Months of post-mortems of Clinton’s loss to Trump overshadow one of the simplest explanations: It’s important to convince voters that you are not corrupt. Macron also benefited from voters who refused to give Le Pen a free pass on her party’s history of racism and xenophobia the way Americans let Trump get away with his inflammatory statements.
After years of careful preparation and months of campaigning, Emmanuel Macron and his allies are about to take control of the euro area’s second-biggest economy. Typically associates from the elite French schools where the new president studied, or his time in government under outgoing President Francois Hollande, Team Macron were first dismissed as fantasists and then faced attacks from all sides. Now they are going to be taking decisions that will affect hundreds of billions of dollars in global trade from energy to finance and defense.
Where was Barack Obama on the day that Republicans in the House of Representatives dealt a potentially mortal wound to the Affordable Care Act, his signature domestic achievement? In France—at least, on French Twitter, where a video of Obama endorsing Emmanuel Macron for President was pinned* to the top of Macron’s page.
The last time a French Presidential election was anywhere near this wild was in 2002. Jacques Chirac, the center-right President, was supposed to face Lionel Jospin, the center-left Prime Minister. (The two men had been sharing power in a “cohabitation” government.) The extreme-right candidate, Jean-Marie Le Pen—Marine’s father, an eyepatch-wearing former paratrooper and gleeful racist, who famously called the Holocaust a “detail” of history—had been polling a weak fourth.