Right and Left React to France’s Election

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David French would likely agree with Mr. Benkof’s diagnosis of the religious liberty order but draws a different conclusion about what it means for President Trump’s fidelity to his campaign promises. Echoing other writers on the right, Mr. French is frustrated that the order does little to address what he sees as real threats to religious freedom. Repealing restrictions on churches’ participation in politics or overturning regulations against the “contraception mandate” cannot be accomplished by executive order, Mr. French reminds his readers, but with legislative power. Read more »



Marine Le Pen conceded defeat in the French presidential election on Sunday. Credit Charles Platiau/Reuters

Noah Millman in The American Conservative:

“You can’t crow about the decisive defeat of a symptom. You can only be pleased when the disease itself goes into remission.”

Noah Millman warns his readers not to draw too many firm conclusions about Emmanuel Macron’s defeat of Marine Le Pen in France’s election this weekend. The roots of populist discontent that propelled Ms. Le Pen to the fore have not magically disappeared with Mr. Macron’s victory. And Mr. Milliman is skeptical that the solutions neoliberalism provides are an adequate cure for what ails the French people. Read more »


Erick Erickson in The Resurgent:

“Ossification has set in within the conservative movement.”

Erick Erickson is worried about the state of conservatism. A staunch never-Trump-er, he worries that, just as some Republicans justified the Bush administration’s “big government agenda,” too many today are willing to “put the square peg of Trumpism into the round hole of conservatism.” Read more »


From the Left


Emmanuel Macron won a resounding victory in the French presidential election on Sunday. Credit David Ramos/Getty Images

Heather Hurlburt in New York Magazine:

“The National Front is not going away, and neither are the issues that fueled its rise.”

Heather Hurlburt shares Noah Millman’s view that Mr. Macron’s victory is less than decisive. Liberals, she writes, should not celebrate the election results for too long. Mr. Macron’s party does not have the candidates or nationwide infrastructure of the National Front, and his government is built on a shaky coalition that should make “Macron fans sober up fast Monday morning.” Read more »


John Nichols in The Nation:

“This election was not really about Macron. It was about the threat posed by a far-right fantasy that never ends well.”

This is about as full-throated a defense of centrism as you’ll get in the pages of The Nation. Although he finds it “profoundly frustrating” that France’s left-wing parties couldn’t put up a candidate for the country’s runoff election, John Nichols is nonetheless optimistic about Mr. Macron’s victory.

Unlike Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Millman, Mr. Nichols sees the broad coalition of voters who supported the centrist candidate as a rejection of the populism that ushered in “Brexit” and the Trump presidency. Moreover, the American left, he notes, should be particularly happy that France did not vote for someone who would work as “Trump’s ally or enabler.” Read more »



A Trump supporter demonstrating on Saturday in Bedminster, N.J., near where President Trump was staying. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Bill Scher in Real Clear Politics:

“Conservatives are more defined by what they oppose than what they support.”

Why don’t President Trump’s supporters abandon him when he fails to keep campaign promises? Bill Scher argues that legislative victories matter less to his base than the president’s willingness to take on the right opponents: the media, “elites” and the Democrats. The only problem with this strategy? It doesn’t win the president any of the new voters he might need for the next election. Read more »


Jacob Bacharach in Jacobin:

“The Democratic Party is a ghost — diaphanous, spooky, and utterly unable to interact with the actual world.”

While Erick Erickson diagnoses his side of the ideological divide with ossification, Jacob Bacharach contends that the Democratic Party is already dead. The elites of the party, Mr. Bacharach writes, are devoid of ideals and ideas save one: Be scared of Republicans. Read more »



A sign welcoming visitors to public lands near Burns, Ore. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

And Finally, From the Center:

Hal Herring and JR Sullivan with T. Edward Nickens and Josh Parks in Field and Stream:

“States are trying to wrench control of public lands from the federal government in order to drill, mine, sell off, andultimately — steal our national sporting heritage.”

The battle over who should control public lands — the federal government or the state — has been raging since before President Trump took office, and his administration has so far sent mixed signals about its policy. If you’re a hunting or fishing enthusiast, however, writers for Field and Stream think you should support federal control over public lands. Here, in charts and maps that explain how the current laws affect sportsmanship across the country, they lay out a case for public lands to remain in public hands. Read more »


George Lakoff in conversation with Daphne White in Berkeleyside:

“It is a myth that the truth will set us free.”

George Lakoff is a newly-retired professor of cognitive science and linguistics, which is perhaps why Democratic operatives didn’t listen to him when he predicted President Trump’s victory in 2016. For over a decade, Mr. Lakoff has been arguing that “voters don’t vote their self-interest, they vote their values,” and that two distinct and often unspoken worldviews divide conservatives from progressives. If Democrats want to appeal to swing voters, Mr. Lakoff claims that they must dispose with an Enlightenment worldview dictated by logic and rules and embrace a rhetoric that trades on metaphor and emotion. Read more »



Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke at a conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., last week. Credit Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Perry Bacon Jr. and Dhrumil Mehta in FiveThirtyEight:

“Figuring out who will win the election is complicated. It may be even more difficult to figure out who is running.”

It’s never too early to start speculating about who will run in 2020. At least not for the folks at FiveThirtyEight who deployed some sophisticated data science to determine, with varying degrees of precision, the seven signs that someone will run for president during the next election cycle. After reading the piece, you’ll most likely read a lot into Joe Biden’s next trip to Iowa. Read more »


Tim Alberta in Politico:

My hypothesis is that 80 percent of Americans are around the center — 40 percent left of center, 40 percent right of center — and they’re all persuadable.”

We occasionally use the “center” category to highlight profiles of up-and-coming political stars who defy, in some way, hardened partisan expectations and traits. In this feature for Politico Magazine, Tim Alberta identifies Representative Will Hurd of Texas as one such figure. As long as the 39-year-old black Republican can hold on to his majority-Hispanic district, he might even be the future of the G.O.P. Read more »


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