For Macron, the objective these days will be to convince voters, apathetic and without the energy of 2017, that he has a vision for France and that his proposal is not more of the same after five years marked by social unrest and the pandemic.
He will insist that, in a context of war in Europe, he can be trusted to manage the crises of the coming years. And he will try to portray Le Pen as an inexperienced candidate in management, a friend of Vladimir Putin’s Russia in international politics and far-right in ideology. Her accession to her power, the Macronists will argue, would represent a danger to France and Europe.
Le Pen’s objective these two weeks will be, on the one hand, to capture the vote of discomfort and discontent with a president that a part of the population sees as an elitist and arrogant man who despises them. And on the other, to strengthen an image that he has been cultivating for years and that in this campaign seems to have connected with a significant part of the electorate.
She presents herself as a leader close to ordinary French people, kind and humane. She is as far removed from the style and rhetoric often associated with the historic far right—aggressive and xenophobic—as she is from recent populist leaders like Donald Trump, who seized power through outbursts and provocations.
Le Pen, say some experts, has become “chiraquido”, a neologism that alludes to Jacques Chirac, president between 1995 and 2007, a moderate conservative and remembered by the French for his bonhomie and proximity to the people. All of Macron’s effort will consist of deshiraking it these days, and Le Pen’s, in becoming even more ridiculous.