The art of making people choose what they don't want is as old as the world. Those who grew up with elder siblings most likely had their first taste of how this business works well before the age of awareness and the rest were inaugurated upon entering play school. Nothing new here. Yet, most people keep falling for the trick the rest of their lives.
A recent example are the French presidential elections. It had been clear for a while that a solid majority of the French electorate was fed up with the way the European Union works and then especially with how Germany is constantly getting its way to the detriment of most other countries. To their comfort, there was ample choice of candidates running on a platform of greater or lesser Euro scepsis, calling for anything between reforms and a Frexit. This showed on the evening of the first election round when the three main sceptics together horded a good sixty percent of the voters behind them while the only openly pro-EU candidate managed to enthuse less than a quarter of the census, bearing in mind that apparently more than half of those did so for what they called tactical reasons. He is the darling of European bureaucracy, of corporations and the mainstream press, of the whole establishment which is so desperately trying to install a worldwide fascist regime with freedom for the few and misery for the rest, and he is for these and other reasons despised by the ordinary citizens. No more than 11 percent positively voted for him. Yet, he will be the next president, elected by a solid majority who do so with clear disgust. How is this possible?
It is easy enough to identify the reasons with hindsight (that is: after the fact), but it would perhaps be more interesting to approach the question from the perspective of someone who has been working hard behind the scenes to make sure we would get to the current situation. And it would be swell if we could hear them speak their own words. How to make the electorate choose the candidate they detest as their new president? The following is a type out of the tape which was apparently found in a garbage bin where it had been dumped earlier. Judge for yourself.
Pierreau, here is our candidate, Emmanuel, he's a mean killing machine. He has no allegiance but his own.
Then what's his problem? Pierreau asks.
Nobody likes him. People hate his policies. He is power's boy. He's going to hurt them and they know it.
No use hiding the message there. Personality wise, any ups?
Not really. The boring and arrogant type. He's handsome, though, he's not yet forty with slowly receding dark hair, your skinny muscular build, natural muscles that is, and there's a nineteen fifties film star look in his eyes.
Emmanuel. Probably too good-looking for the twenty-first century, would you say?
Pierreau offers cigarettes and they smoke.
What your man needs, he says, is to be the alternative, the other, the one you run to because the real candidates scare you, with their programs and their slogans and whoever the media claim they are. And he will be nothing but that. No need to talk plans, because there are no plans other than further destruction. The world is in destruction mode. It's a sign of the times, no?
Silence and someone moving.
Well, I leave your visions to yourself and trust he will be handsomely turned into the perfect, as you say, alternative. We shall indeed ask the press to focus on some mildly positive features and to spend the rest of its time attacking the other candidates.
Oh yes, the others need strategizing as well. The most uncomfortable one should definitely come second in the first round.
High heeled footsteps walking back.
That's Marine. She blames the muslims for all of the country's woes.
By Jove. Haven't you got over that by now? I hope she hates EU at least.
She does. As do François and Jean-Luc. François is there for the pensioners and Jean-Luc cheers up the unhappy left.
Because the workers go to Marine. It makes sense. So keep the economy in safe waters a couple months more, we wouldn't want to feed unhappy left at this point.
And the pensioners?
They take care of their numbers. And even if he won, François, you would merely enter into a slightly uncomfortable Trump situation but no big deal. We will focus on Marine and Jean-Luc. Since they have the same economic policy, it's important to make a partnership impossible.
I may have a problem for François somewhere.
That's not my terrain, dear. I take care of the faces.
We know you do, mon coeur.
There's a break and the tape continues with a telephone call, clearly much later...
Congrats, Pierreau. Emmanuel and Marine made it into the second round.
At your request, madam.
I shall ignore your hypocrisy. So now we must make sure the fools don't all jump ship and vote Marine.
Which is actually what they do when they don't, but yes, we need to avoid this.
So why would they vote the man they can't stand and the policies they fear?
Because they have no choice. And they know it. They are hooked to the machine. They can't imagine life outside the system and I mean they have no idea of the consequences of such a move. Their expectations would fall well short and many wouldn't survive. So they had better stick to their demons.
You and your visions, Pierreau. Just give me victory. I'm in the business of selling success. I have no time for tomorrow.
Emmanuel it shall be. And again, even heavier attacked this time, Marine. It will be all about Marine. We shall stuff the public with Marine, until they realise there's only one way to get rid of her suffocating presence, and quite immediately actually, and that is to vote the invisible man, the beautiful mask, Immanuel. Isn't life a gas?
Yes, Pierreau, it's all a joke. And now if you would excuse me, I must accuse that woman of dying her hair.