As expected, Emmanuel Macron, running under the banner of a party he started just one year ago, scored a resounding victory in the French presidential election on Sunday. Five separate projections concluded that Macron would secure around 65 percent of the vote, with Marine Le Pen at 35 percent.
More than 25 percent of French voters chose to stay at home, the lowest turnout in forty years, and a surprisingly high percentage voted blank. The low turnout most likely reflects that a significant portion of French voters did not embrace either the globalist Macron or the nationalist Le Pen, who has been labeled by the international establishment media as “far right.” Nevertheless, the clear victory margin shows that an overwhelming majority considered Macron to be the lesser of two evils.
Macron spent his last days campaigning on precisely this message. He told voters that the first round is about choosing one’s preferred candidate, whereas the second round is about eliminating the candidate you like the least. Evidently, France took this message to heart, but Macron faces a troublesome future. From The Guardian:
Macron, who has never held elected office and was unknown until three years ago, is France’s youngest president. He will take over a country under a state of emergency, still facing a major terrorism threat and struggling with a stagnant economy after decades of mass unemployment. France is also divided after an election campaign in which anti-establishment anger saw the traditional left and right ruling parties ejected from the race in the first round for the first time since the period after the second world war.
While Le Pen lost this battle, she may still win in the next election in five years. Her greatest support is among the young, and this demographic will continue to work in Le Pen’s favor over the coming years. Although Macron’s victory was decisive, Le Pen’s result is the best in National Front’s history. Only a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable that a nationalist would garner as much as 35 percent of the vote.
Nevertheless, it is instructive to look at why Le Pen lost. In the only TV debate between the two candidates, both Le Pen’s supporters and opponents agreed that she was ineffective, presenting herself as too aggressive and thereby playing into the media stereotype of the National Front as hateful and dangerous. Macron exploited this and labeled Le Pen’s voters as “our true enemies.” From Breitbart:
In a moment resembling Hillary Clinton’s infamous “deplorables” comment, Mr. Macron — who currently leads Front National leader Marine Le Pen in the polls — took to the stage at a 10,000-strong rally in Paris to dub Front National the “anti-France party”, branding their supporters “fearmongerers” and “extreme”.
“They’re here. It’s they. It’s they who are our true enemies,” declared Mr. Macron.
“Powerful, organized, skillful, determined,” he said: “You pass them in the streets, in the countryside or on the web, most often well hidden. As hateful as they are cowardly. You know them. The party of the agents of the disaster, the fearmongers. The French far-right. It’s here”.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, Macron seems to have been more successful with this strategy. However, by so doing he has contributed to the further division of France.
European elites will consider this result as a victory for the EU in particular and globalism in general, but Macron is also in part an outsider. The French voters rejected the traditional parties, reflecting a deep discontent with the establishment similar to Britain and the US. If Macron does not deliver on his promises to bring progress to France, which seems unlikely given expected status-quo, big government, welfare state policies, the stage could be set for a Le Pen victory in five years.