Centrist Macron thrashes far-right Le Pen in French presidential election


I do wish we had a “none of the above” option here in the states. Our politicians have no way of distinguishing between a “the status quo is fine so why bother” non-voter, “everything is rigged so why bother” non-voter, a principled non-voter, or a person who didn’t have time that day, or someone who was just lazy. With so little information available*, no wonder we have no idea what the people actually want, even right after an election.

*this problem also applies to the two party duopoly and its lack of choices, leading to the enormous amount of divination of the peoples’ will required even immediately after an election, when logically we should have the most information possible.


The closest thing we have is spoiling a ballot line or leaving it blank (I’ve been told that writing in a candidate on a provided space is not effective, but that putting a line through such is). Election returns officials do tally up undervotes, and while they’re not as emphatic a statement as “none of the above” they can still send a message.


Your point was perfectly clear, but in my opinion over simplified. The abstainers I talked to were easily the most politically passionate people I came across here. They understand the risk full well. But they’re not willing to be bullied into making a choice they don’t want to make. And furthermore there’s a more profound risk that you didn’t mention: if you examine how your thinking has worked out in America, it has narrowed the political spectrum until even the left leaning choice (Hillary Clinton) would have been a Republican (right) candidate from years prior. And the Republican choice is extreme right compared to the past. There hasn’t been a truly leftist major candidate in America for a long time, if you look at only the two front runners, precisely because everyone jumps to support whichever candidate is relatively to the left. So in fact, in their thinking, it’s people who use the argument you’re using who are ultimately supporting Le Pen in the long term.


In length.
If your friends were passionate, that doesn’t relive them from thinking and calculating odds.

[quote=“wrybread, post:166, topic:100557, full:true”] They understand the risk full well.

Oh. If that is the case, it’s even worse. That’s accepting to support neo-facism full willingly.

[quote=“wrybread, post:166, topic:100557, full:true”] And furthermore, if you examine how your thinking has worked out in America, […] So in fact, in their thinking, it’s people who use the argument you’re using who are ultimately supporting Le Pen in the long term.

First of all, the US has nothing to do with it. The US has a different political culture, political system, and political batshit. If you want to discuss that, talk to someone else.

Your implication that doing the math makes me a supporter of Marine Le Pen is not appreciated.

Let me simplify grossly.
If France had a population of 100, only 70 are going to vote anyway, and you can be sure about 30 of them are going to vote for MLP, than you have a number of six people who could swing the election.

If these can’t be bothered to look through their haze of pain and vote against MLP, their passion is wasted.



Tusk felt like a genuine attempt at trying to make a good movie, and even though the result was a mixed bag, at least Smith put himself out there. But Yoga Hosers is a retreat into, “If you don’t like it, I just won’t even try” territory, resulting in an intentionally critic-proof movie that exists only to amuse a handful of people. It’s a very, very, very bad movie, but I’m not even mad that it’s awful. I’m frustrated that Smith didn’t even try. Rating: D-


You can choose to ignore the lessons of the U.S. if you want, but that’s just sticking your head in the sand. People have been making the exact same argument you’re making here for ages, and it’s gone very badly for us. You can choose to learn from history or continue to over simplify by saying someone is supporting Le Pen when they very explicitly aren’t. I take it you’re in France? Presumably you’ve talked to some abstainers in person and accused them of being de facto Le Pen supporters? How’d that work out for you?


Where exactly did I say it does not?

This is the first line of my response to Mindysan33 on the subject of sexism in European politics

So why pick a random sentence and lecture me on something I have already stated, while ignoring the core of my argument about xenophobia.

My argument was and is (and a number of others who also appear to be based in Europe have made similar points) that this election in France was about xenophobia and racism. Gender played no perceptible role.

If you have evidence that Marine LePen was disadvantage in this election because of her gender please share it with us. Otherwise it would be good to focus this discussion on the fact that a xenophobic and racist candidate lost and an explicitly pro-European candidate who emphasised his commitment to France’s minority population won.

Let’s have the discussion on sexism where it really played out e.g. the treatment of Hillary Clinton in the US.

EDIT to add: As a woman who attended a US High School and University but has mostly lived in Europe I really do think that sexism is far more prevalent in the US.

I cannot imagine that a European country would elect a candidate who has been accused of assaulting women, who has admitted on live TV to assaulting women. The US currently has an elected President who is not merely a womaniser or a misogynist but a self-confirmed sexual predator and you had a female candidate whose treatment was on the level of misogyny which I think we would have to dig really deep into European history to find parallels to–Joan d’Arc maybe?

