Alain Juppé —the overwhelming favorite to win the Primaire de la droite —has been defeated by, of all people, François Fillon. How could this have happened? Well, apparently, no one told Juppe that being elected president means running for election. You know, to have an organization, to reach out to the left and the center, on whose votes he will be dependent. Being a politician is quite evidently something he feels is beneath him. Apparently, he expected to simply be proclaimed as president; something like the return of Napoleon from Elba, the Hundred Days. This was obviously a terrible mistake.
Juppe is clearly not a very good candidate, but the Left could have rallied around him in a republican front. But, Fillon is a very different animal. How is he different from Marine Le Pen on issues of religious, immigration and civil society? Frankly, there is very little daylight between them, except that the FN’s economic policy is largely cribbed from Paul Krugman, while Fillion is the Wolfgang Schäuble of France. Why should France choose to revisit Vichy, with perhaps a bit less goose-stepping, but even more austerity?
Goldhammer has a good analysis on his blog. He is edging closer to saying that perhaps the left will remain at home, which means that Le Pen can win. So, France is probably screwed. I fear that my beloved Paris is too dangerous to serve as a refuge from the ravages of Trump. All I can do is choose someplace else to hide from the world. Now, the choice is between Montreal and Vancouver.