Monday, April 25, 2022


There's widespread agreement in the media: Marine Le Pen, who lost yesterday's French presidential election by 17 points, actually won.

Look, I get it: No far-rightist has ever done as well in the second round of a French presidential election as Le Pen did yesterday. She won 34% of the vote in the second round in 2017 and 41% this time. And yet:
By championing cost-of-living issues, befriending the working class, changing her party’s name and distancing herself from her father, Le Pen broadened her appeal and made herself less scary to growing swaths of France's electorate.
So she ran as Glenn Youngkin, sending two sets of messages, one of which was, in effect, I understand exactly why you might fear me and I want to reassure you that I'm not a monster. By contrast, America's neofascist, anti-Muslim Putin ally gave it to us uncut and undiluted, won in 2016, came within fewer than 50,000 votes of an Electoral College victory in 2020, and is the favorite to win (and win the popular vote this time) in 2024.

But let's imagine that the Democratic Party is in a stronger position in 2024. Let's imagine that Biden or another Democrat actually beats Trump or Ron DeSantis that year. If Le Pen lost by 17 and was declared the winner by the media, how big a victory would Biden or Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg need in order to be declared the real winner in 2024?

Our mainstream media embraces a culturally liberal, economically conservative, elitist-technocrat centrism in most things. Emmanuel Macron would seem like the ideal poster boy for that worldview. And yet not long after Macron was declared the winner last night, The New York Times was treating his win as not particularly important news.

It's as if the press wanted racist, fascist populism to triumph, because it would satisfy their own self-hate -- the same self-hate that led the Times and much of the rest of the media to beat their breasts after the 2016 election because they hadn't looked deep into the sould of Trump voters, who, of course, are not at all like them.

You don't have to love Emmanuel Macron to acknowledge that the line held and dangerous ideas were repudiated. A win is a win -- and by U.S. standards, this one wasn't close. So take the victory lap.

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