A Short Political Terminology (and Ideology) Test (French Elections Edition)

If you read a blog post or column that is freaked out that a Socialist(!) has won the presidency in France or that a given author thinks that it is extremely telling that Obama has invited Hollande to visit the White House, the following may be true:

a.  The writer in question is likely not well versed in French politics (or, really, in politics outside the US).

b.  The writer may not really understand what a socialist is, especially in context (a common malady, I will admit).

c.  They may have forgotten that France is a key US ally.

FILED UNDER: Europe, Political Theory, The Presidency, US Politics, World Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. What do you expect from a party whose presumed nominee thinks the Soviets are a threat to Czechoslovakia?

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Good post.

    I would add two more:

    d. They may have forgotten that France is a key trading partner and overall that the U.S. and the Eurozone economies substantially are connected.

    e. They might not know too much in general about politics, whether domestically or internationally. Incumbent + bad economy + 3rd-party candidate’s flanking attacks = incumbent being ousted from office, albeit narrowly. It’s not rocket science. It’s politics 101.

  3. Hey Norm says:

    D…all of the above?

  4. It’s worth pointing out that President Ronald Reagan called to congratulate newly elected French President Francois Mitterrand, also a Socialist, when he was elected in 1981.

  5. Bart Wallace says:

    It should also be pointed out that Mitterrand was a great ally of the United States

  6. al-Ameda says:

    All Obama has to do to avoid conservative “outrage” is to be sure that, at the State Dinner, Hollande is served freedom fries with his steak.

  7. Jeremy says:


    France is a key US ally?

    No, really. Enlighten me on this.