Saturday, April 1, 2017

James Traub on Mélenchon

James Traub has a good article on Mélenchon in Foreign Policy, painting him as the candidate of romantic revolutionary nostalgia.

What has happened to Hamon is a pity. After delivering the best speech of his life and perhaps the best speech of this campaign, he had a lackluster debate performance and began to sink in the polls. Mélenchon now seems likely to finish ahead of him. But there is much more to build on in Hamon's version of ecosocialism, for all its flaws, than in Mélenchon's.


Anonymous said...

Another issue is that Melenchon is not interested in governing/governance.

bernard said...

A presidential election is a cruel experience. Every time I see Hamon on TV, he appears to me wooden, out of his depth, hard to concentrate on whatever he is saying. And so, Hamon is sinking the great socialist party, that's what he will be remebered for.

Lapinot said...

I've liked Hamon but he's beginning to irritate me.

His complaining about Macron's supposed dishonesty isn't going to benefit him; he's finished as far as this election goes. But it can still benefit Le Pen, surely?

Not that there's likely to be much swapping between the Macron and Le Pen voter pools but surrounding Macron with campaign accusations of dishonesty plays into Le Pen's self-portrayal as the anti-establisment candidate.

Macron should have enough to win anyway but what if the polls are very wrong and a few of (for example) those Melenchon supporters who think it's acceptable to refuse to choose between Macron and Le Pen keep thinking that way because of petty sniping?

Jean said...

The collapse of the PS is what happened to Hamon, but to be fair he somehow deserves it: being a "frondeur" but staying within the Socialist Party was a dangerous gamble, both for him and for the party. Both of them lost.

@Lapinot: Macron at the second round is all but certain at this stage. And being the target of the other candidates (Hamon, Fillon, ...) will likely benefit Macron. This happened during the US Republican primaries: everybody was racing against Trump, placing Trump at the center of the attention and enabling him to win. The same is happening here, with the question slowly drifting away from "who do I think would be the best president among all candidates?" to "do I like/dislike Macron?".

Also, for everybody interested in the horse race here: I made a small website for my friends last week (in French), where people can enter their predictions about the presidential election results. The goal is to compare the accuracy of these predictions with the polls, and with the results when they will be known. I would be glad if Art and the wise commentators of this blog could join and give their predictions :) . (the link is on my name if you are interested)

Anonymous said...

I am a center-right voter, but I give Hamon credit for raising some issues presciently. Sometimes a failing candidacy has value because it injects ideas into the political mainstream that would otherwise never have gotten a hearing --such as Hamon's mention in the first debate of the risk of refugees driven far from their homelands by climate change. I am not convinced of the value of the "tax on robots" he proposed, but the Left will rebuild if it has any ideas to offer, and Hamon has put forward at least two. He was, after all, a "bolt from the blue", the unexpected winner of the PS primary. He has conducted himself credibly under impossible odds.

St Alamowitch said...

I don't understand how anyone could feel sympathy or mercy for B. Hamon, not to mention how anyone could vote for him. Hamon is a midlevel politician with a very weak intellectuel background - hence his silly tax on robots. We have less robots than comparable countries, less than in Germany, and French companies need to Invest a lot in robots. He also want to reduce the "temps de travail" to 32 hours per week.  if he is elected, the likely outcome is either the IMF in Paris within 24 months or the transformation of France into a nice vacation country for Northern European tourists. Nothing he's proposing is going to improve the life of the working class or the life of the non European youth who desperately needs to work and asks for inclusion. After the primaries, Hamon had to call upon Piketty, a real economist but with a very weak political vision, to gain some gravitas. 
(I don't mention here my criticisms of Hamon's position of "laïcité". US readers wil not understand them. Suffice to say that many feminists will not vote for Hamon).