Monday, May 01, 2017

French Elections: Emmanuel Macron, a Disaster

To read the entire item, kindly click on this link:

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10299/macron-france-disaster

French Elections: Emmanuel Macron, a Disaster

...

Most of Macron's speeches are copies of the speeches Hollande made during his 2012 presidential campaign. What is known of Macron's positions on most subjects show that they are the same position Hollande had during the last months of his mandate.

Throughout the campaign, Macron virtually never spoke about the danger of Islamic terror; when he did, he used words even weaker than those used by Hollande. After the Champs Elysees attack on April 20, he said: "imponderable" events had occured, and they "will be part of the daily life of the French in the years to come". The next day, when asked what he would do to prevent other killings, he said that he could not "devise a plan to fight terrorism overnight".
...

Sometimes, he makes remarks so dismaying that even Hollande would not have said them. In Algeria, in the presence of the National Liberation Front representatives, an organization that came to power by terrorism and massacring hundreds of thousands of "harkis" (Algerians who had chosen France), he said that the French presence in Algeria was a "crime against humanity", and later promised to facilitate immigration from the Arab world and from Africa to France by preserving an "open and welcoming" France. He promised to facilitate the construction of mosques in France. He declared that "French culture does not exist " and that he has "never seen" French art.
...

Month after month, polls shows that the French population is anxious, angry, immensely disappointed with current French policies. François Hollande ends his term with a popularity rating close to zero. He was so rejected and discredited that he decided not to run again for the presidency.
The first round of the French presidential election took place in this context, and one could expect that the French population would reject everything that looks like François Hollande's policies and choose a new direction for the country.

That is not what happened; quite the opposite.

Benoit Hamon, the Socialist Party's candidate, suffered a disastrous blow and received a mere 6% of the vote. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a far-left candidate who left the Socialist Party a few years ago and who supported Hollande in 2012, received a much higher score: 19% of the vote. He is an admirer of Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. Immediately after the anti-Semitic Islamic attack in Saint Mandé, he claimed that "Jewish extremism is more dangerous than Islamic extremism". That statement did not hurt him.
...

The first explanation lies in the moderate right candidate's elimination. François Fillon had a credible and coherent program for the country's recovery, but he could hardly speak about it. His campaign was quickly engulfed in a fake jobs scandal. He presented himself as an impeccable candidate: he appeared not so impeccable. A book recently published revealed that the scandal was meticulously orchestrated from a "shadow Cabinet" in the Elysee Palace. Fillon was never able to recover from it. His excuses were weak and contradictory. He confirmed his weakness by announcing his unconditional support for Macron immediately after the first round results were published. For the first time in more than fifty years, the moderate right will not have a candidate in the second round of a French presidential election. Showing their own weakness, most of the moderate right leaders followed Fillon example and decided to support Macron.

The second explanation for Emmanuel Macron success lies in a very elaborate communication strategy.

Emmanuel Macron continuously benefited from François Hollande support and most of the last five years socialist ministers, but an allegedly neutral and apolitical political structure was created for him. It was called En marche! ("On the Move!"). The socialist ministers who joined him rallied On the Move!, and remained silent. Francois Hollande only announced his full support very late in the race. The communication strategy could work because Emmanuel Macron received the support of left-wing billionaires whom he helped when he was Minister of Economy, and who have close relations with the powers that be: Pierre Bergé, Xavier Niel and Patrick Drahi. These people also own most France's mainstream media and were able to carry out strong media campaigns in support of Macron. No candidate in the French presidential election history has been on the cover of so many magazines and newspapers. Emmanuel Macron also enjoys main French investment banks support: he is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, which trains all senior civil servants and almost all French politicians since it was established in 1945 and, before joining Francois Hollande, he had a career in a financial institution.

The third explanation for Emmanuel Macron's success is that the communication campaign in his favor has been largely devoid of any political content, just like On the Move. He was presented as a young man, embodying the "future", a "renewal", a "hope", a "change". For most of the campaign, Emmanuel Macron had no program. His program was only published on the internet six weeks before the election. The text is often meaningless. Fear is defined as a "daily anguish". It says that France must offer "opportunities" and Europe must be a "chance". Emmanuel Macron told socialists he is a socialist, then said that he is not a socialist at all when he addressed other audiences. Opinion polls have shown that many of those who voted for him in the first round were unaware of his proposals on any topic.

Those who designed Emmanuel Macron's campaign took a lot of inspiration from Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, and the result shows that they were right.
The result is also very distressing, because it shows that a massive communication campaign can be effective, even if it is full of empty words and seems to considers voters as idiots. Emmanuel Macron's campaign effectiveness is also due to the fact that in France, virtually no media is likely to contradict what is said in the mainstream media: the French economy is a very state-based economy in which creating and sustaining media independence from the government and from government subsidies is almost impossible.

The second round of the French presidential election will take place on May 7. Emmanuel Macron will face the only remaining candidate, populist Marine Le Pen.

During the entire campaign, she was almost the only one to speak clearly about the Islamic terrorist threat (François Fillon did, too, but more discreetly) and to offer credible solutions to fight it. She was the only one to speak of the rise of radical Islam in France and to denounce the Muslim Brotherhood gathering at Le Bourget. She was the only one to stress the increasing perils resulting from uncontrolled immigration, and the risk of French culture disappearing. She was also the only one to mention the demographic change that occurs in France and in Europe because of the new migrants. She was the only one to denounce the Islamic anti-Semitism that relentlessly kills Jews in France. Unfortunately, she has a nearly Marxist economic program, close to that of Jean Luc Melenchon. She is the leader of the National Front, a party founded by her father, an anti-Semite, Jean-Marie Le Pen; although she has excluded her father and virtually all her father's anti-Semitic friends from the National Front, she is nonetheless the party leader and is regarded as her father's daughter.

...