an email destined to French expats around the world, is to eliminate dual nationalities.

We're headed off to the polls tomorrow (US Expats vote a day early), where our vote won't even bother getting counted unless there's a close margin. Yippee!
posted by Liesl at 8:38 AM on April 21 [16 favorites]


I was listening to the news this morning and the shouts of "on est chez nous" from a LePen really really affected me. It's always that visceral moment that these people hate the other so much they'll walk out and chant about it. One of those small moments that rocks you back on your heels I guess.
posted by Carillon at 8:44 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]


My kids got a hold of the booklets and drew mustaches on all the faces.

No toothbrush mustache on LePen? Lost opportunity there.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:46 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


John Oliver has a harsh warning for France: 'Don't f--- up, too'.

Foreign fake news meddling in the French electoral process!
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:47 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Would you accept 12 illegal immigrants moving into your flat?

My place isn't that big, I don't think I could fit more than 3 million at a time.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:48 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


After all the hard work John Oliver did "totally destroying" Trump during the presidential campaign, we may as well welcome Le pen now and save ourselves the trouble.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:52 AM on April 21 [16 favorites]


So last night there was a presidential 'debate' (all 11 candidates get 15 minute interviews one after the over, wrapped up with 2min30sec speeches from each) and each had to bring a fucking prop. Something that 'summed up their presidency'. No I'm not joking.

Cue: alarm clock ('France needs to wake up!'), social security card (I mean you get it), some terrifying statue (gift from handicapped child), fossils (from candidate with 0.5% predicted and 0 sense of irony), keys (Le Pen: giving France back her keys! (presumably she's been locked out)).

But the best, the most unabashed one was an olive branch. Same guy also cheated and brought a print out of EU regulations. That he then tore up.

I mean
posted by litleozy at 8:56 AM on April 21 [8 favorites]


Fillon: «Je n'ai apporté aucun objet parce que je ne suis pas fétichiste» ("I have not brought anything because I am not a fetishist.")

I assume "fetishist" has the same sexual connotations in French as it does in English, n'est-ce pas?
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:09 AM on April 21


...each had to bring a fucking prop.

Comment dit-on "Show and Tell" en francais?

I get it -- debates either can be pretty staid, boring affairs, or unproductive shoutyfests, and there's only so much you can do to break open the format, but this is pretty demeaning to everyone involved.

I totally would have brought Marcel Marceau's invisible box. 'Ooh, I get it, he's saying we're trapped!', or 'I like his approach of adhering to the rules while mocking them -- that insouciance is very French.'
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:09 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


I assume "fetishist" has the same sexual connotations in French as it does in English, n'est-ce pas?

It can do, but more immediately would have religious (crucifix), personal (family photo) or Marxist (money / =! reification) connotations.

So unfortunately this wasn't Fillon admitting to being the president with vanilla tastes.
posted by litleozy at 9:13 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]




>>John Oliver has a harsh warning for France: 'Don't f--- up, too'.

Foreign fake news meddling in the French electoral process!


Why does watching John Oliver feel so much like being forced to eat your vegetables?
posted by My Dad at 9:15 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Also, WTF is with Macron forgetting to bring his object (a grammar book)? Either commit to the bit or, like Fillon, have the courage to dismiss it as nonsense.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:17 AM on April 21


I assume "fetishist" has the same sexual connotations in French as it does in English, n'est-ce pas?

Yes, this sentence has the same double entendre as in English. But the setup for it, wherein the candidates were asked to bring their "objet fétiche" is a lot more common phrase and only gives a glancing reference to what we would consider a "fetish object." It's more like saying "bring the thing you're fixated on, or that you ascribe symbolic power to."
posted by Liesl at 9:18 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think the English word fetish came from French fétiche where it means idol, an object of supernatural belief. Albert Camus had a short story, Le Renégat, where the fetish was a prominant piece in the setting. That story, since we're at it, is still chillingly relevant in this moment of ours.
posted by runcifex at 9:49 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Dear France, if you elect Le Pen, Trump will be much more likely to be over there all the time, bringing the classiness of your country down by many notches, demanding your skilled chefs cook him terrible food, wearing execrable ill-fitting suits with taped ties. You know you don't want that.
posted by emjaybee at 9:56 AM on April 21 [10 favorites]


Well if it goes to Lapin, which tune will I be singing? So Long, Marianne, or la Complainte du Partisan?

