It’s a story as old as time – or, should we say, as old as Pasokification.
The second round of the French election rolls around this Sunday and once again, leftist voters are in the harsh spotlight.
Vote for Emmanuel Macron and face further years of neoliberalism and centre-right emptiness
Vote for Marine Le Pen, and threaten to usher in a Trump-esque era of fascism to France.
Vote for neither, and be blamed if Le Pen wins.
Jean-Luc Melenchon came narrowly behind his far-right counterpart, with France’s electoral system meaning he can’t be elected this Sunday.
Though he did call on voters to circumvent the disappointment by electing “a majority of MPs from La France Insoumise” to make him Prime Minister, leftist voters will have to hold their nose and make a choice this Sunday – much like they did in the 2017 French election.
Macron knows he cannot take the Left’s votes for granted, despite Melenchon urging his supporters not to back Le Pen.
Five years ago, up to 36 per cent of Melenchon’s first-round voters abstsined in the runoff, and between seven to 19 per cent went to Le Pen.
And yet he’s made little effort to appeal to the great disillusioned mass of French voters.
On the other side, Le Pen has strategised her appeal well, with analysis from the Manifesto Project showing her economic vision is far to the left of Macron’s.
It’s a real worry, and real indictment on Macron – but it reflects the wider centrist disdain and apathy towards the Left.
And so Melenchon voters, much like those who opted for Bernie Sanders, have become reluctant kingmakers.
The problem? They don’t want to crown any of the choices.
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