Would Le Pen Be President of France if France Used Our Election System?

We use party primaries, followed by a single-round general election. Matt Yglesias speculates that, in our system, Le Pen would have won the primary among the party on the right, while Mélenchon would have won the primary among the party on the left — with Macron voters split between those two parties, given the various policy positions of these candidates. In a general election between Le Pen and Mélenchon, Le Pen would have been likely to prevail, given the distribution of votes among various parties of the left and right in the first round of the French election.

Of course, these counterfactuals are always uncertain, given that candidates, parties, and voters would alter their behavior under a different set of electoral structures. Still, it’s interesting to speculate how much these different institutional-design structures for elections influences the types of candidates who are likely to prevail.

The U.S. election structure most closely analogous to the French system is probably the Top-Two primary structure used in CA and WA.

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