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January 27, 2020

How the left lays the ground for Le Pen

Eric Le Boucher has a disturbing analysis in L'Opinion where he warns that the French left could well deliver a coup against Emmanuel Macron, should he end up face to face with Marine Le Pen in the second round of the 2022 presidential election. The far left and important sections of the left are laying the ground for abstention in the second round, accepting a president Le Pen as the lesser evil. 

The hatred of Macron is unbelievable. They call him the president of the rich and of the right, an authoritarian, even a fascist. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who still hesitated in 2017, is now converging with his followers towards Marine Le Pen. United in their no to the pension reform, a German Europe and green capitalism, the two leaders have more and more similarities. This includes including anti-semitism, very similar to what happened in the left in the UK. Then there is Ségolène Royal, the 2007 presidential candidate. Macron recently dismissed her as his ambassador to the North and South Poles after her public criticism of his pension reform. She might come back to run again. Left-leaning media outlets also realised that heating up the public debate will sell more papers and subscriptions. This is similar to what happened with Donald Trump. 

The goal is not to negotiate reforms or even to keep their acquired advantages. They already obtained many but refuse to acknowledge them. No, the goal is to spread hatred and demolish the public figure of Emmanuel Macron. Macron is seen as an authoritarian populist from the centre who plays high-risk games with clearly-defined adversaries. He got himself into power as the outside candidate against the corrupt and morose establishment. In the European elections he targeted Orbán as the evil only he could prevent. By doing so he divided the political perception into virtuous and immoral opponents, where clearly he is part of the virtuous. But this simplification can also turn against him as people resent this narrowing down of complex choices. Not everything can be portrayed like a second-round presidential election where you have the choice only between two final candidates. From our anecdotal evidence we are also astonished to see that even people in the centre seem to have had enough of Macron. 

The far-left preparation for abstaining and for Le Pen in power follows a cynical calculation. A powerless and divided left will be able to effortlessly recover under Le Pen. Having Le Pen as president, it will be much easier for the left to raise its profile rather than to get lost in the details of Macron's pension reform with all its significant concessions. Like Macron the left is taking a huge bet on how to portray the world in black and white.

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January 27, 2020

Project Fear - Irish Edition

The Irish election campaign is entering a crucial week. Will we see another example of how Project Fear fails to deliver on election day? One of the main lines of attack from the Fine Gael government is to pin Fianna Fáil down for its poor economic record. After all they were in charge when the financial crisis kicked off. But the polls suggest that Fine Gael is trailing behind Fianna Fáil. Fine Gael plans to double down on its claims. And Fianna Fáil is getting ready for what they call project fear on steroids. They will counter this with an emphasis on quality-of-life issues, such as health and housing, and will question what Fine Gael has done with the fruits of the expanding economy, writes the Irish Times. There will also be a large contingent of people who are likely to vote for neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin is well on track to win a significant share among those. However, none of the two main parties is ready to enter a coalition with them. At least this is the narrative for now.

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