Postcards from the Election in France

 

Phew, that was really down to the wire. (Submitting this thing on time, that is — not the election.) Some deadlines have a bit of wriggle room, but not this one: France wasn’t going to postpone its election because I hadn’t finished my article. I ended up cutting it so close that the polls had already opened by the time my editors got the final pass. But I finished it, at least, before the results came in.

So here’s the link to the long-awaited article, which is in fact eight short articles. Yes, seriously. My plan was to write each individually, as standalone pieces. But I would have needed another week to do that properly, and I would have had to rustle up seven more editors. So I knit them into one, instead. The articles, not the editors. If you haven’t got time (or patience) to read eight articles about France, just pick one:

  1. Poudre de Perlimpinpin
  2. Monkey Eyeballs
  3. You, Madame, are no Margaret Thatcher 
  4. The Horseshoe
  5. The Vice
  6. The Champs-Elysées and the Pattons of Our Basement
  7. May Day
  8. The Knife

And if you still want more when you’re done, you may have missed this when I wrote it: Last Minute Thoughts on Marine Le Pen.

Anyway, my infinitely-patient editors at The American Interest didn’t reproach me for sending all of that to them with only hours to go before the polls, nor even for sending them a frantic update explaining that a big thing had happened at the last minute, but I’d better not get into the details. I’ll bet they were cursing me privately, though. (I’m sorry about your weekend, Adam and Daniel.)

NB: All polling, by law, ends at midnight the Friday before the election, as does campaigning. And critically, in light of the massive hacking attack on Macron, so does “media coverage seen as swaying the election.” So this is what the headlines here look like right now: 

I’ll report back when the results are in, but if you’ve read my article, you know what will happen.

Vive la France, and thank God for the reporting ban. I couldn’t be more pleased to have a great excuse not to write another word all weekend.

 

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  1. Profile photo of Steve C. Member

    I’m surprised nobody has violated the news embargo. Seems to me they would have a pretty good claim to exigent circumstances. The USG was able to get a temporary restraining order against the NY Times and Washington Post for the Pentagon Papers. Only to have the Supreme Court rule in favor of publication.

    Isn’t the French Press strong? (!)

    • #1
    • May 6, 2017 at 10:35 am
    • Like2 likes
  2. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    Isn’t the French Press strong? (!)

    No First Amendment here, and this isn’t even a controversial law: There’s a general sense that it’s a good thing to let people vote in peace.

    • #2
    • May 6, 2017 at 10:42 am
    • Like5 likes
  3. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    Isn’t the French Press strong? (!)

    No First Amendment here, and this isn’t even a controversial law: There’s a general sense that it’s a good thing to let people vote in peace.

    How does the law affect social media?

    • #3
    • May 6, 2017 at 10:45 am
    • Like1 like
  4. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    Isn’t the French Press strong? (!)

    No First Amendment here, and this isn’t even a controversial law: There’s a general sense that it’s a good thing to let people vote in peace.

    How does the law affect social media?

    It doesn’t, but the election commission politely asked people to refrain from spreading rumors about what’s in them because it wouldn’t be fair to the candidates or in the spirit of the election, and to my surprise, a bit, it looks as if people agree, because I’m seeing nothing on social media but expressions of revulsion with the leak.

    • #4
    • May 6, 2017 at 10:48 am
    • Like3 likes
  5. Profile photo of cirby Member

    It’s surprising that the people who leaked the information weren’t smart enough to do so a few days earlier, to avoid the press embargo. Unless, of course, the idea wasn’t to help LePen win, but to damage the guy who’s probably going to take the office.

    • #5
    • May 6, 2017 at 10:57 am
    • Like5 likes
  6. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    cirby (View Comment):
    It’s surprising that the people who leaked the information weren’t smart enough to do so a few days earlier, to avoid the press embargo. Unless, of course, the idea wasn’t to help LePen win, but to damage the guy who’s probably going to take the office.

    I’m thinking that if there were a real game-changer in there, it would have come out some time after the debate.

    • #6
    • May 6, 2017 at 11:01 am
    • Like2 likes
  7. Profile photo of outlaws6688 Coolidge

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):
    revulsion with the leak.

    Revulsion that his true colors are showing?

    • #7
    • May 6, 2017 at 11:03 am
    • Like3 likes
  8. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    cirby (View Comment):
    It’s surprising that the people who leaked the information weren’t smart enough to do so a few days earlier, to avoid the press embargo. Unless, of course, the idea wasn’t to help LePen win, but to damage the guy who’s probably going to take the office.

