Macron Holds Decisive Lead Over Le Pen As French Election Heads Into Final Hours

Emmanuel Macron holds a decisive lead over Marine Le Pen as the French Presidential election heads into its final hours.

Marine LePen Emmanuel Marcon

With just forty-eight hours left to go until they face off in a runoff election, a new poll shows centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron leading Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the far-right National Front:

The front-runner for the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron, extended his lead over rival candidate Marine Le Pen after a strong performance in a televised debate Wednesday, according to an Elabe poll published Friday.

According to the poll, commissioned by BFMTV and L’Express, 62 percent of the electorate would vote for Macron if the election were held today, up from 59 percent last week. A total of 38 percent would vote for Le Pen.

Pollsters suggested Macron’s jump in popularity also came as a result of supporters of vanquished first-round candidates coalescing around him to oppose Le Pen, a phenomenon known as the “republican front,” local media reported. Around 53 percent of those who indicated they would back Macron said they would do so in order to bring down the far-right candidate.

These numbers are consistent with most of the polling since the first round of the election where Macron and Le Pen ended up finishing first and second respectively. The poll tracker for the British newspaper The Telegraph, for example, shows Macron averaging 61.8% of the vote to Le Pen’s 38.2% and the Pollster average for the French election shows Macron averaging 60.8% and Le Pen down at 39,3%.  While these results show Le Pen garnering more than twice as much support as her father did when he was defeated in the 2002 runoff election by Jacques Chirac by a more than sixty-point margin, it nonetheless marks what would be a significant defeat for the National Front in an election that many feared would take on many of the same populist characteristics that resonated in last year’s Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and in the American Presidential election last November. While polling does seem to indicate that Le Pen has picked up some support from the 21.5% of the vote that she received in the first round, it also shows that the vast majority of the support received by the other candidates in that round has gotten behind Macron just as happened for Chirac fifteen years ago. If these numbers hold up, then Macron will be headed for a decisive win on Sunday.

It is, of course, entirely possible that the polling is wrong and that Le Pen will perform better than what we’re seeing. Much of that will depend on the actual voter turnout on Sunday and what the supporters of the candidates who did not qualify for the runoff, the majority of who have endorsed Macron and urged their supporters to vote for him to block Le Pen from any chance of winning. In that regard, Le Pen’s supporters are no doubt relying on a repeat of what happened in Britain and the United States last year. However, there are several differences between those two examples and what appears to be occurring in France. In the case of both the Brexit vote last June and the American election in November, for example, the final polling was much closer than what we are currently seeing in France. In Great Britain, the final pre-election polling showed that there was only a gap of a few points difference between “Remain’ and ‘Leave’ in the Brexit Referendum. As it turned out, the turnout differed sufficiently from the polling samples that ‘Leave’ managed to pull out a win. In the elections that took place here in November, the national polling actually ended up being fairly close to the final result of the popular vote, while the disparity was at the state level, where polling in a few key states that small differences between actual turnout and the polling samples meant that Donald Trump ended up winning an Electoral College victory that, but for less than 78,000 total votes in three states, would have gone the other way. In France, though, the polls are giving Macron a more than twenty point lead over Le Pen. In order for those results to be wrong, the polling would have to be wildly inaccurate. Given the fact that the final polling in the first round turned out to be fairly close to the final results, this seems unlikely.

Sunday’s runoff won’t be the end of the road, however, as The Washington Post explains:

Sunday may be the second and final round of the French presidential election. But whoever wins will need to secure yet another victory in June during the legislative elections.

If the next French president in unable to capture the lower house of Parliament, he or she will face years of governing without being able to rely on a majority of lawmakers. Although French presidents have more powers than leaders in many other nations, they still need their parties to push through legislative changes.

With France’s traditional parties in disarray and a growing split along ideological lines, the winner is likely to be forced to cooperate with other parties and reach out to opponents.

It’s a scenario that already reminds some of Trump’s deadlock with Congress, where Democrats and some Republicans are challenging the president.

