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Tag Archives: Political parties

The Republicans Temporize

Share the post "The Republicans Temporize" With the news that Les Républicains are about to choose Christian Jacob as their new leader, it is clear that the party has no idea where it intends to go in the future. Christian Jacob is one of those politicians who has always gone wherever the power is at the moment, whether to follow Jacques Chirac, his first master, or Sarkozy, Copé, or Fillon in the years that followed. Fillon is supposed to have called him Rantanplan,...

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The Contradictions of Populism

Share the post "The Contradictions of Populism" Since November 17 of last year, we have been regaled every Saturday with the lament of the Gilets Jaunes, those salt-of-the-earth French men and women who join together to protest the bloated state of pampered civil servants who batten themselves at taxpayer expense while good people in the provinces struggle to make ends meet. But at least one of those pampered civil servants turns out to be one of the more telegenic...

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Mélenchon: “Federate the people!”

Share the post "Mélenchon: “Federate the people!”" Jean-Luc Mélenchon contains multitudes. After the Notre-Dame fire, he was among the most eloquent of commentators, intimately familiar with the history of the cathedral. But his familiarity with the vast panorama of French history did not prevent him from ludicrously comparing Éric Drouet, one of the leaders of the leaderless Gilets Jaunes, to Jean-Baptiste Drouet, the postmaster of Sainte-Menehould, le bon citoyen who...

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The “Social and Ecological” Contract

Share the post "The “Social and Ecological” Contract" As France’s political parties wither away, French civil society may be organizing itself to fill the void. Perhaps that is too optimistic a read of what those perennial civil-society reformers, Laurent Berger and Nicolas Hulot, are up to with their “Social and Ecological Pact.” But something needs to fill the void left by the evaporation of the parties and the unwillingness of the Gilets Jaunes to translate protest...

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Can “Procedural Extremism” Save Democracy?

Share the post "Can “Procedural Extremism” Save Democracy?" Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, a common narrative to explain the state of American democracy has been the story of “norm erosion.” The premise of this narrative is the (correct) notion that maintaining a democratic government requires not only the written rules of the law and the constitution, but also a number of unwritten rules or norms. These norms can include things from a minimum amount of...

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Thoughts on the Fifth Republic’s Sixtieth

Share the post "Thoughts on the Fifth Republic’s Sixtieth" To mark the sixtieth birthday of France’s Fifth Republic last week (4 Sept.), I went and flipped through a chapter I had been meaning to come back to in Raymond Aron’s Démocratie et totalitarisme on the political crisis that led to De Gaulle’s return to power. The book was published in 1965 based on lectures given in the midst of that crisis seven years prior, and its overall aim is to sketch out the two types...

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La Droite “Humaniste”

Share the post "La Droite “Humaniste”" What better time to launch a few trial balloons than the August doldrums. A Le Monde interview with former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin is rich in instruction as to thinking of this stalwart of what Raffarin himself likes to call la droite humaniste. One finds M. Raffarin in a generous mood. He has kind words for everyone, including President Macron, whom he credits with “forcefulness” and “skill,” a tenure “nearly without...

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The French Party System: A Vast Wasteland

Share the post "The French Party System: A Vast Wasteland" The French party system, devastated by the Macron tsunami, has not recovered. Only a bleak wasteland remains. If one looks closely, there are signs of life, but just barely. Small creatures are scurrying about in search of nourishment. The big game has been decimated. The few beast of prey that remain are hungry and warily on the prowl. Laurent Wauquiez, who saw himself as the largest and most dangerous of the...

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