The election in France, which I wrote about yesterday was a contest between the capital city and the historic heartland, a pattern we've seen in elections in multiple countries over the past year, and often in contradiction to traditional party lines.
I first wrote about this in a Washington Examiner column last October, noting the pattern in the results of the June 23 Brexit referendum in Britain the Oct.2 paz referendum in Colombia, and in the polling in the U.S. presidential race. In a column that went online the day after the U.S. voted, I noted that the pattern held here and produced Donald Trump's astounding victory, and in a column a week later I pointed out that the key vote shifts away from the Democrats came in the Midwest and Pennsylvania outside million-plus metro areas.
In France, there was a clear distinction between metro Paris, a baker's dozen of cities described as economically vibrant by Christopher Caldwell in his brilliant City Journal pre-election article (a must read) and the rest of the nation. Metro Paris cast 14 percent of the nation's votes, the 13 cities another 7 percent and the rest of the country 80 percent. The following table shows the percentages for each candidate nationwide and in each of these areas.
|13 other cities||26||21||24||8||15|
The biggest difference is in the vote for Marine Le Pen. Outside of Paris and the 13 cities, she ran number one, with 24 percent of the vote. In the 13 cities combined, she got a just 15 percent.
That included 24 to 27 percent in Marseille, Nice and Toulon on the Mediterranean coast; she did no better than 15 percent in the other 10 cities.
In the central city of Paris she got just 11 percent; in its 7th, 8th and 16th arrondissements and in the adjacent suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, the home of the richest and most well-connected people in France, she got just 4 percent. I'm guessing she's not going to do much better than that in those places in the May 7 runoff, especially given that Macron — a graduate of the Ecole National d'Administration and former employee at the Rothschild bank — has obvious appeal to the Parisian elite.
As for the rest of France, it appears that Le Pen did not win an absolute majority in the 11-candidate field in any one of France's nearly 100 departments. But the fact that the left-wing Mélenchon declined to endorse Macron, as Fillon and Hamon did, suggests that she has room to grow up toward and perhaps over 40 percent — and maybe, her fans hope, over 50 percent as well.