Since Macron is in large respects a man without a formal party structure behind him, this presents him with a scenario where he will likely be forced to forge alliances with a wide variety of parties in the legislature in order to get his agenda enacted. For Le Pen and the National Front, meanwhile, it means the possibility of making up for what seems like an impending loss in the Presidential election with gains in the legislature that increases the party’s voice in Paris. Even a performance consistent with Le Pen’s showing in the first round two weeks ago, where she garnered just over 21% of the vote would mean some significant gains for the National Front in the legislature. It’s worth noting, however, that the National Front has consistently been unable to capitalize on whatever national popularity her or her father may have at a given point in time. That suggests that the Front will not be able to capitalize on Le Pen’s gains in the polls and that the French electorate will once again reject the message that Le Pen and her party represent.

FILED UNDER: Europe, World Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    If Macron wins, this will be an interesting real world experiment. It’s hard not to see having to rally behind this guy in order to stop Le Pen as a bit of a Rubicon for both French and EU-centric elites. If he continues the persistent refusal to honestly acknowledge the problems facing France and Europe, what do the elite do next? They’ve already discredited themselves to the point of turning to this faux-outsider. If he fails, can they find an actual outsider who can be bought off/placated to push the reckoning back another half-decade or so?

    Mike

  2. SenyorDave says:

    @MBunge: The catch-all for anyone who is centrist seems to be “elite”. As if Donald Trump wasn’t elite but actually a man of the people. As if Marine Le Pen is an average French citizen instead of the child of a wealthy politician (her personal fortune is estimated at $275 million). Just who are these non-elites? Can you please point them out to us?

  3. JKB says:

    So the interference by a foreign (former) leader has not adversely affected the election?

  4. KM says:

    @SenyorDave:
    Silly boy, “elite” is now like “librul” – it means “person I have been currently told not like or has done something to offend me”. Any deeper meaning or etymological connotation is lost as it is foremost an emotional pejorative, not an objective description. A staunch conservative can be a librul, a poor elementary school teacher can be an elite, and a rich jerk who’s never had an employer can suddenly be just like a blue collar worker.

    It’s all about the feels, ya know? Le Pen is one of them, Marcon is not.

  5. Gavrilo says:

    @JKB:

    Maybe a candidate endorsed by Obama might actually win an election. It’s been awhile since that happened.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    Did Obama employ an army of social media bots to spread fake news about Le Pen? Did Obama hack Le Pen’s computer? Did Obama openly urge criminal hackers to gain access to Le Pen’s internal documents? Have six of Obama’s people been caught lying about their foreign paymasters? No?

    Then STFU with your phony equivalency.

  7. More importantly, Obama is not President of the United States anymore. Expressing an opinion on French politics is his choice, not official U.S. policy, and he is free to speak on whatever matter he chooses.

    Additionally, based on past polling, I would suggest that an endorsement from Obama is more likely to help Macron, at least marginally, than to hurt him.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Ah yes, Marine Le Pen, the anti-elitist lawyer worth 275 million dollars.

    That’s almost as anti-elite as the billionaire chimp in the White House.

  9. Gavrilo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Did Obama employ an army of social media bots to spread fake news about Le Pen? Did Obama hack Le Pen’s computer? Did Obama openly urge criminal hackers to gain access to Le Pen’s internal documents? Have six of Obama’s people been caught lying about their foreign paymasters? No?

    Then STFU with your phony equivalency.

    No, Obama was caught making a deal with the Russian President to give him “space” before the 2012 election in return for “negotiating” on missile defense. Funny how a presidential candidate colluding with the Russian government in 2012 was no big deal but in 2016 it was treason.

    STFU with your phony outrage.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Gavrilo:

    You realize now your on-line occupation is spreading lies for the FSB, right? That’s what you and your fellow Trump-bots are busy doing: covering up an array of major crimes on behalf of the FSB and their butt-boy.

  11. Gavrilo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    When do we get to the part where we see any real evidence of all these “major crimes” that me and the other Trump-bots are covering up?

  12. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Yes, but trolls like Mbunge love anyone who’s rude.

  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Even if that were true, are you really going with “well they did it too?” as your rationalization.

    If, indeed, Obama had done it too, then Obama would also belong in prison.

    Right alongside Trump.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Gavrilo:

    As soon as the FBI, two Grand Juries and two Congressional committees submit their findings.

    I don’t mind waiting.

