Initial reports from France are that Emmanuel Macron has decisively beaten Marine Le Pen in the presidential election. The French newscast we’re watching estimates that Macron will end up with around 65 percent of the vote.
This isn’t quite the shellacking Le Pen’s father experienced in the 2002 run-off. That year, Jacques Chirac defeating Jean-Marie Le Pen by a count of 82-18.
However, Marine Le Pen’s showing is still poor. For one thing, her opponent — an upstart pseudo-centrist — was not formidable. For another, France has experienced 15 years of mostly decline since the 2002, and its immigration policy — the major issue for both Jean-Marie and Marine Le Pen — has been exposed as potentially ruinous.
Marine Le Pen failed to capitalize. She avoided the worst excesses of her father’s campaigns — the overt racism and anti-Semitism. However, she committed excesses of her own.
For me, the most notable one was her flirtation with Vladimir Putin. Aligning with the evil empire Russia seeks to become is a terrible idea in its own right. It can also be viewed as a window into Marine Le Pen’s soul and a stand-in for much of what was abhorrent about her father.
I don’t regret the outcome of the run-off. Not at all. I do regret that Francois Fillon, who had the makings of a solid conservative president, derailed his excellent prospects through personal failings.
UPDATE: It looks like the final count will be Macron 66, Le Pen 34. Can two out of three “Frenchmen” be wrong? Absolutely. Are two out of three “Frenchmen” wrong this time? I don’t think so.