France: Le second souffle de la campagne de Hollande
Since the rally of the Bourget, Hollande’s campaign has slowed down a bit. This is normal. A presidential electoral campaign is long and has a life of its own punctuated by a certain rhythm. No one can wage an earth-scorching, barn-burning, flag-waving, walls-shaking nonstop campaign. The base would tire and the media would lose interest. So, it is important to have peaks and valleys in a campaign; even more accurately, it is important to chose when to slow down, when to peak, and when to crush the gas pedal to finish the campaign at the top.
However, with the chaotic entrance of Sarkozy in the campaign and his one-announcement-per-day blitzkrieg style and his omnipresence in the media, Hollande was compelled to regain the momentum by increasing not only the rhythm of his campaign, but also by infusing a dose of enthusiasm in his base to foster a greater of mobilization for the first round. This is exactly what Hollande has done this week so far. He started the week by announcing an important endorsement of a serious and highly respected politician–Jean-Pierre Chevènement–and then by holding an important rally in Marseille where he delivered a new stump speech–a sharper stump speech aimed at mobilizing the base and at attacking Sarkozy’s record as well as his numerous, inflammatory, and contradictory campaign promises.
The most important sentence delivered by Hollande in his speech is this: “Pourquoi voulez-vous qu’il fasse dans les cinq prochaine années ce qu’il n’a pas été capable de faire les cinq dernières années?” Hollande here is borrowing from Ronald Reagan who in his closing statement in the last presidential debate that opposed him to the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter, delivered a knockout punch by asking the following: “Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the store than four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment than there was four years ago?” Reagan’s rhetorical questions pierced Carter’s presidency, highlighted the failures of his tenure, tightly linked the incumbent to his record, and helped Reagan to draw a sharp contrast between his vision for the future and Carter’s record.
Here is the closing statement of Ronald Reagan in the 1980 second presidential debate
I think Hollande has just regained the momentum again and i will predict that we will see a slight bump in his numbers in the next couple of weeks. Briefly stated, i think the real campaign has just started, and the next 5 weeks will be a mad dash to the finish line.
Here is the speech delivered March 14 at Marseille.