So little I can do for the nation who was sister to me.
posted by runcifex at 10:25 AM on April 21


Couple of NPR people on their new Up First podcast this morning said that Parisians seem to be shrugging off yesterday's attack. Hope they're right, but I'm sure Le Pen will be hammering it.

Pretty much yeah. I change trains at the Charles de Gaulle - Étoile station under the Arc de Triomphe and am basically meh as are all the other Parisians I know. It's terrible, yes, but the police did their job and honestly it's not like we weren't expecting something like it.

I only know a couple people who support Le Pen. A few Macron supporters. Zero Mélenchon supporters IRL. Seriously zero. Several Hamon supporters. I'm one. There's no way in hell I'm changing my vote from a guy with actual, constructive policies that he has the clout to implement (he's implemented plenty before) to one who wears a Mao suit jacket unapologetically. And that's not even getting into Mélenchon's proposals. I will say this for his campaign: they drummed up quite the army of online trolls. You can't read anything online without them chiming in on how anyone not voting for him is an illiterate fool.

You might want to be careful comparing Le Pen to Trump since Le Pen supporters think Trump is pretty great. I'm not kidding.
posted by fraula at 10:38 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]




You might want to be careful comparing Le Pen to Trump since Le Pen supporters think Trump is pretty great. I'm not kidding.

That seems pretty much a given.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


I don't know if I would vote for Mélenchon had I a vote, but I'll admit I teared up a bit when I read about him giving a speech by the Mediterranean and asking for a minute of silence for all the people who had died trying to cross it. So I understand the emotional appeal. But I'll admit he hasn't wowed me otherwise.
posted by Kattullus at 1:35 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


If I was sure that a self-righteous mix of Tartuffe and Harpagon like Fillon wouldn't make it to step 2, I would vote for Poutou, the "Trotskyist". Hamon seems like the right one to follow, as Fraula said, but he has pretty much helped to saw off the branch he was sitting on.
posted by nicolin at 1:45 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


  One wants to make firing people illegal

If you've read Bonjour paresse, it sounds like it virtually is already (and, btw, that's the way it should be).
posted by scruss at 3:38 PM on April 21


Hamon is rolling with the socialist party which right now is a husk, it's not party anymore, it's two group of people hating each others guts with no ideological common ground.
That's why Melenchon seems to be to be the only valid candidate on the left.
posted by SageLeVoid at 5:02 AM on April 22


I did not see this one coming: Pamela Anderson endorses Melenchon
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:42 AM on April 22




acb: "Latest polls show Le Pen and Fillon making it through, Mélenchon and Macron eliminated"

What's the source for that poll? I can't seem to find it through casual googling, and it's not on the Wikipedia page.
posted by crazy with stars at 5:43 PM on April 22


Here's a link. The poll is from April 10 though.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:53 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


It's not a poll but an estimate based on social media buzz (it's actually called "digital weight of the candidates") from Filteris, a Canadian -based company. It's a darling of the right-wing web since it started showing Fillon on top or second. Some regular pollsters call it quackery, other are more prudent. Filteris got stuff right in some elections (notably in 2012) but largely missed the primaries.
posted by elgilito at 4:43 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Estimates of 81% turnout, I am envious.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:44 AM on April 23


Estimations at 8pm (which are usually accurate): Macron 23.7% Le Pen 21.7%, Mélenchon and Fillon 19.5%.
posted by elgilito at 11:07 AM on April 23 [5 favorites]


Minutes after polls close, Hamon endorses Macron "even though he's not a man of the Left" because "there is a distinction between a political adversary and an enemy of the Republic."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:24 AM on April 23 [10 favorites]


Sadly, it's shaping up a whole lot like the choice presented in the US election. I hope France does not repeat our outcome.
posted by indubitable at 11:40 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Fillon just endorsed Macron as well.
posted by btfreek at 11:50 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


via Twitter:

There's a Nazi on the ballot and people are still pissed that their opposition isn't left enough.

