France held an election over the weekend. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen came out on top, and will face each other in a runoff on May 7th.
Current polling puts Macron over Le Pen, 62-38. But a SkyNews reporter cautions: there is no certainty.
We in America have reason to respect that cautionary note. Our last election was an upset against the establishment candidate in favor of a wild card often dubbed “far right” and even “fascist” — which is precisely what Ms. Le Pen is being called.
Indeed, pitting a Big Government “centrist” (Macron) against an anti-immigrant protectionist (Le Pen) in the context of an economic slump and rising terrorism, and with neither candidate having much contact with limited-government principle, eerily echoes the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
But, on closer inspection, the parallels between the American and French contests appear inexact. Macron’s En Marche ! party* was created just over a year ago, while Le Pen’s National Front has continually found itself on the margins of power, despite its rise in popularity.**
Still, it is hard not to suspect that Ms. Le Pen could come from behind to upset the status quo. Macron is not invulnerable. The man worked, after all, in Hollande’s government, and Le Pen has characterized him as a socialist in a snazzy suit.
Macron is way ahead in the polls. And TV experts talk about how reliable modern polling is, while we in America . . . snicker.
But, since France lacks an Electoral College, can Le Pen really “Trump” the odds?
France will be in for a bumpy fortnight.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Amusingly, the party’s initials are identical to those of its founder, Emmanuel Macron. “En Marche !” (the extra space is there in party material) translates into English as “Forward!” or “On the Move!” and is formally designated as the Association pour le renouvellement de la vie politique (the Association for the Renewal of Politics).
** All the established, formerly governing parties are on the outs.