  15. george says:

    Major powers always interfere in other countries elections, openly and behind closed doors. Russia does this, the United States does this, China does this – and probably half a dozen other countries as well, including France (right off the top of my head, Charles de Gaulle endorsed Quebec independence in the ’60’s, and France had colonies up to that time, which is as big an interference in another country as you get).

    The problem with the Russians interfering in the 2016 election is that American voters went along with it, that the FBI didn’t release what they knew about it before the election, and that one party (the GOP) was happy to profit from it.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    So the interference by a foreign (former) leader has not adversely affected the election?

    I suspect that you aren’t nearly as alarmed that another foreign (current) leader is trying to adversely affect the election…thankfully, the French will probably be a lot smarter about this kind of thing than certain Americans were…

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Isn’t it interesting that certain trolls around here who, back in the day, would have been strongly anti-communist and would have railed against any kind of foreign interference in elections don’t mind whoring themselves for Vladimir Putin now…how times change…

  18. Moosebreath says:

    @An Interested Party:

    “how times change… ”

    Cleek’s Law in action. “Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.”

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @An Interested Party:
    Oh, I like that they’ve removed their masks of patriotism and love of liberty and moral virtue. They’ve always this. Sort of like V when one of the lizards would pull off his rubber mask and eat a rat. These are not people who ever had much of a grip on civilization to begin with.

  20. MBunge says:

    This has to rank among the most pathetic comment threads this place has ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. It’s not that none of you have the slightest idea how France got to this point, how someone like Le Pen has a chance to be the nation’s president or how someone like Macron wound up the only one standing in here way. It’s not even that you don’t care about any of that. It’s that you are actively hostile to even thinking about any of it.

    The know-nothingism and magical thinking on display would be frightening if it weren’t so tiresome. I mean, arguing over whether there is a definable political elite in France and whether Le Pen is part of it is like arguing over whether the sky is blue and this preoccupation with Russian super-villainy is the sort of thing you’re to supposed to outgrow when you discover girls.

    But just to restate my original point, for the few non-fools still hanging out here, if Obama does about as good a job as humanly possible and we still got Trump, what comes next in France if Macron sucks? What will that mean for the EU?

    There are reasons this stuff is happening, no matter how much you human-ostrich hybrids want to pretend otherwise.

    Mike

  21. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Of all the words that could be used to describe your behavior since Trump won, “civilized” is not one of them. And if anyone has revealed their true nature as a pitiful, frightened, self-centered old man freaking out as the pretensions of his life melt away, it ain’t the folks like Gavrilo.

    Mike

  22. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: Really, Bungle? YOU are the one who brought up the “elites,” and now you are saying arguing about who’s “elite” is pointless?

    What’s really getting tiresome is your endless armies of strawmen and your dopey assertion you’re the only one who knows The Truth and we’re all a bunch of dolts who don’t get it. “Look at meeeee, I’m the SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOOOOM!”

    That kind of ego-driven mental masturbation is really what’s supposed to go away when you discover girls.

  23. Pch101 says:

    For a guy who knows nothing about France, Bunge sure has a lot to say about it.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    Oh, dude, you are such a sad human being. You’re what I used to sneeringly refer to as a ‘110’ in my nastier youth. That’s a guy who is half a bump above average and thinks he’s a genius.

    Yeah, Mike we know there is a reason ‘stuff is happening.’ It’s just not the reasons you think. This is what in the old days – cause I’m an old man as you point out – we’d have called ‘reactionary.’ A bunch of life’s losers looked at the world and said, ‘wait a minute, I’m a downwardly-mobile white man suddenly looking at a black man’s life, this must be stopped!’

    And the brilliant solution the losers have hit upon is to elect a vulgar, stupid, hopelessly ignorant, authoritarian thief. A two-bit caudillo. A known, proven con-man. A game show host. And for this voter imbecility you expect what, respect? You expect us all to nod sagely and think, ‘Yes, we really need to listen to these angry white folks.’ Angry white folks who are genuinely fwcked, but fwcked almost entirely by virtue of their own stupidity.

    How exactly are we to reach out to people who cut off their noses to spite their faces? Seriously, why don’t you explain what the larger society is supposed to do to deal with a 50 year-old coal miner who has seen 2/3 of coal jobs lost to automation but still insists that somehow the coal mines be returned to 1950’s levels of activity? How do we pacify people who are in effect demanding free unicorns?