What's sad is the combined vote of left-wing candidate @jlmelenchon (20%) and leftish Socialist Hamon (6%)
exceeds winner Macron (24%)

Stuns me that Le Pen made the run-off in a world where Trump and Brexit won, but I suppose it's because the negative consequences haven't really had much time to accumulate. There will always be some people who will only change their votes if their own lives are directly hurt. Lack of empathy? Lack of imagination?
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:54 AM on April 23


From the Politico.eu live blog:

Emmanuel Macron is leading Marine Le Pen by 20 to 30 percent in head-to-head match-ups.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:15 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Stuns me that Le Pen made the run-off in a world where Trump and Brexit won, but I suppose it's because the negative consequences haven't really had much time to accumulate.

I fear that it will take the next equivalent of the liberation of Auschwitz for the negative consequences to accumulate in the public consensus to the point of making fascism unthinkable.
posted by acb at 2:02 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


There will always be some people who will only change their votes if their own lives are directly hurt.

Ironically, I have heard this exact same argument used by people who voted for Trump and Brexit in describing the lives of Clinton and Remain voters. You have to reckon with people living in once thriving secondary or tertiary city in France where wages have fallen and job prospects have disappeared. God knows you can't live a working class life in Paris, not these days. These people, they feel directly hurt, and it's hard to disagree. Direct hurt is why FN's numbers have been rising.

There's a reason Hollande's approval ratings are on a par with Louis XIV's.

(Christophe Guilluy is worth reading)
posted by IndigoJones at 2:10 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Sadly, it's shaping up a whole lot like the choice presented in the US election. I hope France does not repeat our outcome.

Bar some catastrophe, there's no way Le Pen can win. Part of Fillon voters will vote for her, and part of Mélenchon voters will abstain, but that's it, there are no secret Le Pen voters left: ironically, one side effect of Le Pen's rather effective "de-demonization" of the FN means that one no longer needs to be ashamed of voting for the FN.

The situation tonight is that almost everyone - left and right - is endorsing Macron. Mélenchon is making some whiny sounds but I'm sure he'll come around, because yeah, Méluche, you're a leftie, fuck Le Pen and her ilk. Even Fillon, who behaved like an assholish mini-Trump for most of the campaign, did the honorable thing. So Le Pen will spend the next two weeks trying to lure sovereignist, eurosceptical, rah-rah-Macron-is-an-evil-banker far-lefties (her speech tonight was focused about globalization and the "reign of money") but good luck with that. In the days preceding the election she tried to get some of her dad's traditional voters back and it didn't go too well.
posted by elgilito at 2:56 PM on April 23 [7 favorites]


OTOH, it's also no secret that the Russian government are strongly backing Le Pen for their own strategic reasons, and have a lot riding on it. One cannot rule out them trying something crazy. Presumably a few thousand fake Facebook accounts coordinated from a troll house in St. Petersburg won't come close to swinging it, but perhaps the FSB/GRU have more powerful tools at their disposal. Which could make the last few days a wild ride.
posted by acb at 3:05 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


ISIS and pals have a rather obvious way of interfering in her favour as well, unfortunately, as we've seen.
posted by Artw at 5:08 PM on April 23


Wikipedia has an interesting map of France, depicting which candidate won where in the run-off election. I don't know anything about the French population to comment further on the map, but I'd be interested to hear some thoughts on the topic.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 PM on April 23


elgilito: Bar some catastrophe, there's no way Le Pen can win.

