On Sunday evening, the vote tally in France had Emmanuel Macron up by about 30 points over Marine Le Pen, an even bigger gap than suggested by the last-minute polls a couple of days ago. With most of the votes counted, Macron is cruising to a super-majority victory with over 65% of the total, to Le Pen’s 34.5%.
I’m surprised by the spread, if not by the result. It’s hard to say if the strikingly pattern-ish “massive hacking” story that burst on Friday had anything to do with it. Macron’s campaign emails were reportedly hacked, and a 9-gig trove of them released by an anonymous source via a pastebin site. Once again, we are supposed to believe that Russians working for Putin did this, because the perpetrators decorated their work with (I am not making this up here) throbbing neon evidence in Cyrillic characters.
Yes, the Russians are psycho, diabolical, the world’s smartest hackers, and yet so blitheringly moronic that they go around typing things in Cyrillic into the metadata of altered documents, so we’ll be sure to know it’s them.
— Matthieu Suiche (@msuiche) May 6, 2017
For what it’s worth, it appears that the Macron campaign emails were not actually hacked. As with John Podesta and the DCCC emails in 2016, a person with an account on their system responded to a phishing probe, which allowed a malicious intrusion into the system. That doesn’t mean anything one way or another about who was behind the data theft, but it’s at least a cautionary point for all of us. Be careful what you’re doing with emails.
It will be of some mild interest to see if the French authorities really do anything more with the Macron email dump. In the U.S., you may recall, the story that it was definitely the Russians who nabbed thousands of Democratic emails has fallen apart. No one can quite say where we are in investigating it, but the absence of verifiable facts in the case has been the most notable thing about it. Maybe the French will come up with more.
But I won’t be surprised if it all goes nowhere. With Macron elected, the incentive to keep the “Russia hacked the election” theme going doesn’t exist in France.
I knew already that I would be somewhat depressed by the outcome of the French election, because neither candidate would have been my preferred choice. So there isn’t that much to say now. I would have been concerned, if Le Pen won, that some of her supporters would start behaving themselves badly. That was a real concern. But I am equally concerned that parlor progressivism feels itself empowered by the Macron win, and will double down in the coming days on its agenda list, to the justifiable anger of a weary and overburdened working class.
There is no comfort to be taken from the Macron win. It’s not a way of shoring up the status quo. It’s a way of keeping blinders on and pretending that the course of “EU-ism” can continue unchanged.
Nothing is holding it together now. The people can vote all they want, but there is no hard structure left to collapse. There is only wishing for something that isn’t there. Economically, demographically, politically, even in terms of kinetic military factors – everything is a house of cards waiting for a breeze to knock it down.
There are Europeans still ready to defend their civilization against deconstruction: the deconstruction of transnationalism and progressive ideology. But organized how? And for what goals?
Germany may not be helping us find out anytime soon. In a state election in Schleswig-Holstein this weekend, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union emerged a much bigger winner than expected, with 33% of the vote. Fans of the EU are taking comfort from that as well as the French vote, hoping it means strength for a Merkel-type policy stance going into the German national election in September.
The big loser in the German state election was the Social Democrats; i.e., the other main party (which nevertheless came in second). In brief, the Christian Democrats got more of the “centrist” vote than expected, instead of splitting it more evenly with the Social Democrats, as earlier polling had suggested.
I do find that interesting. A big electoral loss for the center-left echoes the result in the French first round two weeks ago, when the Socialist Party candidate barely registered. It’s a continuing pattern of exhaustion with the center-left – something we also saw in the U.S. during our primary season, when Bernie Sanders had so much more interest and momentum than Hillary Clinton.
When people look back on 2017, they will realize how foolish it was to rejoice complacently that a rather strange 39-year-old whom no one had heard of only a year before won the presidential election in France. The fact that he could ascend so quickly and pull off this win is itself a klaxon sounding a great warning. This is an unbalanced situation. As Le Pen’s would have been, Macron’s win is the opposite of reassuring.