In today’s world, everything moves very quickly. The economic and financial crisis has set off a political crisis, latent or full-blown, in most Western countries. The values that were agreed upon are being profoundly and vehemently challenged by large sectors of the public opinion. The traditional parties are no longer all the rage; new political forces are emerging and sometimes winning. We are at the heart of a paradigm shift of which we have not heard the last. Instability reigns, and the winners quickly find themselves the focus of criticism. Those who celebrate victory quickly find themselves in a bad situation.
Take Brexit: On June 23, 2016, after a heated campaign, Britain voted 51.9 percent in favor of the U.K. exiting the EU. The supporters of “leave” exulted. Two and a half years later, the pro-Brexit camp still doesn’t have their victory: the pioneers of sovereignty have discretely withdrawn from the political scene; the conservatives are incapable of finding a majority in Parliament. The specter of a “hard Brexit” haunts the British. Theresa May suffers the worst humiliation.
Macron unites a quarter of electors
In the U.S., the situation is just as chaotic. After his surprise victory on Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump pushed his fiscal reform through, but today, he has some worrying to do. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry constitutes a potential “sword of Damocles” mishap; the Republicans lost the midterm elections, and the president is enraged about not being able to construct his wall. After one month of the government shutdown, there is no solution in sight.
The last textbook case is France. Triumphantly elected to the presidency with nearly two-thirds of the vote, thanks to the “anybody but Marine le Pen” knee-jerk reaction, Emmanuel Macron saw his movement win the majority in the National Assembly. His government won a double confrontation with the unions and a restless France. Macron’s position is nevertheless fragile: Only a quarter of electors, those that voted for him in the first round, really agree with his ambitious reform agenda. For more than six months, the Jupiterian president has been under pressure. First, he stumbled on the Benalla affair; then the descent into hell began: Wanting to compensate for the financial losses resulting from the abolition of the ISF by an increase in fuel taxes and a non-indexation of pensions, he is met with one of those plebeian insurrections for which France has the formula.
Everyone has lost
In these three cases, popular verdicts constituting historic ruptures have unleashed major political crises. The conquerors of yesterday are henceforth paralyzed. The most striking thing is that, basically everyone has lost, but nobody seems able to win. In England, the British conservatives are on the brink of implosion, but the Labor Party is just as divided. Concerning Brexit, all outcomes are conceivable, including the organization of a second referendum. Meanwhile, the growth of the English economy is falling even before its exit from the European Union. In the U.S., Trump is in trouble, but nobody knows if the Democrats will find a candidate capable of defeating him in the next presidential election. In the meantime, the trade war has slowed China’s growth and, in turn, worldwide growth. American companies are starting to pay the price.
Finally, in France, Macron must retreat, but none of his political adversaries seem equal to uniting and personifying the general French despondency. The 2017 losers are not progressing in the polls. Woe to the conquerors, woe to the conquered!