    You know what Trump voters want? They want gays and transgender people to disappear. They want black people to shut up about being gunned down. They want men to have great jobs and women to cook and clean. They want ‘all them foreigners’ to go away. They want all phone trees to offer only English. They are classic reactionaries – ‘something’ has gone wrong, not like the ‘good old days,’ so let’s shit on some brown people and woman and queers and make the world like our fantasy.

    We gave these cretins health insurance. They chose to deny themselves health insurance because that health insurance came from a black man. Faced with a hiring choice that 100% of HR departments would resolve in favor of Hillary Clinton, you people chose a bumbling moron who has to be babysat by his daughter and son-in-law. And somehow out of this you expect respect?

    No, you get no respect. And having had our last attempt to help these people shoved back in our faces, we ‘elitists’ are kind of more at the point of, ‘fwck ’em.’ Let them die OD’ing because the local hospital has shut down. Let them see how far their kids get in life after the Republicans have trashed whatever is left of their school system. Let them die because the GOP has eliminated work safety rules. Let them become sterile because of a back alley abortion. West Virginia and Michigan are a long, long way from the San Francisco Bay Area, so why the hell should I care if your precious WWC wants to commit suicide?

    I’m going to come out ahead on all this. My taxes will go down. I’ll bank another 100k a year – more if no one closes the pass-through loophole, because ‘your’ elites are really generous to ‘my’ elites. Your elite is taking your health insurance away to give me more money. You don’t want my money to help with your problems, Mike? Cool by me, buddy, I’m ticking off the days till my daughter is out of school at which point I choose between Marylebone, London and the Costa del Sol. Or maybe both.

    This is what you don’t get, my 110 friend: you idiots just lost the last people in this country who give a wet fart about the working class. You’ve allied with the predators who will pick your bones and feed me the tasty meat.

  25. Ratufa says:

    To defend mbunge a bit: In the context of France, it’s not hard to give plausible definitions of who the political elite are. One widely-held view is that the elites are largely members of the small group of graduates, sometimes called “enarques”, from one of the of elite French schools of administration.

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @Ratufa:
    What’s happening in France has nothing to do with ‘elites’ per se, the French like their version of Oxbridge elites. This is not about the French government, really, it’s about Muslim immigration, Angela Merkel and Brussels. It’s French reaction to a perceived loss of their autonomous culture. Put it this way: had Merkel not invited a million refugees in, we wouldn’t be looking at Marine Le Pen possibly winning. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was a moral but politically stupid thing for Merkel to do, and the consequences have been disastrous. The US equivalent is illegal immigration, and in particular Democratic and GOP business wing ambivalence about it.

    This is all cultural panic. Half the country is charging ahead all full of Star Trekkian visions of a race-free, gender-free, religion-free, money-free future, and the other half rejects that view for the excellent reason that they aren’t part of it. There are no uneducated mill workers on the Enterprise. There are no kinda racist plumbers in Scotty’s engine room. ‘We’ are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of the autonomous vehicle, and ‘they’ are seeing us seeming to rejoice at the idea that ‘they’ will soon be economically superfluous. “We’ are excited by solar power and ‘they’ are like, ‘what about this lump of coal I dug up?’ In this country the split is largely New York City, LA and the Bay Area vs. West Virginia; in France it’s Paris and Lyon vs. Normandy. New vs. Old. Educated vs. Not. Lucky vs. Not.

    As always the choice is not between good and evil, perfect and flawed, it’s a choice between Elite A and Elite B. Elite A are unctuous predators who use racist dog whistles to exploit and screw the working class – Republicans. Elite B are arrogant snots who despite that actually help the working class – Democrats. As has happened with amazing regularity since 1864, the white working class chooses A, because they’d rather be screwed by a white man than unite with, or be helped by, a black man.

  27. Pch101 says:

    France’s use of run-off voting encourages protest votes in the first round. Voters know that is possible to safely vote for a crank in the first round without getting said crank into office. This is not the first time that FN has made it to round two.

    Just as is true in the US, there is an element of the European population that clings to some idea of noble heritage, and that group tends to blame foreigners for their problems. If “elite” is defined as not behaving like a bigot, then I say bring on the elites.

