Benoit Hamon, the recently nominated Socialist candidate, is struggling to find unity within his own party. Today’s topic of dissensions: his campaign tactics.
In search of the “Invisibles”
The Socialist candidate has long been known as the person who wants to bring faith back to the “invisibles”. For a long time now, he has mentioned this part of the French electorate who would rather not go to vote on elections days and suffer from the resultant policies.
He first mentioned the term “invisible” in September last year during a popular TV Show called “On n’est pas couchés”. During this interview, he explained that the debate does not tackle the real issues faced by the “invisibles”. In the extract below, he reacts to the famous ‘Burkini’ case that gathered a lot of attention last summer.
“For a single middle-aged woman with two children who struggles to pay her rent, to offer the education her kids deserve, who does not see the help that the State promised to her, she switches on the TV and hears about the ‘Burkini’. How stupid is that? Don’t you realise that this debate is completely irrelevant for the millions of people like her? Today the debate has shifted, and puts the identical question at the front and the social debate at the back.”
To counter this trend, he dedicated his campaign to these people. He travels around the country and meets people either early in the morning or very late at night. Hamon goes in the poorest and most rural area of the country, where the other candidates simply do not go. For many observers, it reflects the characteristics of a “simple and honest” man.
As seen in the Tweet below, we can see how Hamon wants to be as close as possible to the people and their daily lives.
“Difficult to defend the program and the strategy of Hamon” : Why is this an issue?
Such a tactic has been criticised within his own party. As we mentioned before, Hamon is faced with the difficult task of saving a party split in two with more to separate than to unite. According to the critics, these visits do not attract many media coverage, as they are neither in popular places nor at times when it is easy to bring a big audience. Criticisms have been raised by the fringe of the Socialist Party who supported former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, defeated in the final round of the primaries last month.
Jean-Luc Gagnaire, MP and former Valls supporter declared in a tweet that it has become “difficult to defend the program and the strategy of Hamon”. Around the benches of the “Assemblée Nationale”, the MPs who gathered around the former PM are heavily implying that they could move towards Emmanuel Macron and his En Marche movement.
With only 70 days to go the first round of the election, much more needs to happen if the Socialist candidate wants to beat the odds and spring a surprise. His quiet and different campaign seems to be pleasing people as a recent poll shows that since his election, he has already gained 10 points. Nevertheless, he is still occupying the fourth spot way behind Le Pen and Macron but also just behind François Fillon despite the turmoil that challenges him at this moment in time.