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  1. #1
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    Some news from France -

    The European elections are only a few weeks away and Macron is counting on a good result in the European elections on May 26 to re-boot his presidency. In the last week, the opinion polls for his La République en Marche (LREM) party and allies have taken a turn for the worse. Just after the Notre Dame fire and his marathon press conference to end his Great National Debate, the Macroniste “Renaissance” list of candidates was attracting 24 per cent of the vote, two to three points ahead of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN).

    In recent days, some tracking polls have showed RN leading by 0.5 or 1.5 points. Others now show the two lists neck and neck at around 22.5 per cent.

    In other words, with just over two weeks to go before the elections, Macron’s list is becalmed. There has been no Notre Dame boost and no electoral round of applause for Macron’s promised tax cuts and his other responses to the six months’ old Gilets Jaunes rebellion.

    Macron, we learn, blames everyone but himself. He blames the accident-prone Nathalie Loiseau, the former Europe Minister who is the head of his Renaissance list (combining LREM and two right and center parties). He blames ministers in his government for failing to sell his new tax-cutting and spending plans enthusiastically enough.

    Above all, he blames his own centrist, pro-EU, metropolitan electorate for being too complacent to grasp that this is not just another, “meaningless” European election. In his “letter” to the peoples of Europe in March, Macron declared the May 26th poll to be a vital battle in a struggle between resurgent nationalism and his plans for a more “protective” and coherent European Union.

    Some of his ideas - a European “climate” bank, an EU tax on high tech companies - were recycled in the Macron’s Renaissance list manifesto this week.

    On the complacency point, Macron may be right. The fall in LREM/Macronist support coincides with a dip in the number of voters who say that they will definitely cast a ballot on May 26.

    As things stand only 40 per cent of French voters plan to turn out, compared to 44 per cent in the last European elections in 2014 and 74.5 per cent in the presidential elections two years ago.

    Macron started banging the drum for this election as an important referendum on the future of Europe last November, just before the Gilets Jaunes protests exploded. This was always a hostage to fortune.

    After 40 years of European elections, it remains impossible to convince large numbers of voters in most EU countries that a) The European Parliament has become an important force and b) the five yearly elections should be decided on European issues.

    Bizarrely, the only EU country in which the EU will be the main focus of the European elections this month will be Britain. <g>

    Macron’s failure to fire up pro-European, centrist voters is partly his own fault. He came to power two years ago promising to bring fresh ideas and renewed energy to the EU project.

    He failed to persuade Germany to back his ideas for post-Brexit relaunch of the EU. He failed to create a coalition of other EU countries to back his plans for a Eurozone government or a more protective – some say protectionist – approach to trade, investment and strategic European industries.

    In any case, Macron is guilty of sending out mixed messages. He says that the issues are European. Marine Le Pen says the election is a “referendum” on Macron Act II. She is right. Macron has also “nationalized” the European vote. He desperately needs a good result after six months of Gilets Jaunes protests.

    Macron has ordered his ministers to become more active on the campaign trail in the next couple of weeks. There is talk of the President himself addressing a campaign rally, defying the convention that a President of the Republic should be above mid-term electoral politics.

    What would it mean if Marine Le Pen’s party topped the poll at the end of the month? Theoretically, not very much. She also “won” the 2014 European elections but was comprehensively rejected by the French electorate in the second round of the presidential elections three years later.

    Given the anti-Macron mood of much of the country, her own party’s performance in this European campaign has been limp and unthreatening. She has failed to make electoral gains from the Gilets Jaunes movement.

    The Rassemblement National has not surged in the polls. Macron’s LREM and its allies have fallen. All the other lists – 33 of them in all, centre-right, centre-left, hard-left, very hard left, hard-right, far-right, greens, yellow vests – are at various stages of nowhere.

    But this year is not a normal year. A defeat for the President on May 26, however narrow, would bolster claims by Gilets Jaunes and others that Macron is somehow an accidental and illegitimate president. It might re-ignite what appears to be a fading Yellow Vest rebellion.

    Even a narrow victory on May 26th will be presented as a Macron triumph after six months of street protests.
    PHM
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    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  2. #2
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    You've really done a lot of research. Do you think that as France goes, so goes Europe?
    Give me a relay with big enough contacts, and I'll run the world!

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  3. #3
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    It's not really so much research as it is just reading the French newspapers. I do note that when Notre-Dame burns in France it is all over US media - but when a flawed Socialist leader and his policies result in mass protests in France it is not mentioned in US media. <g>

    What I think I smell is the winds of a Nationalistic Conservatism blowing in the places where people still think. It does seem somewhat odd to me because it feels less like a rush to Conservatism than it does a mere rejection of Socialism.
    PHM
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    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  4. #4
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    I’m guessing their media is not interested in reporting facts just like our media.
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  5. #5
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    Something I notice a lot is that non-Americans are far more interested in what's going on in America than Americans are interested in what is going on in other countries. It seems that for the most part Americans just don't give a damn about anything But America. <g>

    I have seen American politicians on street posters in Paris. Sanders, Trump, and Clinton. Try to find a European politician's public picture here. <g>

    PHM
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazzycajun View Post
    I’m guessing their media is not interested in reporting facts just like our media.
    PHM
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    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodle Head Mikey View Post
    Something I notice a lot is that non-Americans are far more interested in what's going on in America than Americans are interested in what is going on in other countries. It seems that for the most part Americans just don't give a damn about anything But America. <g>

    I have seen American politicians on street posters in Paris. Sanders, Trump, and Clinton. Try to find a European politician's public picture here. <g>

    PHM
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    This has been my experience as well.

  8. #7
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    Popular news media like TV have become bag men for the drug companies. Much news is sidelined to make money. Americans have always been isolationists. Don't like or trust foreigners. The BBC does a better job with foreign issues.
    I think you're right about conservatism. It seems to be catching. A fear of course is that the Nazi's were a conservative movement and there seems to be a fear that it might catch on again. Three times in 120 years.

    If choosing between nationalistic conservatism or socialism reminds me of when offered the two horns of Bull of Dilemma, choose the third.
    Give me a relay with big enough contacts, and I'll run the world!

    You can be anything you want......As long as you don't suck at it.

    If a person wants to create a machine that will be more likely to fail...Make it complicated.

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  9. #8
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    There is a good reason for the dynamic described above, about Bernie Sanders on posters in Paris, and none of Macron in the US.

    The Europeans know that their current free existence as a people was a gift from US, bought at a terrible price of life and limb and treasure.

    They also know that we are the only real superpower left, and our current government is the only one who has ever taken a realistic look at China and her policies. Europeans know that their future is partially tied to ours, while ours, conversely, is not so much tied to theirs.

    I believe the Yellow Vest protests have awakened an innate sense of France remaining France, and not merely a home for millions of people who have come to France and are not willing to "become" French. The French people fear this, and their fear is justified.

    I will be surprised if Macron and his former teacher remain in power.
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