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France: Sulk or Swim

In a few days France’s version of Hillary Clinton, a bland young Rothschild investment banker named Emanuelle Macron faces off in a crucial presidential election against France’s lovely blonde fascist Marie Le Pen the daughter of an outright Nazi lover.

It’s a sexy election, literally.  Unprecedentally, the current socialist president Francois Hollande (Macron was his deputy) is ducking re-election due to a pile of women troubles. His long time mistress and mother of his four kids, Segelene Royal, a formidable politician in her own right, angrily split from pudgy Hollande when he brazenly took a new mistress into his palace while also chasing – on a moped!  – a young actress.  Oh, those hypersexualite French.

Meanwhile, “centrist” Macron – technocratic, pro Europe and indifferent to the immigrant suburbs, deaf like Hillary to blue collar workers – has the most intriguing marital setup.  As a 16 year-old student he fell in love with his 39 year-old drama teacher whose eldest daughter was also in Macron’s class. Despite fierce parental objections and vicious small town gossip, they’ve stayed married for 24 years, he now 39 she 64.  If that doesn’t get him the vote of mature women like Isabelle Huppert and Juliet Binoche then nothing will.

May 7’s spoiler is France’s Bernie, the egoistic, ex-Trotskyist Jean Luc Melanchon who, like Macron, seemed to “come out of nowhere” and in his case excite and galvanize youngsters.  He got a lot of votes, but not enough for the final round.  At the moment he is sulking in his tent by refusing to support either “liberal” Macron or fascist Le Pen.  The practical result is that about 1/5th of Melanchon’s resentfuls will probably go to the fascist who is angling for their votes, and many once-reliable left voters in the immigrant quarters, disgusted by broken promises, will also abstain.

(The German communists similarly shot themselves in the head – and paved Hitler’s way – by denouncing rival socialists as “social fascists”).

As in our own recent election formerly leftwing miners’ and factory towns voted for Le Pen.

This is the way to defeat fascism?

Sex aside, the 7th May presidential election (voting for the Assembly is in June) is a teaching moment for us here.

The question is, as it was for us in November, do we lay aside political principles – our virtue – to unite with ANYONE –to defeat a fascist?  My dream coalition can include pro-life women, evangelicals, second-thought racists and Limbaugh rednecks – the deplorables temporarily willing to join hands, gingerly, with us adorables if we drop our clannishness to make some sort of opening.

What’s wrong with promiscuous openness?

As we bitterly learned in November there were enough grumbling youth and anti-Hillary abstentions and pro-Bernies  paralyzed by rage to conceivably throw the election to Trump. We’ll never know.

Faced with a nightmare in the White House – the NYT keeps calling the little hitlers “right wing populists” – do you throw your biases out the window?  Or have the integrity to  follow that great American labor radical Gene Debs who advised,

“It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.”

Welcome, enemy.

 

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Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

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