Apr 19 • 49M

Podcast: The French Election

Arthur Goldhammer on Macron vs. Le Pen, Part Deux

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Marine Le Pen et Emmanuel Macron (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2017, Emmanuel Macron decisively trounced Marine Le Pen in the French presidential race, winning by a ratio of nearly two to one (Macron’s 66.1 percent as against Le Pen’s 33.9 percent). Macron and Le Pen are squaring off again on Sunday April 24. If polls are to be trusted, it will be a much closer race. Macron still leads, but with an edge in the 2 to 8 percent range. Given the possibility of polling error, Le Pen has a real shot at winning.

To suss out the election and the stakes, I talked to Arthur (Art) Goldhammer, one of the leading anglophone writers on France. An affiliate at Harvard’s Center for European Studies, Goldhammer is a novelist and the translator of more than a hundred books from French into English, including many seminal intellectual works such as Thomas Piketty’s Capital. His writings on France can be found on the Tocqueville21 newsletter.

Art and I took up not just the political careers of Macron and Le Pen, but also larger trends in French and global politics, including the withering away of the mainstream conservative and social democratic parties, the rise of media entrepreneurs as political actors, the rise of the populist left, and the recasting of the political spectrum as a battle between pro-system and anti-system politics. 

(Post edited by Emily M. Keeler)

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