The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is considered the perfect model to predict the outcomes of the 2017 French presidential election away from polls. Generally, in recent years, polls were proven to be unreliable in predicting several important votes and elections. Polls failed to predict the Brexit’s 2016 referendum result, USA’s 2016 election, and in the Scottish independence referendum, the undecided votes were bigger than or equal to the difference between the Yes and the No votes.
Maslow proposed two versions of the Hierarchy of Needs in 1943 and 1954. The 1954 version is a more detailed eight-need version of the model, while the 1943 version with its five needs is perfectly enough to examine the French election. The needs are:
- Physiological (food, water, warmth, shelter, etc.)
- Safety and security
- Belongings and love
- Esteem and feeling of accomplishment.
- Creative activities
The first two needs are considered basic needs that should not be compromised or people would extinct. The third and the fourth needs are strictly psychological in which humans require progressing to the culminating fifth need to be creative and to self-fulfilment.
France, in 2017 presidential election, is extremely suffering on the basic needs’ level.
Mr. Francois Hollande, the present socialist French president, failed miserably to improve, or even maintain, several key factors of the French people’s life. France, for the last three year, had lower GDP growth rate than Germany and UK, and the European Union. The unemployment rate climbed under Mr. Holland from 8 to above the 10% mark. Terrorists’ attacks rose significantly under his rule to about 23 terrorist attacks resulted in hundreds of causalities and injuries most of them – if not all – were adopted by the ISIS (Daesh). It was easy to understand why Mr. Hollande decided not to re-run after he got a non-convincing 4 % approval rate.
Consequently, Mr. Hollande eliminated any presidential chance, in the coming April 23 or May 7 in case of a second round, for any left or centre-left candidate as Mr. Benoit Hamon, the candidate of the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste), or Mr. Jean-Luc Melenchon, the candidate of the Left Party (Parti de Gauche).
No left candidate, let alone far-left, will be able to satisfy France’s basic Maslow’s needs.
Mr. Francois Fillon, the candidate of the republic party (Les Républicains) campaigned on typical neoliberal policies: decreasing public spending, slashing millions of public service jobs, rewriting the labor law, lengthening the 35-hour week and increase the defense spending. Mr. Fillon has conservative views about Islam and the European Union and if elected he would have a hard stance against both, however, his views are softer than Ms. Marine Le Paine, the candidate of the far-right National Front (Front National). His views regarding Mr. Putin and Russia are moderate and soft. However, this tolerating position towards Russia is not the problem. The main issue with Mr. Fillon that his campaign was and is plagued with two major scandals: spending approximately 1 million euro as parliamentary salaries to his wife, Penelope Fillon, and two of his kids. Mr. Fillon refused to step down after those allegations. Another scandal involved not mentioning an interest-free loan given to him by the billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière. Although Mr. Fillon had paid back the loan, there are huge concerns about this loan and relation as Mr. Ladreit de Lacharrière is the owner of the Revue des Deux Mondes newspaper. Ms. Fillon works in that newspaper as a literary adviser.
Mr. Fillon, in this election, will not be able to assuage the safety and security part of the Maslow’s needs. Although that part was referring to personal safety aspects, it can be reasonably extended to the public and political trust.
That leaves the competition only between Mr. Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist of En Marche movement, and Ms. Marine Le Pen of the National Front (Front National).
Mr. Macron made several campaigning promises as 50 billion euros in public spending coupled with reducing the public sector! He also promised to restructure the tax system to benefit other non-wealthy strata of the French society. And to adapt the 35-hours week according to businesses’ needs who will probably introduce hour brackets favoring the elder workforce and putting more work on the youth’s shoulders. Mr. Macron is a pro-business and advised, as an economic adviser, then a minister of economy, Mr. Holland on laws loosening some business regulations.
Mr. Macron is a huge supporter of the European Union and its rules of limiting public budget deficits. He also mentioned that France had committed war crimes while in Algeria. Both of these instances largely harmed his image with the centre-right and the conservative voters.
In Mr. Macron’s case, the Maslow’s needs may be fulfilled for the physiological side, but on the security and safety side, the French will hesitate when experiencing Mr. Macron’s strong support to the European Union. The open borders, the free-trade, and the one market of the European Union are bad deals for many sectors of the French industry; especially for many farmers who are greatly supporting Ms. Le Pen. Mr. Macron has a soft, accepting, and sometimes encouraging tone on the mass immigration encountered by Europe due to existing civil unrest in the Middle East. His proposal is to increase the public spending to create thousands of police enforcing forces to counter crimes and terrorism that may arise from such mass immigration. This opinion also probably will not resonate with people frightened by the successive terror attacks by ISIS (Daesh) who need more radical approaches resembles those suggested by Ms. Le Pen.
Finally, Ms. Marine Le Pen’s main proposal is to restore the old France! The proposal includes scrapping most of the European Union’s regulations, restoring the franc, restoring the state control of the Bank of France, pulling out of NATO, cutting legal immigration by hundreds of thousands, cutting interest rates, banning mosques that show signs of radicalism, banning European Union’s workers from working in France, imposing a large degree of protectionism, and other measures. This proposal struck all of the Maslow’s needs and provides the French populace with the needed “revolution” that may shake the existing status quo of the French economy and security. Ms. Le Pen’s personifies the huge suspicion of the French nation against the immigrants, other cultures, and the very idea of the European Union. It will provide huge relief to farming and industry sectors within France from the fierce competition with the rest of Europe and especially Germany.
However, this platform will lead to a sure “Frexit” that will shatter the European Union into pieces after 24 years of unified currency and no borders.
Maslow’s needs model predicts the win of Ms. Le Pen and the fall of the European Union.