  28. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There are no uneducated mill workers on the Enterprise. There are no kinda racist plumbers in Scotty’s engine room.

    Which is why Babylon 5 was always much more realistic. Plenty of uneducated and racist (well, species-ist) on that show.

  29. Ratufa says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What’s happening in France has nothing to do with ‘elites’ per se, the French like their version of Oxbridge elites

    Yes, Macron is one of those elites. But, he is portraying himself as a political outsider, is criticizing the current French political system along with the elites who govern it, and has promised to appoint outsiders to government positions. Given that the two winners in round one were Macron and Le Pen, I’m not convinced that the French currently like the enarques.

  30. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: It’s about French history, too–complicity with the Nazi occupiers and consequent roundups of Jews who were sent to the camps, colonialism, stuff like that. Le Pen is the daughter of a Holocaust denier who has herself tried to downplay France’s role in the Holocaust, while Macron has traveled to Algeria and asserted France’s actions there during the colonial period rose to the level of “crimes against humanity.”

    America has its slavery history, France has its colonial history, and in both cases, the past is always present.

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    This is a bit OT, but this points to one of my eternal beefs – the teaching of history. Three examples:

    The South, the French and the Communists. In each case lies were told to soften the reality of the losers.

    We invented the Lost Cause myth to give southerners a mythology other than, ‘defeated slavers’ who got what was coming to them.

    We created the myth of the French Resistance – a tiny force that did not rise up to defend freedom, but rose up in opposition largely to Nazi-Vichy forced labor policies, or on orders from Moscow Central.

    And in 1989 rather than dance on the grave of a defeated ideology that had cost tens of millions of lives, we took a kinder, gentler approach and now we have Russians posturing as equals in the world and telling themselves lies about western aggression. Hey, Russia: you murdered millions in defense of a transparently stupid ideology; you want respect? Face the truth and start behaving like grown-ups.

    We come up with lies to soothe the hurt feelings of contemptible people, and those same contemptible people buy the lies and go on being contemptible. Germany, by contrast, got a heaping helping of capital ‘T’ Truth. They absorbed it, took responsibility, and are now the moral leaders of the West.

    The South sent poor whites as cannon fodder to die in a despicable cause. Not a glorious Lost Cause, a despicable cause. France rolled over for the Nazis because the French were half fascist themselves, did basically fwck-all to free themselves, and owe their survival as a nation to Britain, their colonies, and the United States. And the Soviet Union was an atrocity from start to finish, an atrocity that died of sheer stupidity.

    We need at all times to teach the Truth, not some watered-down, ‘awww don’t feel bad’ version of it.

  32. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You know what Trump voters want? They want gays and transgender people to disappear. They want black people to shut up about being gunned down. They want men to have great jobs and women to cook and clean. They want ‘all them foreigners’ to go away. They want all phone trees to offer only English. They are classic reactionaries – ‘something’ has gone wrong, not like the ‘good old days,’ so let’s shit on some brown people and woman and queers and make the world like our fantasy.

    Actually I met and talked with a lot of Trump voters. About 10% are what you described. But what most of the other 90% of them want (and got) was to vote without actually reading or hearing a single thing (other than “You’re Fired!) that either Trump or Clinton said. Seriously, thinking they voted on the issues, either explicit or implicit, is like thinking they solve Maxwell’s Equations before turning on a light switch. By far the majority voted the way they always voted, and, I repeat, cannot tell you a single thing either Trump or Clinton stood for. Gays? Races? Transgender? You might as well be talking about Gauss’s, Ampere’s and Faraday’s Laws; they don’t know and they don’t care, they’re just flipping a light switch on because that’s what they always do when they enter a room.

    The last 10% listened enough to decide who they liked the best as a person, and voted that way. They’re the ones that voted for Obama because he is extremely likable, and then voted for Trump because as obnoxious as he was, he was at least entertaining, whereas Clinton’s public persona was mind numbingly boring (same problem Gore had against Bush Jr, that Bush Sr had against Bill Clinton … actually when was the last time the more entertaining candidate didn’t win?)

    The point is to win in 2018 and 2020, and thinking that has anything to do with issues, even anger or economics, is a mistake. Its about personality and habit. Cruz for example was at least as racist and homophobic and Trump – if the point was to get someone like that in, they’d have gone with Cruz, who appeared to have a much better chance of being elected. Why did Trump beat Cruz in the primaries? Because Trump is far more entertaining.

