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5/2/17

France: Remember how Hillary lost ? - Beware Macron - Le Pen could win by doing a Trump on you

Macron beware: "It ain't over till (or until) the fat lady sings"
Politico reports: "Marine Le Pen needs a perfect political storm to help her win the French presidency on Sunday.

She aims to provoke it by kicking up rage at her centrist rival, discouraging leftists from voting and winning over millions of disappointed conservatives by convincing them that her plans for the European Union are less worrying than they might think.

Le Pen knows that victory remains a long shot. Six days before the final vote, polls show her trailing rival Macron by 15 to 20 percentage points, a wider gap than the one separating Donald Trump from Hillary Clinton at this stage in the U.S. race. Le Pen needs to win over millions of new votes to win, a tough sell for a lifetime outsider. Most of the French don’t see it happening: just 15 percent see Le Pen as “la présidente,” according to an Ifop poll last week.

Whatever the odds, Le Pen will fight hard until the last minute. But she is also hoping for a nod from fate. One major chance for Le Pen to change the race’s dynamic is a live debate Wednesday when she plans to “expose” her rival as a banker working against France.

Le Pen campaigned ahead of the election’s first round on the idea that she was offering voters a binary choice between “economic patriotism” over unbridled globalization.

The problem was that the message was lost on many of her core voters. Le Pen bled support for the first three months of the year. Her first-round score of around 21 percent came in several percentage points below what polls were predicting for her last January.

The analysis by her party’s own experts reportedly showed that the choice between globalization and economic patriotism — free trade and open borders versus Le Pen’s plans for withdrawal from trade agreements and more border restrictions — presented a too-abstract choice and one significantly misinterpreted by the party’s core supporters, made up of working class voters, party officials told POLITICO. Some missed the precise meaning of globalization and misunderstood “economic patriotism” as meaning that Le Pen meant rolling back checks and balances in the French Republic.

Enter a much simpler message: Le Pen is the candidate who will protect the French.

Devised by Le Pen’s strategic campaign committee and chief polling analyst Damien Philippot (the brother of influential party VP Florian Philippot), it’s an ultra-simple idea that can appeal to both right- and left-wing voters.

“We needed something that got to everyone,” said Bertrand Dutheil de la Rochère, a senior campaign aide. “She has to talk to the Left and the Right at the same time. But she can’t ask left-wingers to switch off the TV while she talks to the Right, so we came up with protection.”

“It’s the same message as before  — but simpler. And it speaks to everyone because first and foremost the French want to be protected by the state against competition, against terrorism, against mass immigration.”

Addressing supporters in Villepinte near Paris Sunday, Le Pen vowed to be the “president who protects” French citizens, “notably women,” but also the environment, national borders and “the solidarity that exists between all French people.” The message, tailored for mass appeal, is a departure from earlier speeches that emphasized a clash with Brussels and targeted Macron — whom she called “the candidate of finance.”

Here is a guide to Le Pen’s strategy for the final days.

1) Le Pen campaigned ahead of the election’s first round on the idea that she was offering voters a binary choice between “economic patriotism” over unbridled globalization.

The problem was that the message was lost on many of her core voters. Le Pen bled support for the first three months of the year. Her first-round score of around 21 percent came in several percentage points below what polls were predicting for her last January.

The analysis by her party’s own experts reportedly showed that the choice between globalization and economic patriotism — free trade and open borders versus Le Pen’s plans for withdrawal from trade agreements and more border restrictions — presented a too-abstract choice and one significantly misinterpreted by the party’s core supporters, made up of working class voters, party officials told POLITICO. Some missed the precise meaning of globalization and misunderstood “economic patriotism” as meaning that Le Pen meant rolling back checks and balances in the French Republic.

Enter a much simpler message: Le Pen is the candidate who will protect the French.

Devised by Le Pen’s strategic campaign committee and chief polling analyst Damien Philippot (the brother of influential party VP Florian Philippot), it’s an ultra-simple idea that can appeal to both right- and left-wing voters.

“We needed something that got to everyone,” said Bertrand Dutheil de la Rochère, a senior campaign aide. “She has to talk to the Left and the Right at the same time. But she can’t ask left-wingers to switch off the TV while she talks to the Right, so we came up with protection.”

“It’s the same message as before  — but simpler. And it speaks to everyone because first and foremost the French want to be protected by the state against competition, against terrorism, against mass immigration.”

Addressing supporters in Villepinte near Paris Sunday, Le Pen vowed to be the “president who protects” French citizens, “notably women,” but also the environment, national borders and “the solidarity that exists between all French people.” The message, tailored for mass appeal, is a departure from earlier speeches that emphasized a clash with Brussels and targeted Macron — whom she called “the candidate of finance.”

2) The protection message is similar to the argument that former President Nicolas Sarkozy made during his failed 2012 bid for re-election — and that may not be a coincidence.

Sarkozy remains popular among conservatives, particularly in the south where Le Pen has room to grow. She knows that many conservatives who backed François Fillon in the first round miss Sarkozy. So Le Pen is giving them Sarkozy with a side of nationalism by co-opting his message. She is also emphasizing campaign proposals that “Sarko” fans will remember: arming municipal cops and changing engagement rules so police can shoot first at perceived threats.

The Sarkozy-signalling is part of a broader plan to sweep up undecided conservatives. Le Pen is set to inherit about 30 percent of votes for Fillon versus 41 percent going to Macron. Thirty percent of Fillon voters remain undecided."

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