Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

Another Strange French Disaster

France is not in a mere crisis in the run-up to its presidential election next month. Its citizens' relationship to politics suggests that it is in the last stages of what the great anti-Nazi historian Marc Bloch called, in 1940, his nation’s “strange defeat.”

PARIS – The “hunger games” aspect of this French election cycle began on the left. President François Hollande was brought down by his own Socialist Party. Hollande’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, became the second course at the cannibals’ banquet.

By then, the corpse of one of France’s two major parties, no longer merely supine, had reached an advanced state of decomposition. Now, at the very moment when one might expect a presidential candidate to tell the nation what he thinks of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Islamic radicals, the Socialist candidate, the wan Benoît Hamon, finds nothing better to talk about than legal marijuana, red sludge, and endocrine disruptors.

On the right, the disaster is just now cresting. Early on, former president Nicolas Sarkozy was eliminated. Former Prime Minister Alain Juppé, after being crowned virtual president for much of last year, was toppled by those who had adored him. And, in the wake of the scandal surrounding François Fillon, the Republican nominee and the man who defeated him, Juppé lost his nerve and on March 6 definitively quit the race.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/XnkMXeO;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.