I really don’t understand why US commentators here are so unwilling to accept that there might be differences in how these things play out on another continent.

Were people aware that there was a gender difference btw the candidates: yes.

Does gender play a major role in European society and are women disadvantaged: yes.

Is there evidence that Marine LePen’s gender played a significant role in the outcome of the French Election: if there is evidence no-one has pointed out here.


That’s just silly. People looked at and listened to Le Pen, and they perceived “a woman.” Of course that was a factor in how things went for her.

Though, since she’s rather skilled at manipulating such perceptions, her gender may have helped her as much or more than it hurt her. Either way, entrenched sexism certainly was a driving force, even when people recognized her cynical deployment of gender and fought or voted against it.

Although stopping short from presenting herself as a “feminist”, she has also tried to appeal to French women by looking and behaving in a more approachable way. She may have inherited the forceful voice and physique of her father, but she chose to change the party’s logo, a flame, for a blue rose. On the poster for the second round campaign, she very unusually wears a skirt, and smiles, posing in front of bookcases. The poster’s slogan, “Choose France” shows that she is trying to appear as the Mother of the Nation. In fact, she is deliberately tapping into the national unconscious: the French Republic is represented by a female figure wearing the revolutionary red Phrygian cap known as Marianne, and best remembered in the Delacroix painting. Every town hall and state schools in France has a bust of Marianne and every stamp and French euro coin show her face or profile.

Recently, Marine Le Pen’s strategy has been to particularly target working-class women who may fear their poorly paid jobs are at risk from immigrants. French women being represented in the service proletariat may feel particularly inclined to vote for the anti-globalisation and protectionist Marine Le Pen. Of course, some feminists, such as followers of the Femen movement, who are based in Paris, try as often as they can to call her bluff. They regularly ambush Marine Le Pen during public events, conferences or public speeches with, for instance, the words “Marine: Fake Feminist” or “Le Pen Top Fascist” painted across their chests.

The Femen and other French feminists insist that Le Pen is using women’s issues for xenophobic purposes, as a way to push forward an anti-immigrant agenda. In her 2017 political manifesto, Marine Le Pen develops 144 proposals in a 24-page long document. The word “women” only appears twice. For feminists, such fact is revealing enough.

In fact, as the skilled politician she is, Marine Le Pen has managed to use her gender to give the party a veneer of respectability, competence and modernity. If many French people can still see through the illusion, others, among them many women, have chosen to believe it.


Wow! Way to misread a comment.

What I actually wrote was that the election was about xenophobia and racism and that gender had no perceptible role in the outcome unlike in the treatment of e.g. in the Ségolène Royal who I also mentioned in the thread.

Obviously everyone perceived LePen is a woman just as they perceived that Macron is 39, We could also start a discussion on agism in French politics–even though there doesn’t seem to be evidence that Macron’s youth and inexperience hindered him.

The question here is not what people perceive, the question is how that perception has influenced their decision.

And we are still looking for evidence that LePen’s gender played any decisive role in her loss. The evidence from the article you quote to which I also referred to at the beginning of this thread is that her gender might have helped LePen in this instance.

On what planet did I suggest that people didn’t perceive her gender? Why would I?


I just realised today that Marion Marechal Le-Pen isn’t her daughter, she’s her niece. I had always read her described as Jean-Marie’s granddaughter and just assumed she was Marine’s daughter. But yeah, she seems much worse than Marine, will be interesting to see what happens to the party now, is they do poorly in the legislative elections there’ll be a big push from within to draw them back further to the right, which will probably be a good thing overall as it’ll only hurt their electoral chances (one would hope). Though one of the things they are fighting over is whether to drop their opposition to the Euro, that seemed to be a big vote loser for them this time, so the might just tweak a few things and do better the next time around.


We can choose to ignore the lessons of the US because they don’t apply at all to France, which has had mostly socialist governments in recent years (Sarkozy being the only real exception), and even the right wing governments they have weren’t able to push through much reform (or in the case of Chiraq weren’t at all right wing by US, or even most other European, standards - he initially made a few reforms of some of the more egregious state interferences (like price controls), but fundamentally did little to change the strength of the state’s role in the economy). France is still a fundamentally social democratic country, one of the more socialist of any country in Europe. France’s current problems aren’t too little socialism, they are too much socialism.

That’s not the only difference between US politics either, the US is a two party state, the French system is far more diverse. Neither of the two final candidates this time around were from either of the major parties.

I also disagree with your assessment that Hilary was to the right of some recent Republicans, that’s rubbish. She might be similar to some of them in respect to a few narrow economic policies, but nearly everywhere else she’s solidly Democratic.

