The Right’s Dominance of France

By: inoljt,

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

The story of the 2012 French presidential election is quite interesting. Right-wing incumbent Nicholas Sarkozy entered the election deeply unpopular. Opinion polls consistently showed him losing by around 20%.

France’s presidential system has two rounds. In the first round, everybody can be a candidate. The top two winners of the first round move to a second round run-off.

As election day approached, Sarkozy’s deficit continually shrunk.  Opinion polls just before the first round showed Sarkozy losing by low double-digits. As the campaign for the second round began, they showed him behind by high single-digits.

Sarkozy ended up losing by 3.2%. That’s a pretty steep drop-off from the polls that showed him behind by 20%.

To be fair, Sarkozy’s opponent François Hollande isn’t the best politician. But the fact that Hollande barely defeated one of the most unpopular presidents in the history of France’s Fifth Republic says something about France.

Indeed, the right has dominated the left throughout the history of French presidential elections.

As this chart shows, the French right has won seven presidential elections; the French left has won just three. The right’s greatest election victory occurred in 1958, when French war hero Charles de Gaulle defeated hapless Communist candidate Georges Marrane with 79% of the vote.

The left’s greatest victory occurred in 1988, when incumbent François Mitterrand took 54% of the vote over Jacques Chirac. A French left-wing presidential candidate has yet to win by double-digits; the right has done this multiple times.

In addition, there are two instances when the French left failed to make it into the second round. This happened in 1969 and 2002, which are colored darker blue above (the margin in these years indicates the first round). In both instances the second round ended up being between two right-wing candidates. So far a French presidential election has never featured two left-wing candidates in the second round.

France has generally had a reputation of being a very liberal place, and this analysis might seem surprising from that perspective.

To be fair, the French right is very different from the American right. France’s right-wing is probably to the left of America’s Democratic Party (at least on economic issues). France’s left used to be the Communist Party; today it is the Socialist Party. Both parties would never win a presidential election in the United States.

Finally, and ironically, as I write these words the French socialists have just won an absolute majority in Parliament. France’s socialists today hold more of the levers of power than they have ever held in the history of the French Fifth Republic. But historically, it has been the right and not the left in power in France.


Talking to Conservatives: Tips on Reaching Across the Aisle

Tips on talking to political adversaries. Moving past politics, partisanship and labels, recognizing corporatism masquerading as progressivism or conservatism, and going straight to the issues. Read on...

Frameshop: Five Toxic Right Wing Lies

  The biggest complaint progressives have against the Obama administration may be the total failure to counter right wing frames that dominate the media and the culture of America's political landscape. For what it's worth, here are five radical right wing lies or "frames" put together by Andrew Kimbrell from Tikkun  and posted at Alternet.  The author suggests Obama must aggressively counter these lies  in order to move America forward:

1.  Reactionary Narrative:Government is the problem. It is bad, even evil, and should be eliminated or privatized as much as possible.

     Progressive Narrative: Government is good and a major part of the solution to our economic and social problems — large, robust local, state and federal government services are critical to our individual and national well-being.

2. Reactionary Narrative: Quality health care is a commodity available to those who can afford it.

     Progressive Narrative: Quality health care is a basic human right.

3. Reactionary Narrative: Free market competition is the basis for our economic life — the benefits of the winners will trickle down to the losers.

    Progressive Narrative: The free market is a dangerous fiction (as is trickle-down economics) — not everything is a market commodity and even then those commodity markets have always been regulated. The question is how and for whom to regulate markets so as to create the most equitable distribution of wealth.

4. Reactionary Narrative: You counter terrorism by fighting land wars and overthrowing dictators (especially when oil is involved).

    Progressive Narrative: The Best Way to Fight Terrorism is through Cooperative International Police Action and Foreign Policy Changes – Not Land Wars.  

5. Reactionary Narrative:  Global warming and other environmental problems are either vastly exaggerated or don’t really exist — and if they do exist, the solution is market and technology based.

     Progressive Narrative: It’s the ecology stupid — global warming is the greatest threat to the survival of civilization. The solution to global warming and other major environmental crises is governments at all levels cooperating to change our economic and technological systems to better comport with the principles of ecology. 


(you know what to do)  

There's more...

Glenn Beck to "Transition Off" a Daily Show at Fox News

The notorious fact-averse, conspiracy-laden, tear-prone, pseudo-libertarian and religious zealot Glenn Beck will end his daily Fox News Channel program later this year. His departure was jointly announced in a statement on Wednesday by Fox and Mr. Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts. The statement did not specify an end date for the show, called “Glenn Beck,” which has been telecast at 5 PM on Fox News since early 2009.

Here is the release:

(New York, NY)  Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s production company, are proud to announce that they will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties. Glenn intends to transition off of his daily program, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News said, “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards.  I look forward to continuing to work with him. ”

Glenn Beck said: “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News. I cannot repay Roger for the lessons I’ve learned and will continue to learn from him and I look forward to starting this new phase of our partnership.”

Joel Cheatwood, SVP/Development at Fox News, will be joining Mercury Radio Arts effective April 24, 2011. Part of his role as EVP will be to manage the partnership and serve as a liaison with the Fox News Channel.

Roger Ailes said:  “Joel is a good friend and one of the most talented and creative executives in the business. Over the past four years I have consistently valued his input and advice and that will not stop as we work with him in his new role.”

“Glenn Beck” is consistently the third highest rated program on cable news.

For the 27 months that “Glenn Beck” has aired on Fox News, the program has averaged more than 2.2 million total viewers and 563,000 viewers 25-54 years old, numbers normally associated with shows airing in primetime, not at 5pm. “Glenn Beck” has dominated all of its cable news competitors since launch.

According to the release, Beck will be transitioning to a new role at Fox helping to develop a variety of programs for Fox News and its digital properties. Oh joy.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week - Heatwave Edition

The July 30th edition of Peter Sinclair's Climate Denial Crock of the Week tackles the latest deranged response by the obstreperous climate change deniers to the inescapable fact that 2010 promises to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest on record.

The Week looks at the Russian heatwave, one of the more notable extreme weather events afflicting the planet, by the numbers:


73° F
Normal daily high in Moscow during the summer months

Temperature in Moscow on Thursday — the highest reading ever in the city

Temperature on Monday in the fire-ravaged southern provence of Voronezh

25 million
Acres of crops ruined by the heat wave

Expected decline in Russia's wheat exports this year

Increase in air pollution in Moscow last week due to peat bog fires near the city

Packs of cigarettes one would have to smoke per day to equal the effects of Moscow's smog-choked air

Increase in sales of Russian soft drinks

Number of new fires emergency crews have discovered in the past day

Number of people working to fight the blazes

Approximate number of people — many of them intoxicated — who have drowned while attempting to cool off in rivers

Date on which Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox church, asked for all Russians to "to unite in prayer for rain to descend on our earth."



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