    And yes, I really believe its come down to that, that things have deteriorated to that point. All those folks who went from Obama to Trump will in a heartbeat vote Dem again if the Dem candidate is the more likable/entertaining. A charismatic candidate could run on a platform of repealing the law of gravity and win a landslide – and most of the voters won’t even know that gravity was an issue.

    /End of rant – talking to voters is really disillusioning

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @george:

    You might as well be talking about Gauss’s, Ampere’s and Faraday’s Laws; they don’t know and they don’t care, they’re just flipping a light switch on because that’s what they always do when they enter a room.

    But dude, that is the basis of casual racism and misogyny, a reflexive identification of yourself as X and other people as Y. Racism isn’t just Klansmen sitting around telling lynching jokes, it’s the utter indifference of people who see themselves as X, toward everything Y. It is a refusal to consider the needs and grievances of others and to limit your focus only to yourself and your group.

    None of these people – not one – failed to see news about Black Lives Matter, for instance. None of them are unaware of illegal immigration or of refugees or of abortion or of gun control. They passively edit out anything that isn’t ‘me and mine.’ They are like people in 1860 who might say, “I don’t even care about slavery.” Well, of course you don’t, you’re not a slave. And you can’t be bothered to give a damn about the people who are.

    This is 2017. I expect more from voters in the world’s greatest democracy than me, me, me, mine, mine, mine. (I expect to be disappointed and have been for. . . well, forever.)

    But of course you’re right that this has more to do with charisma than policy. Obama was a charismatic guy, Hillary was not. Trump was, Cruz and Rubio not so much. Perceptions of charisma are largely formed by prejudices, but you’ll get no argument from me that voters are lazy, empty-headed ninnies.

    That said, are we to just pander to this dumbing down? Are we just riding this sled right off the cliff? Are we going to be swearing in President Kim Kardashian and her vice president, Kim Kardashian’s Ass? We are the biggest part of what’s holding this very well-armed world together, if we go down this path, who saves the world next time it needs saving? We’re Gondor and the world is still full of Saurons.

  34. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But dude, that is the basis of casual racism and misogyny, a reflexive identification of yourself as X and other people as Y. Racism isn’t just Klansmen sitting around telling lynching jokes, it’s the utter indifference of people who see themselves as X, toward everything Y. It is a refusal to consider the needs and grievances of others and to limit your focus only to yourself and your group.

    That’s a good point, and describes most of them well. I guess I’m just extremely frustrated, because I think its possible to deal with ignorance, or even hatred/anger by exposing people to real individuals. I’ve seen co-workers become less racist, sometimes it took years but it almost always happen as they get to know you, as you become part of their norm and they learn to respect you. But I’ve absolutely no idea how to deal with indifference – its like trying to climb a wall with no hand holds of any kind. Strange that its easier to change hatred than indifference, but that’s definitely been my experience.

    I suppose that’s where charisma comes in – someone like Obama can make people care just a little, even if only for the ten minutes they’re listening to him. And I guess that’s the danger with a charismatic person who promotes hatred, caring about something can go both ways. I should add that I don’t think Trump is charismatic – he’s simply entertaining, no one likes or admires him. Reagan was a charismatic conservative, with unfortunate consequences.

  35. Tony W says:

    @george: This tendency toward indifference, toward “both sides do it” type thinking – is why I won’t shut up on Facebook about politics. I’m careful to be centrist (actual-centrist, not American centrist) which means lining up with the ‘D’s much of the time, but pointing out the fallacies and intellectual inconsistency and blatant lying to those around me who can’t be bothered to learn the issues.

    The ability to ignore politics is one of those privileges us wealthy white guys have, and many of us don’t even know it. I’m sure my gay and transgender friends would love to be unconcerned about politics about now.

  36. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: This is why I support George Clooney for President in 2020, with the most boring, experienced, capable, left-wing VP possible. It’s possible that by 2020, America will value experience over celebrity, but I kind of doubt it.

    So, a charming, empathetic, less boorish celebrity with enough gray hair for gravitas, and enough of a roguish charm to satisfy.

