This might be of interest to some people since the concept of red states and blue states is interesting about the United States. (Probably there are interesting political regions in the United Kingdom as well but apart from Scotland, we don't get all that much information about them.) This map shows what the polls say about France according to the 12 official regions of metropolitan France. If you don't recognise all of the regional names, it is because there was a reorganisation last year to make fewer regions for supposedly greater efficiency. (Just as an example, Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne were merged into "Grand Est.")
Though the US did that weird flip with the colours - red indicating more rightwing, not more left as everywhere else. It is scary seeing all the regions, mostly eastwards, in the dark grey of lepenism.
I figured out what the original Fillon poster said, though I hadn't seen any here. In Montréal, I've only seen posters for Macron and Mélenchon. Oh, there are some Le Pen supporters here, but they don't poster in public - the posters would be defaced immediately - "dirty immigrant" is an obvious insult for anti-immigrant immigrants, and there are always the Hitler moustaches...
The bigger the regions get, the less accurate those readings are. In our regional elections last year, Midi-Pyrénées (the area including Toulouse) had a high FN score because of the Languedoc-Roussillon voters that had been added to make "Occitanie". Everyone was so shocked that the turnout for the second round went up and a Socialist woman was elected as head of the regional council.
And Aquitaine was one of the rare regions that stayed Socialist last year, but given that it contains Bordeaux, whose mayor is Alan Juppé, for much of its population, I'd be surprised that Mélenchon would be ahead.
Besides, all those numbers are statistically insignificant, or "within the margin of error". Except for the southeast, where the National Front really does have a lot of support.
The complete and precise breakdown is always more interesting, but of course it is meaningless to casual observers, just like when a U.S. state like Iowa for example is presented as a 'red' state but somebody says, "but Des Moines is a hotbed of 'blue'" (I am just writing this at random since I have no idea.) When I look at the map I just posted, I see that I am in the only region that supports Fillon although Paris is one of the most leftist cities in France now overall. At the same time, western Paris votes up to 70% for the right wing (but not Le Pen) and eastern Paris votes up to 70% for the Socialists. So the interesting breakdown, at least for us locals, is the one by legislative district.
The most interesting thing missing from the map is the colour pink, which is used for the Socialist Party. Obviously, poor Benoît Hamon is so far behind that there is not a single region in pink but I am sure that a more precise map would have a few very rare areas of pink where the Socialist party dominates -- probably also some places in overseas France where the vote swings wildly because a lot of people will vote for the person their leaders say to vote for, because metropolitan France is so far away that the general public knows absolutely nothing about the politics. The information is of course available, but it makes practically no difference to the residents' daily lives -- or so they believe. Places like Mayotte or Wallis & Futuna will regularly give almost 90% of the vote to one side or the other.
So what I will be curious to see is for whom my own 'pink' district will vote. I am 95% certain that Hamon will not be on top since our local political baron (a Socialist and former Minister of the Interior) has come out for Macron, but I have no idea if the district will vote for Macron or Mélenchon.
It is really quite interesting to have new blood on the political scene.
The expat vote in Montréal (and Québec in general, but most live here) used to be right wing (in the sense of conservative, Gaullist, not FN) but now it tilts well to the left. Different type of French immigrants. They are well-informed though.
I find it extraordinary that Melenchon is on the level of Fillion ! One guy who should have won 2 fingers in the nose as head of the Right, and one guy who is a troublemaker...
Last month Jean-Luc Mélenchon was invited at the Institut de Relations Internationale et Stratégiques. He gave a long lecture of 1 hour on his project in matter of defense. The audience gave him standing ovation at the end of his speech.
another time he was invited at the "Mardi de l'ESSEC" (Prestigious business school) for a debate with students. The debate (2 hours) was of a very high quality, with an audience who is generally closer to the right.
At least France is taking seriously the fact that office-holders might be thieves and liars.
I hope to heck that France doesn't adopt a version of the red state/blue state way of labeling regions. For one thing, it's only viable in the US because of our asinine electoral college system. And it leads to simplistically thinking some places are "good" and others hotbeds of knuckle-dragging products of incest.
I too hope that these Fillon & le Pen money scandals will finally make the French demand more transparency and honesty from their politicians. Stop giving them a free ride and accepting that whatever they do is okay because it's their "personal" business.
I read through all the candidates' leaflets yesterday and sat through 2 and 1/2 hours of interviews last night (I gave up before the end). Interesting that so many of them now say that blank votes should be counted (until now they haven't been where in fact they are a protest vote), saying that politicians shouldn't be able to run for the same position more than twice, not have relatives working for them, etc. Things that seem perfectly obvious but that have been going on for years.
I have followed his thread diligently, inquired , sought out different sites for a basic understanding of the French political system and well, while I admit to not having much political savvy, remain confused. No need for anyone to have to give me a tutorial, I am working on it on my own and my husband has been helpful in trying to explain it to the best of his ability.
