Monday, January 30, 2017

Trump Needs Le Pen and Vice Versa

Benoît Hamon won the Socialist Party primary yesterday in France. He won 58% of the vote, clobbering the neoliberal Manuel Valls. Alissa Rubin reports in "Benoît Hamon Wins French Socialist Party’s Presidential Nomination":
Mr. Hamon strongly endorses a stimulus approach to improving the economy and has promised to phase in a universal income, which would especially help young people looking for work, but would also supplement the livelihood of low-paid French workers. The end goal would be to have everyone receive 750 euros per month (about $840).
With the Republican's François Fillon on the ropes over allegations that his wife received a lucrative no-show job, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Left Party gaining momentum, the first round of France's general election on April 23 is shaping up to be anybody's guess.

Fillon stands for greater austerity, and Emmanuel Macron, who abandoned the Socialist Party and the Hollande government last year to create a new political party En Marche!, is a peak neoliberal who is currently standing at number three in the opinion polls.

I suppose a scenario is possible where Fillon continues to bleed out and Macron qualifies for the second round. But what I am interested in is whether it is at all possible to imagine a leftist, whether Hamon or Mélenchon, moving on to round two. And I don't think it is. Hollande has done lasting damage to the Socialists, and in the West, there is no broad base of support for legitimate leftist political formations.

So it appears that it will be Fillon or Macron squaring off against Marine Le Pen of the National Front. I think she beats either one for the same reason Trump beat Hillary -- because s/he is the person who said s/he is going to protect voters' jobs and lifestyles.

Trump needs Le Pen at this point, and Le Pen needs Trump to avoid total self-destruction before the end of April. Announcing his immigration order without working first with the Department of Homeland Security created chaos. If Trump makes more decisions like this in the next three months, a Le Pen presidency might not seem worth the risk to a majority of French voters.


  1. I don't know much about French politics. The big question is how soiled Hamon is by centrist politics.

  2. He supports a universal basic income, which is about as far left as you can go nowadays in electoral politics. My sense is that the normal barrier to the National Front winning the presidency, namely, Socialists voting Republican in the runoff round, won't hold this time because Fillon is such an over-the-top champion of austerity that the working class will vote Le Pen. The same thing goes if it is Macron in the runoff. Macron was to the right of Hollande and advocated fulsomely for the El Khomri law.

    Everything changes of course if Trump blows up.

    I think it is going to be a bitter reckoning for those on the left, like b at MoA, who continue to see Trump as somehow squaring the circle. If and when no fly/safe zones become a reality that's when the tears should flow hot and heavy.