Congratulations, France!

Belated congratulations to the people of France on Sunday’s election results. Hans reports that he has tossed his cup of hemlock down the sink. Meanwhile, Vasari, directs us to this column from David Leonhardt, remarking—possibly with tongue in cheek, or possibly not—that it’s nice to have the world explained in one column. Leonhardt writes,

The details are different in every country, but a theme cuts across much of the industrialized world. In France, Britain, Germany, Japan and the United States, the political left is struggling. It is struggling, in particular, to win over many working-class voters who were once its loyal supporters.

Yes, the French left — and much of the rest of the world, including me — is breathing a sigh of relief this morning, because Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, emerged from yesterday’s first round of the presidential election as an underdog to win. But Le Pen still has a path to victory, and that’s terrifying for many reasons.

She has a path partly because working-class French voters who supported the Socialist Party in past decades have drifted away from it. …

Beyond France, center-right parties have dominated politics recently in both Germany and Japan. The British Labour Party is so dysfunctional that it fumbled a chance to prevent Brexit, as Jonathan Freedland has explained in The New York Review of Books. One of the few exceptions to the left’s losing streak is Canada.

n the United States, of course, Democrats control neither the White House nor Congress. If you’re tempted to excuse this by noting that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, I’d point out that Democrats also hold only about one-third of state legislatures and governorships.

And an observation by yours truly, Aardvark, from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious: as return on capital increases globally and return on labor decreases globally, of course the working class will turn to tribalism and political charlatanism, unless and until the allegedly more responsible among the political class address the real economic concerns of the working class.

All that said, congratulations, France, on having dodged the bullet this time.