It seems so f'n complicated and makes me wonder how the general population of eligible voters go about choosing their candidate of choice. The red and blue here in the US which used to be much more predictable and accurate no longer remains. The US South used to be more Democratic, "Dixiecrats", (also now blurred a term as evidenced by Clinton vs. Sanders) and the red states that once fiercely held on, there's no telling). I can cite numerous states that were hot beds of conservatism and others much more to the left (Wisconsin, a case in point). There is no more left and right per say save the minute and brief hope that Sanders might have had a chance at had not the "Democratic" party "thrown him under the bus". Sigh.... Add to it the conflict of having a Democratic governor, a Republican Senator, and in the case of New Orleans, a Democratic Mayor. The result already in evidence, a cluster F of ideologies and before you know it their terms have expired and nothing ever seems to get done. (add to that the City Council and the power that they wield).
Being able to vote for the candidate you really believed in used to be one of the best things about French politics until 21 April 2002. That year, the very popular Prime Minister Lionel Jospin was supposed to be the shoo-in for the second round because Chirac was getting old and tired. Unfortunately, there were 16 candidates that year (compared to 11 this year) -- 3 far left, 5 left, 2 centrists, 4 traditional right and 2 far right. To make a long story short, President Chirac came in first with 19.88%, Jean-Marie Le Pen was second with 16.86% and Lionel Jospin was third with 16.18%.
If you add up "normal right" and "normal left" those groups would have had 29.21% (right) vs. 32.35% (left) in the first round and the election would have run its traditional course rather than having the ugly Le Pen monster in the second round.
So ever since then, the left has been very afraid of it happening again which led to the creation of the "useful" vote -- this means that you vote in the first round for the person you want to win in the second round even though you prefer somebody else in the first round. That is what allowed Hollande to win in 2012. And this year, the right also feels the need to cast a "useful" vote because it is their only chance (now very slim) to see Fillon in the second round.
In my own opinion, the two round system was excellent in the past but it no longer works because it is too easy to qualify to be a candidate. For future elections, it is nearly certain that the rules will be tightened to ensure that there are fewer candidates -- at least twice as difficult if not more. In this particular election (2017), three of the candidates are frankly weird and a couple of others are borderline. All they really do is pollute the campaign and waste time and money. But at the same time, that is exactly how the Front National was viewed 30 years ago when it got 2 or 3% of the vote, so should it have been snuffed out or is it a valid expression of political opinion? The answer is not simple.
I think it would be interesting if the United States had a run-off election system with more than two parties in more places and not just in a few states and districts.
One interesting comment I heard tonight from an Indian journalist who went to some Marine Le Pen rallies (where she felt very out of place) was the large number of young people there. She figured that they had very little knowledge of the ugly history of the National Front and just went along with the demagogy and oratory of Marine le Pen.
Among my friends, the split is between Mélenchon and Macron, although today we were discussing that what happened to Hamon was unfair, even though he had no chance of winning. Although the "tests" have shown that I should be supporting Mélenchon, the reason that I support Macron instead is very simple -- I am a total and absolute supporter of the European Union even though it is not perfect. I have seen over the years all of the benefits that it has brought to France and the other countries, the power that the EU bloc has attained facing the rest of the world, and I think the euro currency and the Schengen agreement are the best inventions since buttered bread -- an absolute and total ensurance that countries will work together rather than being rivals. Improvements are needed but destroying the system would be absolute folly.
As a totally non political aside, I had to smile when I read the back story about how Emmanuel Macron's wife (24 years older than him) heard about his existence the first time. He was in the same class as one of her daughters, and her daughter came home one day and told her "There is a totally crazy boy in my class! He knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING!"
I am mazed at how many of my friends still hesitate to vote for Fillion. These rightists want to vote for the right, even if it means they support a liar and a thief. Strange. My other friends all vote Macron it seems, with only a few ones hesitating with Mélenchon (as you said K, the vote of the heart). Mélecnhon for me is an old system abuser and knows nothing about economics - did you read his program - the guy is still referreing to Keynes ! A system that has been proven totally inapplicable in a open market. So yes, he had better reinstall borders and forbid all imports if he wants to succeed - economically. Maybe he'll reopen the coalmines. Would certainly create jobs.
My friend in Guatemala is voting for Mélenchon, which doesn't surprise me because we are all part of a group that used to vote for the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste. I am the person in the group who has moved the most "to the right," something of which I am not particularly proud because it has to do with lost ideals/illusions.
Voting takes place tomorrow in the polling stations of the Western Hemisphere. My friend is in charge of the polling station at the embassy (which I assume is the only one in the country).