    Oh, it was too well timed to be anything but an effort to rub up against the press embargo. Or more particularly, the Macron campaign’s ability to reply to it. They’re counting on social media. And yes, of course, it’s just to damage Macron.

    • #8
    • May 6, 2017 at 11:09 am
    • Like5 likes
  9. Profile photo of Rodin Member

    Good thing Obama got his video in under the wire.

    • #9
    • May 6, 2017 at 11:25 am
    • Like2 likes
  10. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    Since so many French people speak English today, among other languages, do many of them read British and American news?

    • #10
    • May 6, 2017 at 11:54 am
    • Like0 likes
  11. Profile photo of JL Inactive
    JL

    When I turned 18, my friends took me on a Tuesday down from LA to Tijuana to drink booze. We arrived, 4 imbeciles, wandering Revolución blvd speaking broken Spanish and looking for a bar. Any bar. After seeing nothing but a dearth of anything open — we ran into a CBS San Diego news affiliate who asked me if I would do an interview.

    Sure I told them. They asked me how I felt about Mexico shutting down alcohol sales in the entire country for its election. When was the election, I asked. Today, he said.

    Which is how I ended up yelling an obscenity on live San Diego news. Thank the dear Lord the internet was still on geocities at the time.

    • #11
    • May 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm
    • Like7 likes
  12. Profile photo of Guruforhire Member

    And let the voting irregularities start

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/dirty-tricks-french-voters-receive-invalid-damaged-le-pen-ballots/

    • #12
    • May 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm
    • Like2 likes
  13. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    And let the voting irregularities start

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/dirty-tricks-french-voters-receive-invalid-damaged-le-pen-ballots/

    A good bloody French civil war just ahead of the UK elections would be a wonderful thing.

    • #13
    • May 6, 2017 at 12:53 pm
    • Like0 likes
  14. Profile photo of Scott Abel Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    And let the voting irregularities start

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/dirty-tricks-french-voters-receive-invalid-damaged-le-pen-ballots/

    My personal opinion is that The Gateway Pundit is trash nowadays, no more credible than Prison Planet (Alex Jones’ group). I need more than a couple non-verified videos with sketchy sources to cry conspiracy. But your mileage may vary.

    • #14
    • May 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm
    • Like3 likes
  15. Profile photo of Scott Abel Member

    I had an interesting lunch today with one of the 100 members of the Estonian parliament.
    I brought up the Macron leak, which they hadn’t heard about at that point. This person (their interests are heavily in foreign affairs) was first startled, and then … happy with the development. This person’s hot take:

    1) It’s too late to affect the election; if anything, it’s going to cause a backlash on late deciders
    2) It will puncture an “unjustified” superiority that the French administration has about its world-view, particularly on Russian matters (they brought up the sale of Mistral-class amphibious assault carriers that were sold to Russia over the objections of Eastern Europe and Baltic countries, and were only shamed into reneging on the deal months after the invasion of Ukraine)
    3) The new president (Macron) will remember
    4) The French, when they focus their minds on a target, can be kind of terrifying

    That’s just one political data point, but I found it interesting, (and according to Newt, living in St. Petersburg’s suburb) reassuring.

    • #15
    • May 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm
    • Like4 likes
  16. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Since so many French people speak English today, among other languages, do many of them read British and American news?

    Sure, many do, though I still think the number who could easily read an English-language newspaper’s probably less than 15 percent.

    • #16
    • May 6, 2017 at 2:33 pm
    • Like0 likes
  17. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Scott Abel (View Comment):
    I had an interesting lunch today with one of the 100 members of the Estonian parliament.
    I brought up the Macron leak, which they hadn’t heard about at that point. This person (their interests are heavily in foreign affairs) was first startled, and then … happy with the development. This person’s hot take:

    1) It’s too late to affect the election; if anything, it’s going to cause a backlash on late deciders
    2) It will puncture an “unjustified” superiority that the French administration has about its world-view, particularly on Russian matters (they brought up the sale of Mistral-class amphibious assault carriers that were sold to Russia over the objections of Eastern Europe and Baltic countries, and were only shamed into reneging on the deal months after the invasion of Ukraine)
    3) The new president (Macron) will remember
    4) The French, when they focus their minds on a target, can be kind of terrifying

    That’s just one political data point, but I found it interesting, (and according to Newt, living in St. Petersburg’s suburb) reassuring.

