by Ken Feltman
The French are voting in numbers that suggest some left-of-center voters just cannot bring themselves to vote for Emmanuel Macron despite the fact that they abhor Marine Le Pen. The Radnor Conflict Index
predicts that Macron will win by about 20 percentage points.
Some voters who cannot stomach Macron are staying home rather than “sending a message” by voting for Le Pen or writing in another name. After all, even Le Pen’s own father has said he will not vote for her, calling her “unprepared.”
The French – unlike the British and the Americans – are quite practical in their voting. Even with unemployment at crisis levels, the French retain their practical approach to politics. They are not sending messages to their parties or political leaders. They are voting for what they believe is best for their families. (A downside to that attitude is the fact that about four in ten French voters believe that Le Pen’s far-right ideas offer the best answers to France’s problems – cutting off immigration, quitting the European Union, etc.)
These are the people who worked to create a European Union with a common European currency to replace their weak franc and, in the process, weaken the stronger currencies of their traditional rivals, the Germans and the British. The British have voted to leave the European Union. When the French vote to leave the EU, it will be because the EU no longer works for the French. At this point – even if the UK leaves – the French find sticking with the EU their better choice.
These practical and pleasant people realize that they have many problems. They know the shortcomings of their political leaders. They know that François Hollande was a bit of a dunce, sometimes doing clumsy and embarrassing things (such as wearing that crazy disguise when he went to visit his mistress). But they respect him for how he handled the attacks by terrorists. They admit that they will miss much of what he did and how he did it even as they laughed at his foibles. Politics, after all, is entertainment, too.
Tomorrow, they will begin thinking about the next election. They will not expect that their new leader will satisfy their hopes. That is what it is to be French – and the French love being French.