Cue the black swan

Robert Mackey at The Intercept

Marine Le Pen was caught using stirring language in an address to supporters that was copied straight from a speech given two weeks ago by François Fillon, a defeated rival, her campaign aides claimed that the uncredited “reprise” was not plagiarism but a form of tribute to the eliminated candidate’s ideas about French identity.

How Le Pen Could win
, Politico European edition, Nicholas Vinocur

...Le Pen is the candidate who will protect the French.

Devised by Le Pen’s strategic campaign committee and chief polling analyst Damien Philippot (the brother of influential party VP Florian Philippot), it’s an ultra-simple idea that can appeal to both right- and left-wing voters.

“We needed something that got to everyone,” said Bertrand Dutheil de la Rochère, a senior campaign aide. “She has to talk to the left and the right at the same time. But she can’t ask left-wingers to switch off the TV while she talks to the right, so we came up with protection.”

“It’s the same message as before  — but simpler. And it speaks to everyone because first and foremost the French want to be protected by the state against competition, against terrorism, against mass immigration.”...


...Le Pen’s campaign team is focusing on getting millions of Mélenchon supporters, similar to Bernie Sanders’ people in the U.S., to abstain in the final election round.

She is already getting plenty of help from the so-called “neither-nor” movement that sprung up in the wake of Mélenchon’s defeat. It’s based on the 36 percent of Mélenchon backers who are undecided and oppose both Le Pen and Macron for president.

Le Pen wants to fuel their hatred of Macron, regardless of whether they back her. As a result, she is turning up the heat on her rival, slamming him as a “narcissistic” banker, a product of unpopular President François Hollande and a nasty capitalist bent on waging “lightning war” on workers’ rights.
Her campaign is also circulating a leaflet that aims to suppress potential support for Macron. Listing points of agreement between Le Pen and Mélenchon especially on social issues, it concludes with the following message: “Don’t vote for Macron.”

The suppression tactic echoes Trump’s campaign strategy. By targeting potential Hillary Clinton supporters with negative material in crucial states, the Republican candidate swung the vote in his direction. Le Pen wants to do the same...


Le Pen started to believe she could win the presidential election around the time Fillon started to collapse under the weight of repeated scandals, party officials said.

But senior aides aren’t necessarily convinced. “I’m like you. I see the polls. It’s going to be difficult,” said one.

Absent a clear path to victory, there is still a chance that a “Black Swan” event could tilt the election in her favor.

One possibility is a dump of compromising documents on Macron as a result of a hack of his campaign communications not unlike what befell Clinton’s campaign just before the November election. His staffers’ email accounts are under constant “phishing” attacks and the group reportedly responsible for most of the attacks is the same Russian outfit that went after Clinton’s emails, according to web analytics firm Trend Micro.

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