It’s the early morning hours of June 23, 2018. The US ambassador in Paris, a French-American businessmen and descendant of Georges Washington de La Fayette, takes a look out of the window of his Tesla official car. President Trump has recently issued a directive, replacing all vehicles used by US diplomatic missions with electric cars, products of American National Champions, like GM and Tesla. The ambassadors car passes by the Place d’ Iena and by the statute of George Washington and takes the Avenue du Président Willson heading for Élysée. He wants to be the first to congratulate the President of the French Republic Marion Anne Perrine Le Pen a.k.a Marine Le Pen, for the results of the referendum that took place the day before, June 22. The «OUI» to Frexit won by a landslide. She after all, has announced the referendum the same night of her electoral victory last year in May 7, 2017. She chose June 22 to mark the anniversary of the two capitulations of the French to the Germans (1918 and 1940). Earlier that night she wrote in her twitter account «Aujourd'hui l’histoire prend sa revanche! Vive la France Libre!» (Today history takes revenge! Long live Free France!). Frauke Petry the leader of the german Eurosceptic and right-wing party AfP, that entered the Bundestag for the first time in post WWII history twitted «Wir sind endlich allein!» (We are finally alone!). Angela Merkel who last September won narrowly her fourth term announced a press conference later this morning.
Mme Le Pen, the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen a former legionnaire and Pierrette Lalanne a posterm play-boy model, was a member of European Parliament since 2004 and leader of FN (Front National) since 2011, when she succeeded her father. From the early stages of the presidential campaign in 2017, she was a favorite to pass to the 2nd round of the elections and stay there! People (and pollsters) believed that she would repeat her fathers experience in 2002, when he passed to the second round against Jacques Chirac who at the end defeated him by a landslide. But back then, an international political climate dominated by Post-Brexit and the Trump-Wave, was unimaginable. François Fillon the nominee of the center-right party les Républicains and opponent of Mme Le Pen, could not unite the French center-right and (the divided) left. Promising more liberal policies, less public sector and more globalization he could not catch the zeitgeist. France gained the 3rd European woman head of state completing the troika of leading European powers leaders.
Just a few weeks after her inauguration, Madame la Président invited and had private meetings with the CEOs of most of the companies listed in CAC 40. The week before the referendum she visited the assembly lime of EADS in Marseille and the headquarters of Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company with the biggest capitalization in CAC 40 index, where she expressed her admiration for the «outstanding work of national importance». She also had several meetings with Serge Dassault, CEO of Dassault Group and both affirmed their commitment to promote French economic interest abroad. During those meetings and in several other occasions Mme Le Pen declared that she strongly believes in firms-National Champions and when France will be freed from «unjust and anti-sovereign» European regulations, the state will review the potentials of French multinationals and assist those who have the power and will to raise the tricolor abroad. As proof of her commitment to this cause, she underlined the fact that she persuaded several members of various board of directors of French companies to join her cabinet.
One of the first official visits of Mme Le Pen was at the Île Longue (Long Island) near Brest where the French nuclear submarines fleet is based. Onboard «Le Terrible» the newest SSBN she underlined that owing to the vision of General de Gaulle, France is now a formidable nuclear power and that «only power guaranties the respect and no one defends those who aren’t capable to defend by themselves». She characterized a mistake the reduction in half of Frances nuclear weapons after the end of the cold war and she promised not to reduce the percentage of the GDP (0,17% in 2015) dedicated to nuclear deterrence. She announced the promulgation within 2018 of the new White Paper on Defense and National Security, where the Le Pen Doctrine regarding the use of nuclear weapons will be detailed. On the issue of the civil use of nuclear power she said that France will not renounce its energy independence (73% of energy consumption in covered by nuclear power) and the only nuclear reactors that will be decommissioned will be those that have exited their life span. She will also be very proud to inaugurate at the beginning of 2019, the «jewelry of France’s nuclear engineering» the reactor 3 in Flamanville. Mme Le Pen also announced the revival of the PA-2 (Port Avion -2, Second Aircraft Carrier) project that was abandoned in 2013. Her name will be William The Conqueror, honoris causa to the victor of the battle of Hastings. She stressed the fact that the leading role in this project will be reserved for DCNS shipyards so the hard working people of Cherbourg and will not loose their jobs, sacrifice on the altar of profit maximization of some Anglo-Saxon industrialists.
The aforementioned future events constitute a scenario with less the 50% probability of materialization. Much of this percentage will depend on the Trump presidency .The French elections scheduled for the 23 April and the 7th of May, will be much influenced by Donald’s first 100-days period ending exactly at that period. The rhetoric of the neo-nationalism parties projects euroscepticism, antiglobalisation, economic protectionism in a frame of economic populism. On the other hand, maybe they represent an opportunity in disguise to readjust the course of economic globalization and attack some established practices of crony capitalism. Post-Brexit Britain as well as the Trump administration trajectory will set the pace. Given the fact that France has always been the focal point and the avant-garde in European affaires, the Battle for the French Presidency will be the «Mother of all Battles»
The news this week in the national press that voters in the recent Brexit referendum were only influenced to change their Referendum vote largely by three key people was instructive: ignoring David Cameron and his Government colleagues (irrespective of whether they Remainers or Leavers); ignoring the Labour Opposition and its confused mixed messages campaign; and ignoring “real experts”, such as the economists profession, political affairs academics, and UK Industry representatives bodies - instead - the three people who caused people to change their vote in the Referendum were (the now former) UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Prime Minister “wannabee” Boris Johnson, and US Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Eighteen months ago few foresaw that Donald Trump would become the Republican Party’s nominee for the Presidency of the United States of America. Similarly, as little as three months ago bookmakers were giving long odds on a vote by the British electorate to leave the European Union. How could the commentariat and the bookies have been so wrong.
A simplistic, persuasive, but incomplete analysis says that people are disenchanted with “professional” politicians who lack authenticity and therefore fail to connect with “real” people and that this true on both sides of the Atlantic. This is clearly a generalisation., but for it to gain traction and credibility there needs to be another ingredient. Something has changed about our expectations of politicians and this may be linked to the way we now receive information. New communications media have exposed an ever wider range of activities to instant reporting. Applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Instagram provide endless opportunities for individuals to report on their everyday lives with an immediacy which may invite comment, but which is untroubled by analysis and which focusses almost exclusively on how we feel..
The rise of Donald Trump, and perhaps also the success of the Brexit campaign, brings into focus the median voter theorem which has informed rational choice analysis in politics since the 1950s when an economics professor, The theorem is predicated on the assumption that people do not vote for policies which harm their own interest. We now witness that the expression of discontent over globalisation around the world is not be guided by the above postulate of rationality but by behavioural patterns reported by psychologists in their experiments on ultimatum games. These experiments suggest that people turn down even those offers that would make them better off if they perceive the distribution of gains as unfair. Many of those that vote for Trump would be worse off, certainly economically worse off, under a Trump presidency because his economic policies are whimsical and erratic. This renders traditional models unhelpful in making forecasts in this election. We shall presently come to the question of the potential outcome of the US presidential election in November, but first let us look at the Black’s median voter theorem, an idea underlying traditional forecasting models.