France, Round One

1493063264BellMacronLHeritier666David A. Bell at Dissent:

And then there is the likely next president. Emmanuel Macron is what Americans would call a cultural liberal, who supports gay marriage and is willing to condemn his own country for its past imperialist ventures. But on economic matters he is much more of a technocrat and free-marketer (his resume includes the ultra-elite École Nationale d’Administration and the Rothschild Bank) who will do little to redress growing inequalities or guard against the effects of globalization. The presidential election will be followed in June by a parliamentary election, and while Macron has already gained the endorsement of leading Socialists (including former Prime Minister Manuel Valls), his economic positions will make it impossible for much of the left to support him. Much of the traditional Socialist base of teachers, civil servants, and union organizers frankly despises him. The result could well be a formal split in the Socialist Party created by François Mitterrand in 1971, with a centrist rump joining with Macron’s new En Marche movement and other centrists like François Bayrou to form some sort of new, Blairite “Third Way” party. Hamon’s miserable 6 percent showing (which more or less match Hollande’s miserable approval ratings) has already sounded a likely death knell for the Socialists, whose membership has fallen drastically over the past few years. But can its left-wing elements find common ground with Mélenchon, the Greens, and other, smaller left-wing parties? Can they form a substantial bloc that will support Macron on condition that he take seriously his professed admiration for Scandinavian social democracy? Nothing is less clear.

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