Cas Mudde 😷 Profile picture
Apr 10 29 tweets 7 min read
The main story of the first round of the #FrenchElections2022 is not at the extremes but at the heart of liberal democracy. And it's not a particularly French story, although there are certain French particularities. A speculative thread. 🧵
1. Far right is not big winner. Le Pen gains 2%, which is minimal, while other far right (Zemmour and Dupont-Aignan), get 5% more than D-A got in 2017.

Zemmour's support is part poor given massive media attention for him as well as his support from within mainstream right.
2. This +7% for the combined far right should be seen in the context of the main story of today, the complete implosion of Les Républicains, the mainstream right, which lost 15% (!) compared to 2017.
3. At the same time, the +4% for Macron misses an important dimension: Macron has lost his magic and momentum. While he broke up the old party system, causing dealignment, it is doubtful he achieved real realignment.
4. As @RainbowMurray has pointed out, a majority of voters supported anti-system parties -- not necessarily anti-(liberal)democratic, but anti-system nevertheless.

5. Obviously, the result for Mélenchon is good, but it is almost the same as in 2017, and comes after a steep increase in the last weeks. In other words, only part (half?) of those voters are truly "his".
6. As @JeremyCliffe has emphasized, the real story is the complete implosion of the center-left and center-right this time. PS already imploded in 2017, LR did today.

7. The implosion of PS and LR is undoubtedly also related to the lack of strong candidates and doesn't need to mean the end of the two parties -- quite remarkably, SPÖ and ÖVP have rebounded strong from 2016 presidential debacle.
8. But Austrian parties are much stronger organizations, with more benefits, and France has different political system, semi-presidential, in which leaders are more central and important. Hence, while they might rebounce a bit in parliamentary elections, this is more structural.
9. France is more generally a weird mix in comparatively perspective. It was much earlier in its move to the (far) right, while still excluding the main far right party, but much later with its Blairite revolution.
10. The cooptation of far right ideas already happened in the third wave, particularly in the 1990s, by both the then RPR and even the PS. But except for a short period, FN was mostly excluded in the so-called cordon sanitaire.
11. At the same time, the PS was much less captured by the Blairite centrist course, in which the market was embraced and, importantly, politics was depoliticized -- it was now about "pragmatism".
12. This explains to a large extent the late and rather unique success of Macron, who offered something most other West European countries had already tried decade(s) before: a depoliticized, even anti-political, "pragmatic" politics of the center.
13. Of course, Macron did this outside of the main center-left party, thereby destroying that organization, while his success in courting the center-right elites, marginalized within the radicalized LR, weakened that party too.
14. The problem is, as we have seen after Blair and Schroeder, that the Blairite strategy does not just weakens the center-left, both ideologically and electorally, but also further weakens liberal democracy.
15. This is in part because it generates frustration with the center-left, and to some extent the center-right that copies it, which decreases turnout and increases votes for radical left and right.
16. But, more importantly, it does so by its fairly open anti-political discourse as well as its inherently authoritarian style. Moreover, it raises expectations that are then not fulfilled, making people withdraw from liberal democracy/liberal democratic parties after all.
17. Hence, what we end up with is:

