Manigat is the easiest candidate to beat, and Martelly should be happy to have to face her in the runoff presidential election. He can beat her if he uses the right strategy. He needs to run a two-front war (generational and psychological) against her. He needs to associate her with the old politics that has put us in the quagmire we are in today. He needs to be presented as the epitome of a new class of politicians that has emerged to send to retirement the old politics that has never failed to bring the country down, which Mrs. Manigat is the face of.
Intellectually speaking, he cannot match Manigat. So he needs not fight her war. He needs to prevent her from framing the debate and making this a race on intellectualism. How can he do that? He can achieve that by doing four things:
- He needs to use that weakness of his (his intellectual mismatch) as his best weapon and thereby put her on the defensive.
- He needs to keep looking presidential. So far his staff has been doing a tremendous job reintroducing and redefining him to the electorate.
- When he is on the campaign trail stumping, he needs to stay on message at all times and articulate the stark differences between him and his opponent.
- He needs to speak to the people in these terms:
If you are looking for an intellectual person to be speaking fancy phrases to impress your ears and offer you no results at the end, Mrs. Manigat is your candidate. In fact, I don’t think many in this country can claim being more intellectual than she is. But keep in mind that these intellectuals, these fancy talkers, these no-doers, the ones who see in her their candidate are those causing us most of our troubles and tribulations.
But if you are looking for someone who could get down with you in the mud with the legs of his pants and sleeves of his shirt folded so together we can fix what needs to be fixed, I am your man. My opponent cannot tell you what I just told you because she is not the type to do that. In fact, you only see her out there addressing you when she is running for president because she needs your votes. Once elected, she will forget about you, and your situation will never get any better.
She will come to you and tell you that as an entertainer I used to do this and I used to do that. I will not defend my past because, like everyone else, I have stains on the white sheet of my life. I am not running to be your moral leader because I am not perfect. In fact, no one is. But what she fails to realize is that my past, though she is trying to use it to bring me down, is exactly what gets me to better understand your situation.
If you are looking for a people person who could better understand the socioeconomic reality of the peasants, I am your man. In fact, it is for no reason I partner with the peasantry to bring its agenda to the forefront. The peasants are the backbone of our economy, yet they are the most neglected.
If you are looking for someone with the guts to reestablish the authority of the state, strengthen our institutions, reclaim our sovereignty by ending the occupation of the country by MINUSTAH and replacing it with a professional Haitian military, if you are looking for someone with the political spine and will to secure the country and thereby attract investors to invest in our economy to create jobs for the 75% of the unemployed, I am the one for you.
If you are looking for a leader to inspire the Haitian people –young and old, dark-skinned and light-skinned, men and women, Christians and Vodou practitioners, rich and poor –to come together as one nation to achieve greatness in spite of our differences, I am the one for you.
If you are looking for someone to go out there to lobby the countries that have pledged billions of dollars to rebuild our nation, which will mean to take you out of these makeshift tents and move you to better housing complexes; I am your man. It does not make any sense for after a year of the earthquake nothing has been done to move you out of this mess.
If you are looking for someone who could assemble a team of problem solvers to put this country back to work and encourage the Haitians on the mainland and in the Diaspora to come invest in the development of their economy, I am your man.
This is our last chance to save this nation; we must not miss this opportunity. Therefore, you have two options to choose from: a) You can choose to go back to doing the same old and archaic things and playing the same old politics of the past that has gotten us where we are today or b) Like the Americans, we can choose a new kind of politics embodied in a new generation of leadership with fresh ideas to move this country forward. I have no doubt in your intelligence and ability to make the right and best choice; I have no doubt you will not choose to move this country backward by choosing Mrs. Manigat, the face of the old politics of obsolescence. She is not good for the country because she is not new and fresh.