Royal's Defeat: Au Revoir to Sisterhood
Pivotal moments in history are rarely recognizable at the time, but the 2007 French presidential election will most certainly turn out to be one of them. Hurtling down the path of economic stagnation, multicultural crisis and Atlantic isolationism, France has been rescued from oblivion -- by none other than the French.
The victory of reform-minded, pro-American, center-right Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, over the backward-looking Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal spoke to the people's discontent at the direction of their country. When a significant portion of the population has to exit in order to make a living and Paris suburbs have become no-go zones filled with chaos and burning vehicles, it's clearly time for change. And that's exactly what the French chose at the polls.
French women made their will known by bucking prevailing wisdom. Royal was much touted as a "feminist icon" in the lead-up to the election, but when it came down to it, a majority of female voters went with her male rival, Sarkozy. In doing so, they exposed the folly of applying identity politics to elections. The belief that a member of a particular gender, ethnic or religious group will vote only for a fellow member of said group is much in vogue these days. But most women don't vote for a candidate simply because she's a woman. They vote for the candidate who best represents their political interests and in whom they have the most confidence.
To read the rest of my latest column, go to SFGate.com.
Update (5/17): I'm proud to say that this article garnered me my very first mention in James Taranto's "Best of the Web" (at the WSJ's OpinionJournal.com). Like myself, Taranto questions the assumption that female voters will vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she's a woman. The item is titled "It's Raining Men" and can be read here.