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5.10.2017

Brigitte Macron & French Electibility

I was just amazed to learn a few days ago that the wife of France's new President is in fact 24 years old than he, and that they met and fell in love when he was only 15.

In addition to being very unusual, the marriage seems to be a factor that could easily preclude electability.  Generally, I mean to say, a political figure needs to exude an aura of normalcy; and a traditional marriage (where the spouses are much closer in age) would be part and parcel to his/her public image.

I wondered if this attitude I have towards traditional marriage and family and electability is a US-centric idea, and prompted me to do a little research.

Only one bachelor has ever been elected US President (James Buchanan), and every other president has been married--four of them were widowers when elected (Andrew Jackson was a widower when inaugurated, but not when elected).  Additionally, only two US presidents have been divorced (Trump twice, and Reagan once).  So yes, generally speaking, US presidents present a VERY traditional family front.

In France, the most modern presidents--post 1995--have had much less traditional domestic situations, having been married or partnered several times, and some not being married, but rather partnered, to the person who the were with when elected.  However, before 1995, the relationship status of the French President seemed much more traditional (only one spouse, and married at the time of election).

In conclusion, I suppose I'm saying that perhaps Macron would not have been able to
No, she's not his mother.  She's his wife.
pull off being elected with Brigitte by his side prior to 1995, but that in the past 20 years, the standards for relationships have changed, and a traditional marriage in France is not longer criteria for electability.

However, I'm not entirely convinced something like this would be accepted by the electorate in the US.  Of course, we have just elected a president who's been divorced twice, and who's wife is 23 years old than he is, but......hm, maybe the wife 24 years older is on a level more unusual than a husband being older.

What I mean to say is that I think a vein of tradition and conservatism runs deeper in the US than in Europe.  It appears that current US presidents have gone to great length to present an air of normalcy to their families; Obama, it appears, concealed the fact that his father was in fact the much older friend of his birth mother (Frank Marshall Davis, not Barack Obama), and Clinton, as he says in My Life, had his wife change her name to Hillary Clinton (she'd formerly kept her maiden name Rodham) in order to make him more electable after he lost the race as Governor of Arkansas.  He wanted to make her look like a more traditional wife, as after speaking with people in the state, he understood that they didn't like the way she'd kept her maiden name.

Well, there's no real way of knowing.  That's just my guess at the barometer of the state of things here in the US.

And all politics aside, Macron's marriage is just so strange--to have fallen in love at 15?!  For real?  Hm, what an interesting character he is, Emmanuel Macron.  

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