Apparently, France had their run off between the Russia backed Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron during the weekend. The results of the election were shocking in a sense that it was a blow out. Macron won with 66% of the vote which if my math is correct is about a 2:1 ratio. This raises the questions of what does this mean?
The immediate reaction could be that the people of France are not as likely to fall for Russia’s meddling in elections and even that the French people are more intelligent than Americans. This simplistic analysis would have to make some assumptions that are dubious at best.
First, it can be said that the French paid attention to what happened in the United States and knew that attempts by Russia and WikiLeaks would be possible. When Le Pen paid Putin a visit earlier, it made it even more clear that such a scenario was possible. As expected, in the waning days of their election, WikiLeaks dumped emails from Macron (none from Le Pen) and there was evidence of bots pushing narratives based on those emails. Essentially, the same scenario that contributed to Clinton’s loss materialized against Macron.
Second, Macron was not a weak candidate in the way that Clinton was a weak candidate. From where I am sitting, Macron was not as much of a divisive figure as Clinton. Additionally, Macron did not have the problem with his opponents being able to spend the last 4-6 years finding ways to tear him down. He certainly did not have the unforced errors that Clinton has committed.
For whatever reason, the French people did not buy the fake news and propaganda issued by Russia and WikiLeaks and they made what was most likely the sane choice. Unfortunately, this election was only a minor setback for Russia’s Putin in his quest to dismantle the European Union.