Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election was disappointing, but predictable and expected. It didn’t come as a surprise. I spent the afternoon watching a movie.
I never thought that Marine Le Pen was going to win this election. I assumed she would do better than last time and lose more narrowly which is exactly what played out yesterday afternoon. I have been watching French politics since the early 2000s and this has been the story of my entire adult lifetime. The status quo is still hanging on, but barely. We continue to inch forward.
In France, Macron’s base are neoliberal PMCs who live in the big metros. Unlike the United States though, Macron’s base are center-right and center-left Boomers. He won 71% of voters over the age of 71. He struggled with all other demographics including the 61% of the youth vote that he carried. 41% of voters in that demographic chose not to vote at all. Abstentions were the highest in 50 years.
If Vladimir Putin hadn’t invaded Ukraine, I still think Macron would have won. This is what I thought would happen before the war in Ukraine. Insofar as the war in Ukraine has spurred inflation and higher energy costs and gave Le Pen an opening outside of her base, it probably hurt Macron. I don’t think Zemmour ever really had a chance. I think he would have also lost to Macron by a wider margin. In the end, I think Zemmour’s campaign helped Le Pen by making her look more moderate.
Once again, there were no surprises in the French presidential election, which is why we didn’t spend much time on it. Aging neoliberals turned out to vote. The Left voted for neoliberalism again. Change will eventually come to France, but it will be due to generational turnover when it happens.
Note: In the U.S., the major obstacle to change on the Right is Mitch McConnell and the Senate gerontocracy.