Saturday, May 21

Eugénie Bastié’s editorial: “Will Omicron serve Emmanuel Macron?”

In her editorial on Wednesday, December 22, Eugénie Bastié, journalist at Le Figaro, looks back on the fifth wave of Covid-19, and its possible role in the presidential election.

The ace ! This is the third election that we will experience under barrier gestures, after the municipal elections of 2020 and the regional ones of 2021. Given the panic on board that reigns, what awaits us is probably a campaign where traditional techniques will be abandoned: goodbye baths crowds, market towing, imposing meetings, direct contact with voters … hello virtual campaign, TV sets and social networks. You will tell me, will this really change anything? Not sure.

If the recent meeting of Eric Zemmour showed a demonstration of physical force which raised the bar of his campaign somewhat, it has been a long time since politics are played mainly in the media. We have long since entered the era of what Régis Debray calls the hypersphere, the horizontal media coverage of politics without all the traditional tools such as parties, packed rooms, pennants. Is this virtual campaign likely to increase abstention? Certainly.

We remember that the popular classes who did not come last June for the municipal elections. Their lack of mobilization had mainly harmed the National Rally. Does this mean that the context of the health crisis benefits those providing care, and therefore could ultimately serve Emmanuel Macron in the countryside? “The regions have simply been frozen by the Covid crisis, Macron confided to Guillaume Tabard du Figaro. All of the graduates have been returned, whether they are from the right or from the left, which proves that the regions have not had a partisan verdict. ” This is his reading… But it is true that the political demobilization was real, with a participation rate of only 35%.

But to attribute it only to the Covid would be to underestimate the real reasons for abstention: the disinterest of citizens in public affairs, the feeling of powerlessness. The presidential election, which mobilizes more voters, relies on other sources and can mobilize non-voters. But above all, any real resumption of the epidemic can call into question one of the major assets of Emmanuel Macron in the campaign, on which he had insisted a lot in his last interventions: the “happy economy”, that is – that is to say the fact despite the crisis, the economic indicators are for the moment green.

Hence the implementation of a form of “whatever costs the reverse”, as Arthur Berdah remarks in Le Figaro: it is no longer a question of stopping the economy in order to save health, but of pushing the health pass further to save the economy at all costs.

The risk is also a form of weariness which we do not know what political outlet it will take: desire for alternation to turn the page of a five-year term associated with an interminable crisis or legitimist reflex towards continuity? “We know how an angry country votes, (…) but not how a tired country votes” said an adviser to Macron in the JDD.

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