There have been some rumblings on the Interwebs that perhaps Macron won’t be the shoo-in we all think he will.
One argument is that, if the likes of Merkel, Juncker, and all the others who think the EU rules über alles keep fellating him, the French are going to wonder in whose interests he will serve. Perhaps unlike other EU citizens, the French believe the EU is there to serve French interests, not the other way around. They don’t want an EU poodle any more than the Brits do, and Macron appearing in front of a giant EU flag on every occasion isn’t going to be helping him in this regard.
Another argument is that a lot of folk are behaving as if he’s won already. People are already talking about how the EU has been saved and how he will usher in a new era of economic prosperity for France. I can’t see this going down well among the French. They’re a prickly bunch and don’t like being taken for granted and have a wonderful habit of chucking a stick between the spokes of any process which they think is being done over their heads. A lot of French might not like Le Pen but they at least expect an election to take place to confirm this before the world starts planning Macron’s coronation.
There is also the issue of turnout. Fillon has come out and said he will support Macron, and everyone has assumed those who voted for Fillon will do as well. But that’s a big assumption: Fillon was much more of a genuine, centre-right candidate in the mold of Sarkozy than Macron, who is running on the platform of vague promises and nobody knowing quite who he is. Those who voted for Fillon will be well aware that Macron is not the outsider the media are portraying him to be and he’s as likely to be the next Hollande as the next Thatcher. This might not make them all turn out for Le Pen, but it might make them stay at home.
In the end the 2016 US presidential election came down to who could get the voters out. Throughout the campaign it was obvious that Trump had the more dedicated supporters, those who would turn out to vote for him come hell or high water. Hillary’s rallies were lukewarm, stage-managed affairs with very little passion and supported by people who only really knew that they didn’t want a Republican in the White House and especially not one named Donald Trump. If this has any bearing on what happens in France, it is Le Pen who has the fired-up support base who know exactly what they want and why they want their candidate to win, and Macron who is reading out boilerplate political guff and hoping his “decency” and assumed centrism is enough to get people to turn out for him on election day.
I still think it is likely Macron will win with a 70% share as all others unite behind him, but I could just as easily be completely wrong. If I am wrong, and Macron manages to lose, those things I mention above will be among the reasons why.