French Voters Reject Fascist Presidential Candidate, Third National Defeat For Marine Le Pen As Emmanuel Macron Scores Wide Margin Of Victory

As one of the walkers on the Madison isthmus reminded me this afternoon as I planted roses, and we talked of the French presidential election, there were still four in 10 voters who cast a ballot for a fascist candidate. As one who worries about democracy not only in our nation but in countries around the globe, she did not need to remind me. I told her it was the older voters in France who well recall their history and then correctly cast their ballot for Emmanuel Macron.

And saved their country from the ruinous racism, white nationalism, and xenophobia of Marine Le Pen.

There was no way to successfully soft-pedal or sell Le Pen’s blows against Muslims or her tirades against Algerians. One can not rift about inflation one minute and then next pour scalding rhetoric upon Muslim women and their headscarves and not have reasoned voters go what the hell is wrong with her?

There was no hairstyle or consultant-driven outfits that could wash away Le Pens’ overt and constant racism.

Or her admiration for Russian President Putin.

French voters did not forget that Le Pen repeated her support for Putin’s assault on Crimea and her opposition to the EU sanctions at that time in response to the annexation. It was a mere 38 days after Russia invaded Ukraine that Le Pen stated, that Putin “could become an ally of France again” if the war ends.

If the hate-mongering from Le Pen was not enough to deeply draw concern, the threats she posed to NATO policy and the unity of the European Union surely would have done so. Why the far-right finds it a natural fit to cozy with Putin is one reason they must be viewed with suspicion when on the ballot. As voters proved today in France.

The close ties that Macron has established between France and the rest of Western Europe and the United States are the hallmark of what constitutes a solid working relationship. Now consider the angry populism and white nationalistic bombast from Le Pen, and ask yourself what would have befallen France and Europe had she operated from the presidential office? Putin would have won a second war without even needing to have fired one missile westward.

Macron has five years to now focus on a leadership role in the EU, with the absence of Germany’s outsized role of Angela Merkel. He can now press forward with his “More Europe” perspective and agenda.

As the woman who talked with me in the sunshine said of today’s election, Le Pen may have plenty of supporters, but the collective wisdom of the majority of mainstream French voters simply would not allow for a fascist to become the next French president.

Thank you to the majority of French voters for your concern for democracy.

And so it goes.

Blocking Vile Marine Le Pen Main Goal This Weekend

Illiberal democracy continues to be a theme on Caffeinated Politics. This weekend it is the people of France who carry the responsibility of rejecting the dangerous and racist messaging of Marine Le Pen, as she seeks power in France’s presidential elections.

Attempting to soften years of fascism is a tall order but with slick styling and consultant-driven word usage, the third time attempt by Le Pen to wrest control of government into the hands of the far-right is making for nervousness among electors. And the world community.

It is the hope here that President Emmanuel Macron, a fave politico at this desk due to his economic plans and much-needed-reforms with an almost JFK style of being himself and finding joy in governing, will garner the needed 50% of the vote. What stirs anxiety, however, is the degree of buy-in the voters will have for the repackaging of Le Pen, a vile racist, and a danger to democratic institutions.

The anti-immigrant rhetoric has continued as she blusters that she will punish Muslims who wear headscarves in public and will use police to enforce such a policy in the same manner that seatbelts are imposed upon drivers. I would argue the cultural turning of the screw must not be on the women who are subjugated but on the men who force the matter upon their wives and sisters.

The hate-filled rhetoric over the years from Le Pen about Islam and what constitutes national identity in France shows who she is, as opposed to now tossing back her hair and opining about consumer high prices. Let us be honest and note that when viewing her campaign in 2022–through the BBC and newspapers both France and here in the states, one thing is abundantly clear.

There is still a powerful undertow from Le Pen about resenting diversity and furthering France’s divisions. She has structured a campaign to make more of a distance between city and rural voters, those with an upper income and those of modest means, and especially and most disgustedly between “native” French people and immigrants.

Cultural nationalism has been the root cause of so much misery throughout the pages of history and Le Pen stokes that fire both overtly and covertly. Her recent campaign has not diluted her views, just the words used to lure people who have economic angst to her camp. But ask what she thinks about gay and transgender rights, Algerians, and any notion about diversity and you find a cancer that is central to her philosophy.

Politics takes precedence over law, she says.

In a liberal democracy that can never be a path taken by the leader of a country. Racism and the fear of ‘others’ can not be the driving force for any leader in the 21st century.

And yet Le Pen has warned–or is that promised–the first measure she will undertake will be a bill on immigration and identity.

As I said earlier in this post when describing Le Pen, she is vile.

And so it goes.

All Eyes On French Election This Weekend

There is a most important first-round election taking place this week in France.  And it impacts our world.

There is no doubt that the terrorist attack in Paris this week is reminding the world of the stakes in this weekend’s French election.  The harsh racism of Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front party welcomes the headlines as it plays into her rotting narrative.  Immigrations and thrashing the Islamic faith have been her trademarks.  While Donald Trump isn’t endorsing a candidate there is no doubt where he stand.  Populism run amok was the way he steamed his way into the White House and he would love to see Le Pen do the same in France.  His tweet said as much when he wrote “The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

The French election has also given way to a potential proxy war playing out between Trump and his predecessor, President Obama. While Trump has stopped short of an outright endorsement, Obama weighed in by giving another front-runner candidate Emmanuel Macron a phone call this week.  There is no doubt the final two candidates for the second-round of votes will be Macron and Le Pen.  But will the populist anger and tossing aside of reason and facts spread over that European country as it did here?

One of the reason this matters so much to America and all in the world is the foreign policy of the Trump White House.  I need not write here that the bluster and swagger is not the diplomatic type that makes for a safer world.  Should Le Pen prevail in the second round it would test the world in very profound ways.  It also would place into question the moral failings of those who supported her candidacy–as the vile nature of her views can be no more accepted by the world community than those of Trump.

A final view of the polls show that Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen are virtually tied in the polls, with conservative François Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon not far behind.

Let us pray for sanity.