It’s great that Macron won. But it would be unwise to be complacent. If — as I suspect — we are at the beginning of a real seismic shift in our politics, mainly triggered by populist anger at the way the banks were bailed out in 2008 — then it will take more than the election of a technocratic centrist to stem the tide. As Roger Cohen puts it in today’s New York Times:
Now the hard part begins. For the first time in France, the far right took more than a third of the vote, a reflection of the anger in the country at lost jobs, failed immigrant integration and economic stagnation. Macron, who said he was aware of “the anger, the anxiety, the doubts” needs to address this social unease head-on by reviving a sense of possibility in France. Without change, Le Pen will continue to gain support.
Yep. Macron has, as of now, precisely zero MPs in parliament. This may change at the general election, but it would be extraordinary if a pop-up ‘movement’ (which is really what En Marché is) gained a majority in its first election. If he doesn’t succeed in making some significant changes which indicate that ruling elites have finally learned something from the neoliberal nightmare, then I’d bet on Le Pen making a better showing next time.