    Macron was already in a rage about the phishing attacks on his campaign. He’s not confused about this issue at all — he and Hamon were the only ones in the campaign who were dead clear about the importance of the sanctions and the danger of the other candidates’ flirtation (or heated love affair, as the case may be) with Russia. I think your friend’s right, but the Russians, too, when they focus their minds on a target, are more than terrifying, and they will not make Macron’s life easy. They won’t give up after this; like Marine, they’re playing for 2022.

    • #17
    • May 6, 2017 at 2:38 pm
    • Like1 like
  18. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    And let the voting irregularities start

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/dirty-tricks-french-voters-receive-invalid-damaged-le-pen-ballots/

    I have a friend who regularly monitors the balloting in his precinct. I asked him (having just arrived from Turkey) how easy it would be to tamper with the ballots here. Next to impossible, he said. He walked me through the safeguards in place. I don’t remember all the details of the conversation, but I came away from it feeling that France has many problems, but being unable to hold a proper election’s not one of them.

    • #18
    • May 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm
    • Like0 likes
  19. Profile photo of outlaws6688 Coolidge

    Claire, how is supporting the European Union Conservative?

    • #19
    • May 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm
    • Like2 likes
  20. Profile photo of outlaws6688 Coolidge

    Claire, What is Conservative about Multiculturalism?

    • #20
    • May 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm
    • Like2 likes
  21. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):
    the election commission politely asked people to refrain from spreading rumors

    Maybe that’s considered a veiled threat that if anyone reveals what’s in them, they’ll get a “polite” knock on their door followed by a visit to their “polite” police station.

    You have to peek under the surface, but it is clear that the government oppression of the people in that country is repulsive.

    If you think I am exaggerating, imagine Donald Trump ordering CNN, MSNBC, et al to not talk about the 2018 Mid-Terms starting the Sunday before Election Tuesday. I can’t see that ending well.

    God Bless the Constitution of the United States Of America.

    • #21
    • May 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm
    • Like3 likes
  22. Profile photo of BD1 Member
    BD1

    Reuters: “France fights to keep Macron Email Hack From Distorting Election.”

    If leaks “distort” elections, maybe Fillon should ask for a do-over.

    • #22
    • May 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm
    • Like2 likes
  23. Profile photo of Fritz Member

    What? No “exit polls” breathlessly (and sometimes erroneously) touted from the sidewalks by “journalists” trying to look serious? How does such a country survive??

    • #23
    • May 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm
    • Like0 likes
  24. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Foiled by having used up my free articles limit (sneaky, Mlle!) but I did really like:

    “Marine spent two-and-a-half solid hours shrieking like a fishwife addled by menopause. Macron faced the obvious political problem. No matter how unprepared and hysterical she sounded, there’s no way a young, successful, good-looking man can tell a middle-aged woman that she’s crazy and confused and come across to his audience as a gentleman.”

    • #24
    • May 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm
    • Like2 likes
  25. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Fritz (View Comment):
    What? No “exit polls” breathlessly (and sometimes erroneously) touted from the sidewalks by “journalists” trying to look serious? How does such a country survive??

    Cheese Monsieur, frommage.

    • #25
    • May 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm
    • Like1 like
  26. Profile photo of Scott Abel Member

    Is there a sudden flood of Twitter eggs on Rico? Just asking.

    • #26
    • May 6, 2017 at 3:36 pm
    • Like4 likes
  27. Profile photo of outlaws6688 Coolidge

    Scott Abel (View Comment):
    Is there a sudden flood of Twitter eggs on Rico? Just asking.

    Louise Mensch anyone?

    • #27
    • May 6, 2017 at 3:39 pm
    • Like0 likes
  28. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    • #28
    • May 6, 2017 at 4:20 pm
    • Like4 likes
  29. Profile photo of Jason Rudert Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ah. Now I see. But what am I even doing in here? This is a france thread.

    • #29
    • May 6, 2017 at 7:03 pm
    • Like2 likes
  30. Profile photo of genferei Member

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Foiled by having used up my free articles limit (sneaky, Mlle!) but I did really like:

    “Marine spent two-and-a-half solid hours shrieking like a fishwife addled by menopause. Macron faced the obvious political problem. No matter how unprepared and hysterical she sounded, there’s no way a young, successful, good-looking man can tell a middle-aged woman that she’s crazy and confused and come across to his audience as a gentleman.

    Thanks for this. Now I don’t have to bother reading them.

    I’m sure the French press will be as diligent on reporting the contents of the #MacronLeaks as they have been in researching the origins amd timing of the leaks that took out Fillon.

    • #30
    • May 6, 2017 at 10:41 pm
    • Like1 like
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