As everyone knows, the second round of French elections yesterday put Emmanuel Macron in the Elysee Palace as the President, replacing socialist Francois Hollande. Hollande was a decent man, and tempered his socialist views when in office. But that’s not the news or opinion that matters, it’s the defeat of Macron’s rival, Marine Le Pen of the French National Front, that is significant.
In the first round election, two weeks ago, those two emerged as the largest vote-getters, eliminating Melenchon and Fillon, who represented the socialist wing and the establishment, respectively. The important news for centrists, is that Macron was their candidate. Had Le Pen, a fairly extreme nationalist won, France might have followed Britain in exiting from the Euro economy, and that could well have been the death knell of that important coalition/organization. And the victory was substantial, a 2 to 1 victory; in the U.S. a candidate with that kind of margin would declare “an incredible and never-before mandate!”
Macron has his work cut out for him, with the country’s economic malaise, youth unemployment, over-regulation, non-assimilation of immigrants, and a host of smaller problems. His youth and inexperience will not help him, and we wish him well in his endeavors. But again, the important thing for us, is that after Brexit, after the Trump election, after the rise of nationalist parties in Hungary, Greece, and elsewhere, after Putin’s nationalist hold on Russia, a center party was able to win, and win significantly. Just as socialists in one country applaud the victory of socialists in another, nationalists in one feeling strengthened by the victory of nationalists in another, we centrists (assuming you are with me), should feel both relief at Macron’s victory, and increased hope that our views can prevail here in the United States of America.