Taubira “Envisages” a Presidential Run

18 December 2021

Just what the left needs: another presidential candidate. “Squabble among yourselves; leave me out of it,” said Jean-Luc Mélenchon. One can understand his frustration. Meanwhile, the Macroniste camp called attention to the fact that Taubira is not merely an icon, the eloquent justice minister responsible for passing the Mariage pour Tous law; she also has a less well-known history as a political operator: in 1994 she joined Bernard Tapie on a centrist list that undermined the Socialist list led by Michel Rocard in the European elections; in 2002 she was, again with support from Tapie, the PRG candidate for president, taking enough votes from Lionel Jospin to allow Jean-Marie Le Pen to squeak by him into the second round, ignominiously ending Jospin’s career. In short, Mme Taubira’s political calculations have not always benefited the broader left. This is likely to be the case once again. Not that it will make any difference: if she runs, she will simply redistribute the meager resources currently scattered among the various left-wing aspirants, none of whom is prepared to give way to her as the unity candidate of the left. Symbolically, it might mean something to have a Black woman on the ticket, but as mentioned, she has been there before and has no greater chance of winning this time than she did in 2002.

Meanwhile, a new poll is out from OpinionWay. It confirms my assertion of the other day that Marine Le Pen retains the support of the working class (29% of CSP- respondents support her, compared with only 11% for Zemmour and 12 for Mélenchon). More surprisingly, perhaps, Macron is favored by 24% of CSP- and 29% of CSP+). Pécresse is still favored to beat both Zemmour and Le Pen by a nose to become Macron’s opponent in round 2. Of course, the campaign has only just begun. A lot could change, especially since the membranes separating LR from RN and the Zemmouristas have become quite permeable. There seem to be no more taboos, and the question is no longer whether the far right has driven out enough of its demons to become respectable but rather which of its demons will prove to be more potent in recruiting souls.

An obituary note: Laurent Bouvet, the founder of Printemps Républicain, with whom I disagreed about many issues, died today at the age of 52 after a long illness. Laurent was a ferocious neo-Republican. His book on “cultural insecurity,” a concept he made current in French political discourse, contained many valuable insights along with quite a number of recommendations I considered wrong-headed. For all our disagreements, I learned from every conversation I had with him. He was an important source for articles I wrote about the 2017 presidential election. He died far too young. May he rest in peace.


Photo Credits: Christiane Taubira by Claude Truong-Ngoc (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons

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