Monday, April 24, 2017

A Neoliberal Rebirth? How About a Web Editor Who "Danced Alone Long After the Crowds Have Left"

There is so much self-congratulation in the mainstream media today regarding Emmanuel Macron's top finish in the first round of the French presidential vote that populism is being declared dead. This takes real chutzpah and contradicts much of the reporting in the prestige press. Macron won by a couple of points; his brand of neoliberalism was not fulsomely endorsed.

The big takeaways from both the Adam Nossiter and Alissa Rubin stories were 1) the established parties absolutely cratered for the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic (this is a misleading aspect of the reporting because Macron's En Marche! was the same old soda pop just in a different can), and 2) lesser-evil voting was the bedrock of Macron's support -- not a renaissance of faith in the neoliberal center.

Alissa Rubin is one of the Gray Lady's better reporters. Like Tim Arango and David Kirkpatrick, she toils for the flagship publication of the U.S. deep state, but she does so in such a way that at least the reader can perceive cracks of daylight. In her story on the election yesterday she includes some wonderful quotes:
Although Ms. Le Pen has younger, more high-tech voters, she also represents the France that feels left behind: the workers whose jobs have moved to cheaper countries, such as those in Eastern Europe and Asia.
She represents young people who have to go to work early in life to help support their families, and who do not have the advanced degrees that afford them a good income. And she represents people who feel threatened by the immigrants thronging to Europe.
“Marine will fight for the young people — for their future, for their freedom, for their job, for their family,” said Aurore Lahondes, a resident of the central-west city of Angers. She called Mr. Macron, a onetime investment banker at Rothschild & Company, “the candidate who is the most far away from the people.”
“He is the candidate of the financial part of the world,” Ms. Lahondes, 19, said in an interview at a bar that had been rented out by the local National Front federation. “He is the candidate of the European Union.”
Mr. Macron represents a more educated and cosmopolitan France. His voters are not all privileged by any means, but they believe that looking beyond the country’s borders will enrich them in every way, economically and culturally. Mr. Macron’s challenge will be to convince more of the French that globalism has as many rewards as it does costs.
Globalism has positive effects, but it also increases precariousness and inequalities,” said Thomas Guénolé, a political-science professor at Sciences Po.
In the meantime, Mr. Macron appears to have been in the right place at the right time, with mainstream candidates falling on either side and a far-right candidate whom many in France cannot imagine having represent the country.
That does not mean that people favor him, but rather that he was the “least worst” vote: an especially weak position for a candidate with no real party base behind him.
“I chose a ‘useful vote’ for the first round, and it really breaks my heart — it’s the first time I’m doing this,” said Monica Craignou, 40, who works in digital development in Paris.
Others saw in Mr. Macron the possibility for France to keep up with global changes. “We need someone young,” said Karine Filhoulaud, a 45-year-old web editor, who was at Mr. Macron’s victory party and danced alone long after the crowds had left. “He lives the transition: the environmental one, the digital one, the societal one.”
What a terrific way to end Rubin's piece. All the adulation for the reborn neoliberal center is reduced to a web editor dancing alone long after the crowds have left.

No comments:

Post a Comment