The rhetorical recipe for a successful presidential defeat speech

Loss is a place without words.And writing Vincent Delecroix in his test Learn how to lose (Shores, 2019). If words fail and the heart is not within, the post-defeat presidential address nonetheless presents itself as a compulsive—and perilous—passage. The “good loser” should take some responsibility without infringing on himself. You have to show your disappointment without appearing completely depressed and find a balance between clarity and optimism. What are the traps that must be avoided so that failure, in addition to election, does not compound its defeated discourse? Philosopher Vincent Delecroix’s article offers us some possible answers.

Difficulty speaking against oneself

Loss is a break. They are tears that interrupt the victory that the candidate had hoped for and achieved during the election campaign. That’s why you never prepare to lose. “Loss crumbles, falls. […] Even if it was predictable, the absolute event could not be predicted.”writes Vincent Delecroix in Learn how to lose (Shores, 2019). With this bitter urgency of defeat, the losing candidate must speak up.

Now, that lost time tends to get in the way of all the talking. A phenomenon that we can observe on Sunday evening in the speech of the Socialist Party candidate Ann HidalgoWho, having made the sad score 1.8%, stumbles since the beginning of his speech on the word Warmly. If the speech sometimes stutters, it is because the candidate suddenly begins to live the scenario he has been trying to avoid for months. It must, in a way, express itself against itself. A seemingly formidable task – how do we meet it?

The Trap of Prejudice and Denial

First of all, it is important not to make failure an absolute death. Faced with this temptation, the candidate must find, in the present results, elements to make things fruitful, things which are not specifically lost. This work is a kind of pick for optimism. We must strive, amid the ruins of defeat, “The power that exists and that pulsates like sparks of grace spread throughout the world after pots are broken.”And Philosopher advises.

This group consists, for example, of emphasizing the upcoming legislative elections and “Pride of work done”, as he did Jean-Luc MelenchonThe La France Insoumise candidate took the hard place 3And A candidate with 22% of the vote. But defeated speakers must avoid the opposite trap: the trap of denial that is just as harmful. Thus, successful defeat rhetoric presents itself as an uneasy balance between these two pitfalls: defeatism and overconfidence.

Finding the natural formula

Another pitfall of failed discourse is lack of honesty. Sometimes the candidate paints a victorious image of himself and fails to find in himself the resources to be a good loser. Therefore, the letter rings false. sonorous or clumsy, too slow or too fast: lacking in nature.

But defeat can be, On the contrary, the moment when the candidate, emerging from the stress of victory, finally begins to act on himself. Republican candidate Valerie Pecres, for example, who was criticized for his lack of naturalness during his campaign, showed surprising relief on Sunday. Perhaps, as Delecroix tells us, When the loser takes the face […] unlucky player […] to discover its original form.. We can also observe this phenomenon in the second part of the letter Yannick Gadot (EELV), hilarious and relatively relaxed. “I can talk to you now” He told his party activists at his campaign headquarters.

John LaSalle Finally, the candidate of the Résistons party, who received 3.1% of the vote (three times as much as in 2017), managed to maintain his spontaneity. Despite his voice problems with his speech, he often laughed, and even inadvertently invented a word, “smiley”And which condenses “Smiling and sparkling” to assign “Authentic France” support his campaign. Thus, the losing candidate’s speech acts as a revelation. A form of truth stems from those who find themselves – in whole or in part – expelled from the struggle for power and its conventions.

The word of the defeated should not be sanctified

One can then be tempted to pity the vanquished And to feel some kind of sympathy for them. A candidate who fails becomes a human overnight. A phenomenon reinforced by the temptation to harm the candidate himself. Eric ZemmourOn top of the recovery process! – who received 7.1% of the vote, contrary to the November estimate of 18% – was accused of “media processing” reserved for his party, “international situation” as such Absence of campaigning and debate Before I mention, finally, His “mistake”. What did his fans answer? ” no ! “strongly and in concert.

Definitely a party hustle But this tells us a lot about the sometimes destined fate of the vanquished. “Bloody victors for a moment […] who had the upper hand for a moment and then see themselves dressed in great historical grief, from the fact that they joined their victims in the great swamp., warns Delecroix. The losers in the party who are already used to exploiting remorse for the past can take advantage of their defeat, and go down in history through this gloom. There comes a time when we think about it “His victories yesterday are just victims and vanquished”, The philosopher continues. But by focusing on defeating them in this way, one forgets about their power to inconvenience. Losers’ flattery and rhetoric can be very dangerous… because sometimes losing means, to the fiercest, having nothing to lose.

Learn how to lose, by Vincent Delecroix, released in 2019 by Éditions Rivages. 272p., €21, still available.

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