There's continuing mythology that, in light of Brexit and America's election, the world will soon be dominated by the political right-wing.
Fear was stoked in France on Sunday due to the burgeoning strength of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, runner-up in a large presidential field, only narrowly behind centrist Emmanuel Macron (En Marché!).
However, even with vote totals close, and after the washout of Brexit and American pollsters, I herewith predict Macron's victory by a landslide. Not because I'm psychic, but because France's election is governed by something significantly absent here. The French people, not an archaic Electoral College, decide who will enter Élysée Palace.
What does that mean? It means a system disproportionately weighting certain citizens against greater numbers doesn't exist in France. There's no opportunity for a minority vote power grab throughout the French Departments to propel the anti-EU Le Pen to victory.
She’ll lose big because the people elect French presidents. When the major parties didn't make the cut, François Fillon (Republicans) and Socialist Benoît Hamon gave their support to Macron, as did president François Hollande. In the USA that wasn't enough, witness the widespread endorsements Hillary received, even from conservative newspapers and major Republicans. Plus, GOP heavyweights refused to back Trump. It affected her larger totals, but in our country totals mean nothing.
That Hillary isn't president is still unfathomable, even given her so-called Electoral College "firewall," Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, states she lost by a whisker. I blame her managers for losing these states by less than 1%, but mostly I fault political leaders for not ridding America of this outrage after Al Gore defeated George W. Bush in 2000, only to find himself an also-ran.
Interestingly, there’ve been different versions of Electoral Colleges in many countries, including France, which used it in the 1958 election of Charles DeGaulle. But even that comprised thousands of officials, including mayors and others, totaling almost 80,000, as opposed to our paltry 538 electors.
That was the only time France used this method, responsibly changing to a popular vote. Other nations use electoral colleges, mostly for ceremonial presidents.
So, with worldwide revulsion of a Le Pen victory widely discussed and the expectation that French people will make a pro-Europe choice, it’s extremely unlikely she’ll be elected.
Let’s also dismiss so-called similarities between Trump’s faux victory and the unexpected Brexit vote, also close (52-48%). However, Brexit was decided by the majority, whereas Trump moved into the White House with almost 3,000,000 fewer voters than Hillary Clinton, (over 2%). That’s significantly different and can’t be compared, thus isn’t demonstrative of a universal right-wing populist shift.
The people wanted Hillary Clinton, but under our flawed system weren’t able to send her to the White House...
Especially with continuing marches and our judiciary’s refusal to permit Trump’s wildest excesses, impediments to repeal Obamacare within his own party, his backsliding on grandiose predictions for the first 100 days, only to negate the date’s importance after his failures. Moreover, historically low ratings, sometimes less than 40%, indicate a president looking ever more the fool. Surely his so-called base, which still supports him, will drift away. Even they will tire of boastful utterances, often proving lies are the order of his day.
So, despite the Trump anomaly, there’s little doubt M. Macron will be elected, as Hillary would’ve been had the people been allowed to decide.
Which makes me shout in high decibels to get Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi and others to change our presidential election system to popular vote. They challenge Trump about health care, the environment, immigration and women’s rights, but remain silent about ending an undemocratic system that five times in our history caused the loser to enter the White House.
Because it’s too hard or can’t be done? This was once thought of slavery, women’s suffrage, southern integration and gay rights (military and marriage). And it’s true constitutional amendments are difficult because many small states want to maintain undeserved dominance.
Plus, there are those who harangue the system is untouchable either because our “founders” created it and/or we shouldn’t have California and New York determine our president. Excuse me, but there aren’t enough votes in either to choose the president, and, assuming there were, why are those citizens deemed less American than residents of population-challenged areas?
Remember, too, there were millions of Trump voters in California and New York and millions for Hillary in Texas, Florida, and other Trump states. They also say people wouldn’t campaign in many states, but that’s the way it is now. If popular vote determined winners each candidate would scrounge for every vote possible. Republicans would campaign hard in coastal states and Democrats would seek support in southern and mountain states.
There’s something already at work to circumvent the constitution, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Passed by ten states and D.C., encompassing 165 Electoral Votes, if a few more states join, cumulatively reaching the 270 votes necessary to elect our president, states will cast their votes for the national winner, irrespective of how its state voted.
That’s what leaders should be working to change. Let’s march in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and even Connecticut to get it ratified. If democracy means anything this must be resolved, but it has to get everyone’s attention. Woo Republicans, reminding them John Kerry almost won without the popular vote had Ohio given him 50,000 more votes.
France will elect Macron over Le Pen, because the people won’t allow it to be otherwise. The people wanted Hillary Clinton, but under our flawed system weren’t able to send her to the White House despite almost 3,000,000 greater numbers who are now subjected to horrendous policies and appointees they clearly didn’t want.
For heaven’s sake, why aren’t we shouting and demonstrating about this?
Michael Russnow’s website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com
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