The French – apart from Le Pen supporters – back Biden

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PARIS – There are a lot of American-style dinners and bars in major French cities, and they reported that four years ago shattering election nights.

Some stayed open all night to broadcast Donald Trump’s election as President, with viewers – whether French or expatriate Americans – describing it as one of the most extraordinary and (it must be said) most entertaining political dramas of all time.

Old Glory flew cafe awnings, and the star-spangled banner could be heard blaring from sound systems as revelers cheered or booed the outcome of each count.

None of this can happen in 2020, as France is in full lockdown from the coronavirus, with all restaurants, cafes and bars from Paris to Marseille closed at least until early December.

A general sense of stillness and gloom nationwide has been intensified by thousands of additional soldiers and police on the streets following a series of horrific Islamist terrorist attacks carried out by lone knives.

This means election night viewers must stay home to watch the contest, while being barred from hosting any festivities involving more than a handful of family members or others they live with.

All French broadcasters will nevertheless offer dedicated programs from the early hours of Wednesday morning, local time, to take into account the time difference.

France has traditionally been very interested in the political fortunes of its former ally, despite relations becoming very icy under the Trump administration.

Like everywhere else in Europe, Trump’s approval rate was less than 25% in France at the start of his tenure, although he had a few fans in Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party.

The far-right party, which used to be called the National Front, has always been a natural ally of Trump’s Republican Party due to their reactionary views divided on topics ranging from immigration to climate change.

These differences were politely played down by French President Emmanuel Macron during his first visit to Paris in July 2017. Brigitte Macron – but it didn’t last long.

At the end of 2018, Trump was launching fierce attacks on Macron for everything from tariffs to France’s surrender to the Nazis at the start of World War II.

The wickedness bottomed out around the time of the centennial commemorations of the end of World War I, when Trump tweeted that the French were “starting to learn German before the United States arrived.”

A spokesperson for Macron tried to be as diplomatic as possible about the insult, suggesting the line was ‘made for Americans’.

Such episodes alone imply that the vast majority of the French are hoping for a victory for Biden this time around, although there is little chance of rejoicing if it does.

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