Facebook's current trending news items #1 and 3: French Presidential Election Macron, Le Pen to make French runoff: Belgium's RTBF (Reuters) and NBC News: Trump Approval Rating Slides (Marketwatch re-hosting WSJ video, not sure what NBC news has to do with this, TBH).

My take-away/uninformed hope: Trump's abysmal popularity (538 [un]popularity tracker) is taking the shine off of xenophobic/ "populist" campaigns elsewhere. We'll see what happens (between now and) on May 7.

France, we're all counting on you.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:55 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


For the life of me I can't tell whether to be happy that it looks like a bullet will be dodged in two weeks, or to be unhappy that there's a bullet flying through the air at all.
posted by Kattullus at 12:46 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]




For the life of me I can't tell whether to be happy that it looks like a bullet will be dodged in two weeks, or to be unhappy that there's a bullet flying through the air at all.

The best case scenario is France elects an austerity-happy ex-banker. There is no dodging a bullet.
posted by indubitable at 5:58 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


French presidential election: first round results in charts and maps (Grauniad)

From the link:

Macron inherits
43% of Fillon's voters
70% of Hamon's voters
50% of Mélenchon's voters

Le Pen inherits
31% of Fillon's voters
3% of Hamon's voters
12% of Mélenchon's voters

So, roughly a quarter of those voters, over 10% of the electorate, have no preference between a centrist (albeit an ex-banker) and a Nazi?
posted by HumuloneRanger at 6:06 AM on April 24


The best case scenario is France elects an austerity-happy ex-banker. There is no dodging a bullet.

See also: the neoliberal war-hawk Hillary Clinton.
posted by acb at 6:19 AM on April 24


The best case scenario is France elects an austerity-happy ex-banker. There is no dodging a bullet.

Interestingly, Varoufakis likes Macron personally, but his movement's analysis of Macron's policy proposals so far is certainly critical.

He doesn't seem to be simply reduceable to the label "banker", and, if the backstory with his wife is an indication of personal character, he has proven to be significantly independent of French mores and conventions...
posted by progosk at 6:25 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Okay, does Le Pen "leaving" the National Front actually pick her up a single vote? Is there anyone in France who might be fooled that this is her pivot?
posted by Etrigan at 12:55 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Didn't she already fool a number of people into thinking she was far more moderate than her father just by moving into dog-whistling and giving hats to the skinheads?

In her mind, it's probably worth a shot.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:51 PM on April 24


Maybe next she'll take the skinheads bowling.
posted by Kattullus at 2:29 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


The best case scenario is France elects an austerity-happy ex-banker. There is no dodging a bullet.

One would think that Macron as president, who is affiliated with no party or power base, would still have to work with the National Assembly. Which may end up being dominated by Gaullists, socialists and the National Front.

How many bullets do you want to dodge?
posted by My Dad at 2:36 PM on April 24


So, roughly a quarter of those voters, over 10% of the electorate, have no preference between a centrist (albeit an ex-banker) and a Nazi?

Sounds like it (from before the first-round, so maybe these people have changed their mind since president Le Pen has become a possibility):

“Macron represents capitalism, which along with financial lobbies is shaping Europe,” said a 60-year-old art teacher who only wanted to be identified as Mathilde. “He is the Trojan horse of finance.”

She added: “If in the second round Mélenchon is not there, so be it, I will not vote. We’ll have the far-right. I don’t care. I can promise you that there are many, many people in my situation. We are just completely fed up.”

Lucas, an 18-year-old preparing to vote in his first presidential election, was on the same page. “If it’s Macron against Le Pen in the second round, I am not voting.”

Ditto Lydie and Fabrice from Lille. “What I will do is take two pieces of paper with Mélenchon’s name on them and slip them in the ballot box at both rounds,” said Lydie, a retired postal worker. “I could not bring myself to vote for [Macron],” echoed Fabrice.

posted by dhens at 6:37 PM on April 24


« Older Bondvillan terrorism   |   Adoption Is A Feminist Issue, But Not For The... Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.