The 2017 French Election: A Foreigner's Guide
Here is a list of our 11 candidates, in alphabetical order.
Nathalie Arthaud : revolutionary left. Teacher of economics. She has no program because she doesn’t want to govern: all she wants is a worker’s revolution.
François Asselineau : wants the Frexit. Can quote you by heart any article of the EU treaties. Has no other program because everything else can wait until we are sovereign. Right-wing complotist.
Jacques Cheminade : weirdo. No one knows how he got here. Wants to go to space. Left-wing complotist.
Nicolas Dupont-Aignant : right-wing. Wants the Frexit. Kind of whiny.
François Fillon : catholic homophobic misogynist right-wing. Spreads fear about terrorism and islam to progress. Wants to be friends with Putin. Currently involved in many affairs (fictively employed his whole family, has strangely generous friends, is paid by private companies) and even has a lawsuit against him. Needs to give back the money.
Benoît Hamon : left-wing socialist. Couldn’t find his place in the election because his program is too similar to Mélenchon’s (except for international policy) but the majority of his party abandoned him for Macron. Used to advocate for a basic income but has reduced his proposal to a kind of welfare. Girls tend to find him cute.
Jean Lassalle : terrible South-West accent. Rural centrist. You gotta laugh at him.
Marine Le Pen : extreme right. Xenophobic and islamophobic. Has tried to freshen her image by pretending to have a social policy and to like Jews and homosexuals. Frighteningly, it has worked somewhat. Also has a lawsuit against her for fictive employment in the European Parliament. Shark smile. Pals with Putin. Goes to nazi balls. Many skinhead friends.
Emmanuel Macron : neoliberalist ex-banker. Tries to present himself as a “revolution” or renewal in French politics even though he’s the heir of current president Hollande and was his minister of Economics and passed awful laws. Nobody knew him a year ago but all the mainstream media figured out it was in their interest to advertise for him. Also people like him because he’s young and a pretty boy.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon : ecosocialist. Used to be angry but now sounds more like a wise teacher. Wants a more democratic Constitution, to save the environment and to help the poor. Wants to renegotiate EU treaties to remove austerity (possible Frexit if failure) and to fight for peace. The most inventive campaign. Youtuber. Supported by Podemos and Bernie Sanders’ team.
Philippe Poutou : revolutionary left, but with more of a program than Arthaud. Speaks his mind and people love him for that. Works in a car factory.
1st turn result: Macron and Le Pen are selected for the 2nd turn duel with respectively 23% and 21% of the votes. Fillon and Mélenchon are just behind with 19% each. Two other candidates make small but significant scores, Hamon and Dupont-Aignan with 6 et 5%. Other candidates obtain between 0.2 and 1.2%.
So. A lot of French are pissed at having to choose between neoliberalism and the devil. Trample the poor or trample the racialised, the migrants, the foreigners. Just lovely.
But ultimately, what was striking in this election was the impact of the mainstream media. The first candidate was basically created by the media, he would have remained nearly anonymous without them. The second serves usually as a repellent to make anyone elected rather than her, and the media cater disproportionately to her favourite themes: insecurity, terrorism, islam, mechanically contributing to her rise.
Oh - incidentally, almost all mainstream media in France are controlled by billionaires.