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Anne-Élisabeth Moutet: The French State of Play

A year out from the runoff, the 2022 French presidential race has already the look of the tightest one yet in Fifth Republic history. Polling gaps between the two candidates most guaranteed the spot of runners-up—President Emmanuel Macron of En Marche and the far-right National Rally's Marine Le Pen—keep oscillating capriciously, in keeping with a volatile news cycle rocked by France's culture wars and the Covid-19 pandemic. But the overall trend is one of tightening, with said gap recently estimated to have narrowed down to the demographic weight of a mid-sized city like Marseille. Upon surveying the deep sources of Macron's rise to power in 2017, Anne-Élisabeth Moutet, longtime columnist at the Daily Telegraph and commentator on French life for British and American media, untangles the evolving set of cleavages set to dominate the 2022 race.