1) lower turnout
2) higher support for radical parties
3) less satisfaction with the system
4) looser ties between voters and parties
5) more negative voting
18. Centrist voters have been "keeping their nose" since 2002 to keep a Le Pen out of the Elysee. They won't keep doing that. Moreover, fewer and fewer will do it.
19. And as long as the main "liberal democratic" campaigns are negative, i.e. anti-far right, nothing constructive is being built. And so we simply postpone the inevitable.
20. At this point, there are only two strong political forces in France, the far right (perhaps RN, perhaps a more dangerous "national conservative" coalition under Marion Marechal) and Macron. One is an ideological bloc, with a strong organization, another one single person.
21. Long-term, France is at a great point. Both LR and PS have shown to be over. This could create space and energy to build a new center-right and center-left infrastructure, including new parties. Untainted by dubious past policies and persons.
22. Short-term, France is at a terrible point. There is one strong organization/ideological bloc and one person who can keep them from power, Macron, who comes with many flaws and keeps his camp dependent upon him.
23. This opposition between a strong far right, ideologically and organizationally, and a weak liberal democratic camp, in the same terms, is not unique to France, but it is more pronounced there than in most other countries.
24. Despite remarkable support in presidential elections, I don't see his party as a stable organization, that can capture and keep a sizeable part of the electorate (leaving aside its problematic relationship to liberal democracy).
25. Only way forward is to re-politicize politics. To fight two struggles, one short-term and one long-term. The long-term is to develop and defend positive political agendas that are deeply and explicitly rooted in liberal democracy (which is not same as going back to 1980/90s).
26. Ideological reorientations of social democrats, Christian democrats, greens, and conservatives, adapted to the challenges and expectations of the 21st century and aware and honest about politics in fragmented party systems.
27. The short-term struggle is a more pragmatic politics of liberal democratic defense, in which broad, temporary coalitions have to be formed to save the liberal democratic system, so that another specific (progressive) struggle can be fought another day. #TheEnd
Now I'm tired and I'm going offline. Thanks for reading! 🙏

Also, if you want to know more about French politics, here are some good accounts/people to follow:


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More from @CasMudde

Apr 10
Exit Poll #franceelection

Macron 28%
Le Pen 23%
Mélenchon 20%
Zemmour 7%
Pécresse 5%

Pretty good for Macron... maybe too good for high turnout in second round.
Candidates of two main parties (Rep+PS) together at 7% 😮

Le Pen +2%, far right 'just' +6% 🙄

More importantly, not much "mainstream right" left to distribute in second round! 🤔

All in all, not bad for Macron. But not too good for French liberal democracy.
Already listening for 5 minutes to a RN MEP talking on @FRANCE24 about the victory of the "Somewheres" over the "Anywheres". I wonder where he got that terminology from. 🤔
Read 5 tweets
Jan 30
If you want to better understand why the 2022 Midterm and 2024 Presidential elections will not be free and fair by design, and why the Republican Party is fundamentally anti-democratic, I've made a shortt selection of (recent) articles from across GOP-dominated states. #thread
Read 10 tweets
Oct 28, 2021
Time for some movie recommendations/reviews again. I have been watching a lot and am a bit behind here.

Some absolute gems and a few disappointments.
Fatma 🇹🇷

Turkish short series about a tormented cleaner who goes on a killing spree. Exceptional acting by lead actress in a highly intelligent, intense, and original series. 9/10
Black Crowes 🇸🇦

Long Arabic series that is supposed to portray live in the ISIS Caliphate. Pathetic acting and dramatic music together with thin story makes this boring anti-ISIS propaganda. 4/10
Read 12 tweets
Oct 26, 2021
I often get emails from European students who want to do a PhD "with me." So, let me try to explain how US PhD system and academic system work, so that you can make a more informed decision. 🧵
1. First and foremost, in the US you do not apply to a professor but to a department!
2. Unlike in most other countries, in the US you go to grad SCHOOL, which means you must take 2-2.5 years of classes, take a (pointless) "comprehensive exam", before you actually start working on your PhD research.
Read 21 tweets
Oct 13, 2021
Today @BORUSG is going to effectively end tenure for all public colleges and universities in Georgia, including my own @universityofga

Let me try to explain what tenure is and why it is important to how academia works. 🧵
1. Let me start by saying that I will not make a moral argument for tenure. Clearly, I support it, and think it is crucial for academia, but there is a moral question why some people have ob security and others do not (particularly in US context).
2. In the simplest terms, tenure means job protection. It means you have a "job for life" barring exceptional circumstances -- such as, your university/department goes bankrupt, you are involved in (serious) criminal activities.
Read 31 tweets
Sep 24, 2021
Today is Mark Rutte’s 4000th day as @MinPres of the Netherlands. 🇳🇱

A thread on his achievements for Dutch liberal democracy. 🧵
1. As junior minister, Rutte was convicted for discriminating on the basis of ethnicity.
2. In his first run as VVD leader, he got fewer preferential votes than #2 (Rita Verdonk),

This was the first time in Dutch history that a arty leader did not get the most preferential votes of his party.
Read 11 tweets

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