There's a smell of fear from the Higgins supporters and rightly so. This is not 2011 and the Irish electorate realise that Higgins is only president because of the RTE/Frontline stitch-up of Gallagher. Higgins pledged to do only one term and made it part of his 2011 election campaign. That's going to be used against Lying Mickey in the campaign.
The media situation is quite different too. The Irish Times had a daily circulation over 100K. Now it has a daily circulation of below 61K. RTE is in financial trouble and the rise of online streaming services like Netflix and Prime means that fewer people watch RTE. The Labour party had 37 TDs in 2011. It now has 7 TDs and lost most seats in the 2014 Local Elections.
This election will be decided on Social Media. Labour has always been cack-handed as regards dealing with Social Media. Its Ashboure Annie fiasco demonstrated this well,
The talking points about the presidency requiring someone with political, constitutional and legal knowledge are pure Labour rubbish. They were used in the 2011 election. The president can call upon advisors to supply that kind of knowledge.
The reelection of Higgins is not certain. FF/FG wanted to save money by denying the Irish people a democratic choice on the presidency with their "My Little Crony" strategy. Craughwell was patriotic enough to force the issue and SF, despite what everyone claimed about them, stood up for democracy and forced an election.
Until I see a viable, credible alternative with the requisite legal, constitutional and political experience who has served the state emerge I will be voting for President Higgins over the current scrapings the bottom of the barrel currently being discussed / showing interest
It was a clever move to have SF associated with the campaign and thus get some of those first-time voters voting for SF. If it pays off, then FF is in real trouble in the next GE. This election is going to unsettle a lot of FFers because they are effectively being told to vote for a hasbeen champagne socialist. The interesting thing will be to see where the pro-life vote goes.