8 May 2017     home | more politics

Political impurity in a divided France and the United States

The media talks about the US as divided. The same has been said of France. It's president, Hollande, has a 9 percent approval rating. President Trump's as of two days ago is 42 percent. As of today, France has a new president-elect, Macron, who won with 66.1 percentof the vote. His opponent, Marine Le Pen, received 33.9 percent. Ms Le Pen describes it as a "historic result" — a new high for her movement and point of view. Parliamentary elections will happen in June and she says will lead an opposition of "patriots" against the "globalists."

The BBC's Lucy Williamson says:

Mr Macron's experience as economy minister has taught him that building cross-party consensus for each individual issue can be draining and dispiriting. Much will depend on whether his party can form a stable coalition.

A low turnout in yesterday's election, and a record number of spoiled or blank votes, according to the BBC, "showed disillusionment among many, particularly on the far left, at the choice they were given."

Macron is a former investment banker. His movement (rather than a political party) is described as centrist. Some on The left in the United States still detest Hillary Clinton for speaking to Goldman Sachs and for what could be called her political centrism.

Presidential politics in the US, unlike France, revolves around two opposing parties, each essentially a coalition that needs to be held together if its presidential candidate is to win. Macron needs a parliamentary coalition to govern effectively.

Some on the Left in the US are trashing compromise. Bill Maher this last week criticise those who the lesser of two evils concept, about being unable to tell the difference between an imperfect friend (Clinton) and a deadly enemy (Trump), about third party candidate Jill Stein describing the difference between Clinton and Trump as the difference between being death by gunshot wounds and death by strangulation. Maher was talking about those who reduce positions to a simplification they can handle: an evil side and their side. Someone commented:

Bill you're a corporate shill. lost all respect for you after this. hillary lost because she is the establishment, not because Russia or jill Stein. you arrogant dolt. she is basically a Republican.

AJ Vicens in Mother Jones writes that "Jean-Luc Melenchon — the left-wing populist who some have compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders — has called on his supporters to work against Macron's agenda."

We'll see whether Macron can build a good enough coalition to govern effectively. We'll see how well the Democrats come together for the Congressional elections in 2018.

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Copyright © 2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.