Barack Obama’s latest campaign is a gaining a large following – in France. Although the former President has been taking a break from professional politics, a group of French activists have launched a tongue-in-cheek effort to make him president there. CNN spoke to one of the minds behind the idea, who only wanted to be referred to as Antoine.
— Ludovic Gautier (@Senordiezz) February 22, 2017
He explained the thinking behind the plan, saying:
“It’s totally crazy, but the cool thing is that once you get past that, you start thinking that maybe it’s possible. Who cares that he’s not French? He’s Barack Obama.”
The mock campaign is called Obama17, and although it’s obviously a joke, its creators aim to make a very serious point. People in France are tired of the political status quo, and many are experiencing burnout while trying to keep up with it all.
Antoine spoke to this point, telling CNN:
“We want to show that people are fed up with the politicians here. People are tired about it and they like this joke. It gives people a little fun amid all these scandals.”
Currently the front runner in the French polls is Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party. She needs to secure 50% of the vote in order to win the election, and many projected polls predict that she won’t. Many French constituents, including Antoine, are frustrated with the lack of viable options.
He expanded on that frustration, saying:
“We are so fed up with what Marine Le Pen is doing, and with the fact that we weren’t able to find a candidate to vote for, only one to vote against. We started talking about that and it came up that Obama is free — so why not hire him?”
— Evan Shelby (@EvanPShelby) February 24, 2017
So far the organizers have put up 500 posters around Paris and created a petition for the movement, which they hope will get one million signatures. The idea has taken off on social media, with many people voicing support for it.
Barack Obama is probably enjoying his time as a private citizen too much to jump back into the political fray just yet, but France can always hope.
Featured Image by: Ludovic Gautier via Twitter.