The art of ruining a deal

The former President of the Republic clearly does not accept the idea that his party can sign an electoral agreement under the banner of the Popular Union, and has decided to make it known! On Thursday morning, April 28, on franceInfo, he explicitly opposed these discussions, which would amount, according to him, to the disappearance of the Socialist Party. As for the reasons for his refusal, they are explicit. “If there is not a resurgence of the political parties that until now represented the bulk of the political spectrum, says François Hollande, andt well in 2027, you are now toujours Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon candidacy, and a central bloc candidate who will say: ‘you will go on ne peut prendre neither l’un ni l’autre, donc vous n’avez pas le option.”

The central bloc will inevitably be re-elected unless the traditional parties, first and foremost the Socialist Party, re-emerge as major political forces. That is why François Hollande rejects any agreement behind rebellious France. This is obviously a moot argument. By virtue of what could the Popular Union, or the National Association, not win an election? With what reasoning could the Socialist Party appear today, with its 1.5%, as the main force of the alternation? These are the questions that need to be answered, but François Hollande does not confront them for a single moment. He commits what is called, in rhetoric, a principle request. A fallacious reasoning that consists of taking as the starting point of the reasoning itself the conclusion that, precisely, should have been the object of a demonstration.

When he supports his reasoning, he is not much more rigorous. “Imagine, the Socialist Party disappears: what would be the alternative? On the left, it would be to confront the radical left with a program that we know perfectly well is not credible, Francois Hollande says. This means that the next government would be thinking of retiring at the age of 60. Everyone knows that it is financially impossible. It also means that we would put in the Sixth Republic when everyone knows that even if we have a majority in the National Assembly, it is not possible to change the constitution.

Here, there are important words that you may not have seen. Change the constitution to create the Sixth Republic? “Everybody knows” that’s impossible. Retirement at 60? “Everybody knows” that is unthinkable. The program of the insubordinate France? “We know perfectly well” which is not believable. “We know, everyone knows, everyone knows”, are phrases that introduce a very particular type of argument: appeals to common sense. These sentences would be so obvious that they would not need to be argued. Which is, of course, totally misleading. We can oppose the proposals put forward by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. We may think that they are not relevant. But to claim that they would not be credible? That would normally require a little more than three concise sentences. Throughout the interview, François Hollande basically assumes that La France insoumise would be illegitimate to carry the hopes of left-wing voters, never backing it up with an argument, and omitting the Socialist Party’s humiliating score on April 10.

As for the outcome of the presidential elections, for François Hollande, it is not his fault. “I have not been president for five years, do I have to remember dates? I necessarily have a part of responsibility, the rest of five years, the work should have been done by the socialist party. Incarnation has been lacking. A political party, or a candidate, is an incarnation. What I represent is not simply a story. It is a loyalty, it is a deep commitment that has wanted the socialist idea to make the progress of the Republic possible”.

There was not enough work within the party, the incarnations were missing: this is what would have led to this sorry score. As for him? He confesses apart of the responsibility, but which he immediately avoids, arguing that it would represent, above all, today, a link in the great socialist history. Therefore, at the end of this interview, we have the feeling that François Hollande lives in another world, where certain facts do not exist. A world where the Socialist Party had not gathered 1.5% of the vote. A world where the balance of his five-year term did not constantly appear in the debates as a source of vibrant tension. So, we can understand that François Hollande prefers this magical world to reality. However, it is in reality that a union is currently being negotiated.

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