|Presidential contender Sean Gallagher|
So what happened?
A couple of the other candidates self-destructed, but in early October Labour's Michael D Higgins seemed to have an insurmountable lead. He hasn't really put a foot wrong since.
So what happened?
A month ago Gallagher was virtually unknown. He had made something of a name for himself on a television program, but politically he was unheard of. There have been many debates - I've lost count - in the interim, but nobody could argue that Gallagher's performances have been so astoundingly good that they're the reason he's gone from last to first. If anything, the more Gallagher appears on television the more 'iffy' his prospects seem.
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So what happened!?
He got 'smeared' that's what happened. The media and the opposition parties went to town on him for ... wait for it ... having been associated with the Fianna Fáil party.
Fianna Fáil, if you don't know, dominated Irish politics from the early 30s until this year's election. In February's election Fianna Fáil got 17% of the vote, easily their worst ever performance. In fact, I don't think Fianna Fáil will ever recover. For a real measure of how damaged the Fianna Fáil brand is watch the results from the by-election also being held on Thursday.
The party may be finished, but that doesn't mean that the 40% of the population that voted for them necessarily believes that anyone who was associated with the party in the past is so damaged that they cannot be President of Ireland.
That's what makes this attack campaign so ridiculous. It's one thing to denounce those who were in charge, who were ultimately responsible for bringing the nation down, but it's another to lump in everyone else who ever touched the party.
Now those people have their backs up and whereas early in the campaign they may not have known who Sean Gallagher was, now they know: "He's one of us and they say we're not fit to be president."
This sort of thing happens regularly in Ireland. You'd think the media and the political elitists would learn. When "one of us" is attacked it doesn't matter what they say about him/her, "we vote for our own."
The dumbest thing the political elitists and the media - and they are almost all entirely in the tank for the Labour candidate - did was to point out to the average Fianna Fáil person that Gallagher was "one of us." When he gets the keys to the Presidential Palace - Áras an Uachtaráin - on Friday he should thank the sneering elitists for all their help.