The problem is, I agree with you about conserving the European Union despite all its flaws (lack of democracy, neoliberalism, at times absurd bureaucracy) for Göttingen reasons (Barbara) but my strongest memory of Macron is "la loi Macron" - legislation against workers' rights. Glad I don't have to vote in it. I have friends who are Socialist Party stalwarts and another who was in the LCR, and I've maid a point of NOT asking them whom they are voting for.
And of course the Keynesian approach is no longer fully adequate in today's world, but why do workers always have to get the shit end of the stick? There has been a huge increase in the differential between earnings of upper management and workers. Nobody is asking for the same remuneration for brain surgeons and cleaners, but people have to be able to live decently from their work, in affluent societies. That increasing differential is fuelling a lot of populism.
Actually, that work law that unions were so against is La loi el Khomri and not la loi Macron.
As for the Loi Macron from 2015, given the few articles I just looked up, it is seen more as a "kick in the anthill" to show that reforms can be made. It implemented long-distance buses, thus breaking the SNCF's monopoly on transportation. Also allowed the opening of more stores on Sundays. Although the Catholics and the unions (mostly on the left!) were against Sunday openings, I have noticed at my local supermarket, which is now open on Sunday mornings, that all the clerks and cashiers are students. I talk to them if I go to buy something and they all said they were happy to get jobs, even if it leaves them less time to rest. And for those people who work long hours all week, they don't have to go necessarily on Saturdays. Paris may have lots of places open late, but that is not the case in much of the rest of the country.
Of course, the stores which agreed to Sunday openings thought that they would earn much more money, but it seems obvious to me that if people have a set amount of money to spend, they will just spend it over different days, not go buying more just because they can do so on a Sunday.
But given the number of people I have seen shopping for food, lots of people do take advantage of Sunday openings.
It is interesting to note that FNAC is now open on Sundays in Paris, and it has always been a union hotbed. The employees earn triple salary on the 12 busiest Sundays of the year and double on the other Sundays. "Volunteers only" of course, but as we know that is always open to debate since employees often feel pressured to volunteer. Many of the other Sunday work agreements are similiar in terms of salary bonuses, though, which does imply that certain people will have more money to spend now than they did before, which should help some businesses. FNAC is also hiring 80 additional employees with CDI (permanent) contracts.
<I am the person in the group who has moved the most "to the right,>
Actually I'm the guy in the family who moved the most towards left - does it mean I'm getting illusioned ? But I'm only on the left when it comes to people, say like migrants etc and am still very well anchored in the right when it comes to economics - I just hate the way the left spends money. Since I pay a lot of taxes, I am fed up of being told by (some) people who contribute nothing for the country on how much they are going to (steal) take from my income in order to (please other parasites) redistribute it the way they want it (with some finding a way into their pockets). Now it is the same with Fillion, but in Belgium, socialism rhymes with clientelism.
So it gets more and more complicated for me to vote ;-) Heart on the left, wallet on the right, I guess it makes me a bobo.
Actually, it was incorrect, or rather incomplete, of me to say that I have moved to the right. My ideas have not moved to the right at all, but my vote has become less idealist. I didn't mind pissing away my vote to a candidate who would get only 1 or 2% of the vote in the past but after the fiasco of 2002 I (and a lot of other people) prefer to play it safer now.
I remain in complete admiration of the voters who have pulled up Mélenchon in the polls because it proves that with sufficient determination and intelligence, you really can convince more and more people -- and it gives Mélenchon a very real albeit slim chance in this election.
My friends and I don't mind saying political horrors to each other since we don't really mean them, so I said to one Mélenchon supporter "too bad that you are still mired in the dogmatisms of the 20th century!" I generally receive in return retorts about wanting to dismantle all social and employment protection so that capitalism can reign supreme.
Listening to Nathalie Arthaud (the Communist), and reading her leaflet, you get the impression that she has learned nothing from the history of the 20th century. Still the old, "The workers should take control of the factories. They are the ones who know how to run things." Mind you, Poutou was saying stuff like that too.
It didn't work anywhere, except in a few cases of small businesses, where the employees took over and invested a lot of time and money to make things work. It never worked on a national scale.
Well, I guess mine was one of those... I think I'd vote for Mélenchon if I were a French citizen, though I have the same problem with him as you do; he is too cocorico and in that sense echoes the old PCF and CGT.
But while I know socialism can be a cover for clientelism, at the same time I don't think there should be any poverty in wealthy countries. Preventing people from being "parasites" involves continuing education and retraining for workers who cannot find employment. But it would probably mean a shorter workweek, as technology makes more workers redundant.
I have a friend in Paris who is a teacher at a collège and who has finally secured a social housing flat in her arrondissement. There are many workers, even such highly-educated workers, who can't afford housing in many large cities now. Social housing wasn't designed for the "hard-core unemployed" (lumpenproletariat) but for workers.
And I shudder to think of people in the US who face medical bills they can never pay...