Social Democrats – Gluttons for Punishment?

Sooooo, François Hollande ran on a left-of-center platform, promising raised taxes on very high incomes, increased public spending, stuff like this.
He then proceeded to not do any of these things, because this would have meant confrontation with eurozone austerians, industry lobby groups, rich French, soccer players…
Instead he focused on gay rights, which is definitely a worthy issue but caused confrontation with social conservatives.
With the economy not improving, his approval ratings dropped, and instead of following through on his campaign promises, he jettisoned them, proposing to instead follow the austerity policies that haven’t worked for the rest of the eurozone.
In the latest municipal elections, the social-democratic PS got whipped – votes that had shifted to them from the UMP shifted back, others on the right that had not yet forgotten the shitty job the UMP had done shifted to the FN, disillusioned left-wingers shifted to the greens, the PG, the PCF. (and lots of people abstained)

In reaction to which he moves further to the right?! What exactly is the thinking here? That magically those people who can get the exact same package from the UMP will come back? That those who don’t trust the two big center-right parties anymore will be convinced by a move that makes them even harder to distinguish? That left-wingers see this shift to the right, and their savior complex kicks in and they vote for a party that represents them even less than the one they didn’t vote for in the municipal elections?

I can find explanations for why politicians follow non-working economic prescriptions because it can be hard to think through the noise that mainstream economists, industry lobbies, and the MSM makes.
But how losing elections because one alienates the left-wing base makes moving further right a good idea simply escapes me. Especially since Hollande could have looked to “New Labour”, the German SPD, the Greek Pasok to see that this never leads to electoral gains.

For me, there’s always the question whether such politicians are stupid or evil – but in some cases it’s impossible to imagine that much stupidity.

This entry was posted in democracy, economic policy, election campaign, eurocrisis. Bookmark the permalink.

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