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.

Trump Can Not Take What He Dishes Out

It is not surprising that world leaders were discussing and laughing at Donald Trump this week at the NATO summit.  Nor is it surprising how Trump displayed his peevish nature for the world to see when he learned of the open display of their feelings about him.

The brief video which now has been seen worldwide shows grinning world leaders at a Buckingham Palace reception having the same type of laugh and dismay about Trump that the vast majority of Americans have been doing since 2015.   What is most precious about this video is the fact Princess Anne is there, and laughing at Trump. And Boris Johnson is smiling, too.

There has been a clear push-back this summit from the NATO leaders against the tone and style that Trump has brought to past meetings.  There is no more genuflecting to Trump, someone who everyone knows to be over his head in the office he holds.

For Trump to have voiced any negative reaction to anyone at the summit for word usage is more than galling.  I found it stunning, even in the era of Trump, to hear him say, “That is a very, very, very nasty statement,” in reference to French President Macron.  The backstory deals with an Economist interview where Macron questioned NATO’s strength “in light of the commitment of the United States.”

After Trump has worked tirelessly to undermine NATO, and has used the most demeaning and biting language on others it is now priceless to have Trump castigate someone else for word usage.  Trump can dish it out, but like others with his disorder, he can not stand it when the same is done to him.  Trump can snap nasty tweets from afar but has a hard time dealing with someone face-to-face who will not allow for the absurd behavior to continue.

So that is why Trump returned early from the summit, and would not participate like an adult on the world stage.

But at the heart as to why world leaders were rightly dismissive of him is that Trump is nothing more than a narcissist who must always have the eyes of everyone upon him.  That might be fine in his glorified penthouses but in the world of diplomacy–and if Trump had ever read any history he would know–one does not try to insult other world leaders by keeping them waiting for your arrival.  Especially when it is for nothing more than shameful self-promotion.  Which is the only thing he is ever interested in doing.

Trump should know that he is not respected by anyone with an IQ larger than Dolly Pardon’s bra size.  He is certainly not respected by world leaders who know the art of diplomacy and are grounded in the realities of international issues.   He is viewed as a buffoon and a contemptible figure by those who know him.

And now we know those sentiments are not only expressed in private, but also in public.

Sapling Disappears From White House Lawn Five Days After Macron And Trump Planted It

So….what happened?

The tree that  Donald Trump planted with French President Emmanuel Macron is no longer on the South Lawn of the White House, instead there is a patch of discolored grass. 

The sapling, a European Sessile Oak, was a gift during the State visit of the French president and his wife. In making the gift the French president tweeted, ‘this Oak Tree  will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us.’

Macron was referring to the World War I Battle of Belleau which was 100 years ago this June. 9000 US Marines were killed in the battle. 

But now the tree is gone. 

Reuters, on Saturday posted a picture of a patch of uneven, yellowed grass where the planting photo was taken.   

The White House has not commented on where the tree is now. 

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Love is in the air at the White House.