2022 presidential pre-campaign: guts to the detriment of reason

Editorial of the “World”. The presidential campaign has not yet started but the preselection of the candidates which is taking place at the moment before our eyes does not encourage much optimism. Certainly important subjects such as security or immigration are overvalued in order to create fear; others, essential, such as the future of the French public hospital and research or the sustainability of the public debt, have gone by the wayside as if they did not exist.

Shocking proposals emerge one day to be supplanted the next day by even more transgressive ones. The billions of euros waltz without the projects being clarified. The citizen is taken to the guts rather than to reason in a context of political mistrust which leaves the door open to all adventures.

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The weakening of public debate is certainly not a new phenomenon, but it takes on particular significance in the collective ordeal that the country is going through. By its magnitude and duration, the health crisis born from the Covid-19 epidemic is a moment of truth for the French model. It lays bare its weaknesses, foremost among which is the deindustrialisation that has taken place over the past thirty years. It also reveals its strength through the massive and ultimately effective mobilization of the welfare state. It challenges dogmas, starting with the rule of 3% of the public deficit. It brings about profound changes in French society in the hierarchy of needs and aspirations.

Lack of shared diagnosis

With the development of teleworking, a new division is taking place between the company and the private sphere, mobility is intensifying, and a new regional development is taking shape. If everything went rationally, the presidential campaign would be the perfect time to involve the voter in the readjustment of a model which is otherwise hit by the intensification of the climate crisis. However, it is not.

The lack of a shared diagnosis around what the country has just gone through strikes like a democratic gap. It cannot be explained by the weakness of expertise. Almost daily, the High Commission for Planning and the Court of Auditors provide notes on major issues – economic sovereignty, demography, debt, education, training – further reinforcing the feeling that the game is in the hands of the knowledgeable.

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The main shortcoming stems from the weakness of the parties which, rather than taking their full part in the debate, are fighting for their survival. This is particularly true for LR and the PS, which for decades dominated French political life and today find themselves in a position of great weakness.

National unity not found

At the start of the health crisis, in an attempt to outline the outcome, Emmanuel Macron invoked the spirit of the National Council of Resistance. For several months, parties and unions with opposing ideologies, but united against the Vichy regime, had worked to give birth, on March 15, 1944, to the few major reforms that would mark the post-war period, the creation of the general regime of social security in particular.

Very quickly, in 2020, it appeared that the country would not be able to repeat the adventure, not only because national unity was nowhere to be found but because political and union representations had become too weak. This disintegration results in a good part of the evils observed today: the overvaluation of the providential man and the growing weight of emotions in public debate, two characteristics of the collapse of our democratic life.

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2022 presidential pre-campaign: guts to the detriment of reason

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