    @george: I would have more hope for America if I believed your 90/10 numbers. 75/25 I might be willing to believe. 50/50 better matches what I have encountered.

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @george:
    It’s such a simplistic idea, but so true. People who interact with black/gay/Muslim people don’t tend to have a problem with black/gay/Muslim people because the general becomes the specific. It’s easier to hate ‘Arab #1″ than Abdul, your plumber who came over on a Sunday and charged you the regular rate.

    The flip side of that is of course that whites in the closest contact with African-Americans – people in the South, more often than not – tend to be less utopian than people like me, living in 80% white Marin County. But the black-white relationship is not analogous to any other interracial situation, not in the US. That relationship is closer to German-Jew in some ways. As a nominal Jew I know intellectually that Germany and the German people are not responsible for the Holocaust, I reject notions of collective guilt, but still, there’s something permanently in the back of my head that you never trust a German. I drive German cars, drink German beer, but still. . . And of course Germans are perfectly aware of this, and that history is hard to get past, whether it’s German-Jew or White-Black.

    But if you could design one great strategy to change politics in the US, to improve politics in the US, it would be to get the black machinist from LA and the white refinery worker from Texas to see that they are on the same goddamned side. That, finally, would be a force to challenge the Goldman Sachs universe.

  38. Kylopod says:

    @george:

    Cruz for example was at least as racist and homophobic and Trump

    Last I checked, Cruz did not call Mexican immigrants rapists. And not only didn’t he embrace the “birther” claim against President Obama, he himself was the victim of a similar accusation–by Trump! Indeed, as soon as Trump started bringing up the eligibility question against Cruz, Cruz’s numbers started falling. It was an effective way of reminding GOP voters that Cruz is a Latino–maybe one of the whitest Latinos around, but still Latino.

    Among racist Republicans, there are a certain number of them who will embrace a minority candidate just to prove they aren’t racist. (I think it was a big part of the appeal of Herman Cain.) But when faced with a choice between such a candidate and a “pure” white man spewing the same bilge, they’ll invariably go with the white guy.

    In any case, I think the mistake you’re making is in trying to treat the “entertainment” value of Trump as something inseparable from his racism, when in fact those two factors are intertwined. Trump was “entertaining” because he was the essential shock jock of the election–the guy willing to say things the other candidates are too timid to say outright. He was the candidate who would “go there.” And especially in modern GOP politics, that kind of thing is wrapped up in matters of identity–race, religion, gender, and so forth.

    The point is not that the other candidates weren’t making a play for the racist vote. Jeb talked about black voters getting “free stuff.” Cruz and Rubio also called for building a wall. The point is that Trump was absolutely clear and explicit about what he really meant, bypassing most of the dog-whistles and coded language that GOP politicians have been using for the past several decades. He was “entertaining” for many of the same reasons Archie Bunker is entertaining–because there is a certain visceral pleasure in watching taboos being shamelessly eviscerated. There’s a large chunk of (mostly older and whiter) Americans who have long felt victimized by those taboos, and those voters and Trump were a match made in heaven.

  39. Mikey says:

    Le Pen has conceded defeat. Macron will be the next President of France.

    http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-french-election-results-20170507-story.html

  40. michael reynolds says:

    Vive la France.

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Truthfully, you wouldn’t believe the degree of “pas la garce” that has been going around. Most of the people I know / have spoken with over the past few weeks were quite divided with regard to what they want, but they were all in steadfast agreement about what they didn’t want. This wasn’t so much an endorsement of Macron as it was a vehement rejection of Le Pen.

    We were a little worried about low turnout being a potential problem, with the JV holiday tomorrow and half of the country out of town on a long weekend as a result, but they pulled it off. Procurations helped that a great deal.

    The worry at this point becomes the Assemblée elections next month. We’ll see what happens with those. Hopefully we can contain FN and avoid having to create some sort of unwieldy coalition in order to be able to govern.

  42. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:
    Yes, Obama has “interfered ” in exactly the same manner as did Trump’s Russian associates. Obama had Podesta’s staff hack Marine Le Pen’s personal and campaign email and information accounts. Where’s the investigation? Why won’t the ‘Main Stream Media’ cover this?

    There, is that up to right wing standards of false equivalency?