Hillary 2017!

I guess I was that handful of people he was trying to amuse, cause I thought it was fun… no masterpiece… but then again, I liked Jersey Girl… The movie would have been a ton better without Johnny Depp.


I’m sorry, but that is precisely what you did with me.


9 posts were split to a new topic: Hillary 2017!

Hillary 2017!
Hillary 2017!

You are the one ignoring facts here. I repeat myself, but France has a very different political system.

Talking to French who abstained worked out very fine by my standards: those I talked to had not voted in the first round and talked about not going to in the second round.

They did vote, as far as I am aware. One of them even drove several hours to the French consulate to cast her vote. I am going to celebrate with her next time I see her, and going to invite her to several drinks of her choice. This is going to be worth every Swiss franc I am going to spend.


That question hasn’t taken long to answer itself:


I really wish you wouldn’t. Because you’re not wrong, we’ve been watching this same argument play out for the last few weeks on my partner’s facebook feed. Half of everyone was like “how can you not vote? Are you crazy? If you don’t want Le Pen you have to vote for Macron!” and the other half was all like “fuck you! I don’t have to do what you tell me! Democracy means I make my own decisions!” The abstainers I know personally are young, idealistic, and let’s say it: a bit stupid, or at least naïve.

So you’re not wrong, but you are exaggerating and overstating. To wit:

In a France of 100 people, Le Pen doesn’t have 30 votes. She has 33% of the countable votes, which is about 22 people. She doesn’t need a 6 person swing, she needs to roughly double her vote with an extra 23 people. So your gross simplification overstates the problem by close to 400%, which also feels like as good a figure as any for the level of hyperbole in your less measurable statements.


That’s only true to the degree that there is uncertainty about the election result. And yeah, there’s always some uncertainty; the bookies were still giving Le Pen as much as a 6% chance of winning the day before the final vote, and had I had the right to vote that would have been 6% too much for me too feel confident about not making best use of my ballot. But I do think you’re failing to appreciate that French voters have been much better informed than their American and British counterparts, because the quality of information available to them was of a much better standard.

I said it before but I’ll hammer on it again: Every opinion poll published in France must be submitted to an independent commission along with complete details on the dataset and methodology. They are accurate and they can be trusted. For contrast I’ll give you this CNN presidential election poll, where if you scroll past page 20 you’ll see that they’ve completely failed to accurately represent the 18-34 demographic. If you published that in France you’d have to pay a fine and publish a retraction.

And the failures of American and British polling weren’t random, they were systematic and weaponised. This article posted by @Papasan in another thread is a fantastic read:

Cambridge Analytica worked on campaigns in several key states for a Republican political action committee. Its key objective, according to a memo the Observer has seen, was “voter disengagement” and “to persuade Democrat voters to stay at home”

I remember going to bed confident that I was going to wake up to another President Clinton, and I remember feeling the same way in the run-up to Brexit. I think a lot of American and British voters thought they could afford to stay home or otherwise protest, and they got fucked over and fucked the rest of us over too. By comparison, a lot of French voters knew they could afford to protest the vote, and they got what they wanted and it was fine. And yeah, it was a move that scared a lot of people like you and me, but that was the point.

When I first turned up in France, I was similarly cynical about politics based on my experiences in my own country. And French politics does have serious representational problems; the voting system is just plain weird, it’ll be a while I think before France is ready for a Muslim candidate, and the 44% voter turnout in French Guiana is hardly surprising given the whole department had to go on a general strike just to get any candidates to acknowledge their existence. But all the bullshit you see going on in politics that makes you think, “that shouldn’t be legal”? It turns out in France, a lot of it isn’t. It doesn’t surprise me that it was the generation of facebook users, where regulation hasn’t yet kept pace with modern disinformation techniques, where voter turnout took a dive. But it also won’t surprise me if in another five years that forum is better regulated here.

Basically I think you can either continue to play pin-the-facism-on-the-abstainers, or you can take an interest in the differences between French and anglophone politics, maybe even in the hope that similar protections could be implemented in your own electoral system. It’s up to you.


Thanks for the long and considerate reaction.

Language is a bit ambiguous, and my simplification was gross, I know.
I, of course, am aware of the problems you mention. I’m not a good Bayesian, and I don’t have the focus right now to formalise a proper representation of the odds. But I am not that far off, I think. I hope you know where I am coming from. The “bullying” accusations and the hirnrissige allegation that arguing for voting actively against Le Pen by voting for Macron as means to prevent a neo-fascist makes one the true enabler of racism are just too weird for me not to try and go for a two-hour goat problem.



This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.