Source: "Les magnifiques"
Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République en Marche! (LRM) created just 14 months ago, took 32% of the vote, ten points ahead of the Republicans. This puts it on course to win a crushing majority at the run-off with more than 400 of the 577 National Assembly seats (see chart)—one of the biggest under the Fifth Republic—that would squeeze the Republicans, sideline the far right and far left, and all but wipe out the Socialist Party, which could lose 90% of its seats. Macron's underlying idea is that the big forces shaping the future—technology, the freelance economy, the environment—no longer fall neatly into the old ideological divide between left and right. By seeking out like-minded people across the spectrum, he has sought to realign politics along a new fault line: between those in favor of an open society, trade, markets and Europe; and, on the other side, nationalists advocating protectionism and identity politics.
Attitudes to Europe measure this new split. A recent poll asked if voters would regret the end of the European Union. As Gérard Grunberg, a political scientist, points out, a majority of Socialist, LRM and Republican supporters said they would; most of the far left and far right would not. The former, drawn from across the party divide, make up the backbone of Mr Macron’s post-partisan support. Dismayed by politicians’ failure to curb the rise of Ms Le Pen’s FN, he argued that confidence in mainstream politics would be restored only by closer, more meaningful links between deputies and voters. “What doesn’t work anymore is the party system,” he told The Economist last year: “We need to find far more direct forms of exchange with people.” He launched En Marche! last April to that effect, using social media to spread the movement, drawing people into politics who had previously been put off by the sect-like approach to party activism.