A man many accuse of arrogant loftiness, of being completely severed from those he lords over, issued an open letter this week addressed to the “Citizens of Europe,” as if the current year happened to be 1452.
Emmanuel Macron, default French president and paramour of the Financial Times, is currently battling months-long rolling protests to which working and middle-class citizens devote their weekends.
The Gilets Jaunes, seething at a churning French society in which they’ve been left behind, demand Macron’s resignation.
In response, Macron unveiled the Great National Debate, a series of town halls in which French citizens air their grievances. Most settle upon Macron himself, and his arrogance. Macron is “president for the rich.”
Such charges are not unfair. Macron, who refers to himself as a “Jupiterian” figure, and tells Frenchmen, unemployed and desperate, to “buy a new suit,” epitomizes all that is wrong with the French elite. And indeed, their London and Los Angeles brethren.
In that letter, published in every major European country, Macron decries Brexit, and maps out a new future for Europe. The magic solution? More lashings of the same noisome soup that voters across Europe and America ditched in 2016.
Macron’s barely concealed terror lays blame with “anger mongers” dusting the grazing herd with fake news, of which they are hopelessly seduced.
The opening paragraph’s self-inflation would puce even the cheeks of Nabokov.
“Citizens of Europe,” declares Macron, seemingly from a Renaissance palatial banquet, “if I am taking the liberty of addressing you directly, it is not only in the name of the history and values that unite us, but because time is of the essence. A few weeks from now the European elections will be decisive for the future of our continent.”
Those elections, set for May, should see one-third of all seats taken over by those pesky populists. Those people, those “authoritarians” who promise “anything and everything,” but seldom deliver.
Which is a cute charge to make. Macron promised a revolution. The French got another few years of elite misrule masquerading as meritocracy.
You see, Macron is the président par défaut. He won because his opponent’s surname was Le Pen. And the traditional two French parties hung themselves. A record number cast a ballot blanc—a vote for nobody.
Despite that, the Financial Times, et al., billed Macron as the populist antidote.
Desperate for a win, following President Trump’s own just months earlier, the global villagers’ Parisian chapter all converged on Project Macron. Even his creepy “seduction,” at 15, of his then 40-year old teacher, was lionized in the supplicant media as caddish exuberance—proof of his daring.
A relative unknown, he tiptoed around the cheese-melting French left and right, slipping into power. The numbers say it all: Macron’s base is the French elite, and their coat-tailers. Those outside the major cities backed Marine Le Pen.
It’s the same story in Great Britain, and America. Those happy with the status-quo plumped for Remain, and Hillary. Those devoured by unfettered globalization voted to Leave, and for Trump.
This befuddles the likes of Macron. But that trend is set to continue. Upcoming elections to the European Parliament, the specter within Macron’s letter, could see one-third of all seats fall to populists.
These populists, often if not always painted as dangerous and extremist by those with definably extremist views, tend to follow the Trumpian playbook—socially conservative, with economic moderation, and strong lines on immigration.
But to call them extremist is the biggest folly of all. If we check the numbers, most people, whether in Great Britain or the United States, tend to fall into this apparently radical majority. Those who’ve elected populist governments across Europe do too.
The real extremists are those who bandy around that word, casting it upon anyone with the gall to point out that three decades of neoliberalism have left the majority on the sidelines, whilse the economic elite rides the riches of unfettered globalization.
What I’ve previously called Red Tory, Americans might call Purple Dog—socially conservative, economically moderate.
Significantly, Purple Dogs form the dead center of the American electorate. Someone with political nous could corral this forgotten middle en route to a generation of dominance. If they wanted to. The GOP seems reluctant, to put it politely.
Indeed, the clamor of the middle has support from both sides. What Tucker Carlson espouses nightly, isn’t too far from the “authentically centrist agenda” forming Damon Linker’s recent piece in The Week.
Linker finds the true American middle trends along Republican social issues, with a moderate (or Democratic in the old sense) economic position. Indeed, this sweet spot resounds silently here, too.
It’s the same spot in which President Trump, the apparent extremist, planted his flag before winning the White House. The same spot where most Brexit voters find themselves.
It seems the real extremists, heaven forfend, are the open-borders globalists who spend most of their time decrying the majority’s temerity to call it quits on a game rigged against them. Who knew?
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