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Focus on People’s Agenda - Vasu Column
It is given that poll promises are voice against the opposition and to attract votes. Promising handouts is common and playing to the audience. People love to hear the candidates of their party talk of how well (better) their candidate will cater, comparing to the other party. To win an election, candidates will kiss babies, shake every hand, eat at McDonalds, sleep in motels and do what normal people do; and they will speak to everyone and promise to do what their party’s manifesto displays. Nothing changes with each election, except the candidates. Every candidate promises everything their base electorate wants to hear (sometimes much more) and at every opportunity criticize the opponent. In an election, you got to promise the moon and you must tell people what an idiotic choice your opponent is.
Incumbent has an advantage in elections, especially when the party followed thru on the campaign promises of the past electoral victory. As the electoral promises are tailored to their base vote banks, it is easy to tout the promises kept. The electorate is any way highly polarized and party specific, leaving a few independents. The victory depends on getting the people to vote.
The democratic elections continue to embark on party specific deliverables to cater to their vote bank. The elections them self are close contests, barring a very few elections where there is a blowout. Every candidate is carefully chosen to represent a party, funded to go through a long and arduous campaign, spend hundreds of millions and appeal to their vote bank, and after all this get people to get out and vote. We can track the elections and notice that the ideal representatives of any party have become difficult to choose, difficult to get elected and when elected it is almost impossible to deliver on the promised agenda.
People have increasing access to information (good and bad and in-between). The media coverage (constantly) is focused on finding holes in the day to day affairs of the politicians. The head of the state and every word (action) gets scrutinized with expert analysis, and there is always positives and negatives in the same space. Today archives are instant and constant, and easily attainable. The information is easily retrieved and referenced. It is impossible to make a statement and ignore or retract it. Emotional outbursts, impromptu statements and reactions, humor and sadness, family and friends, work and vacation and everything that is done, said and written is constantly recorded, archived and retrieved; and all very easily accessible.
A clear case of media verses leader is on full display in the USA. It’s not just Trump, but every elected leader (anyone) is under the microscope in the USA. Even the common man who is on social media, their following and comments and activities; everything is available for scrutiny. The media analysis is brutal. While the elected officials often struggle to keep their promises, the press is always looking for inconsistent statements and actions. While it sounds contentious, the checks on politicians is constant. The voter gets only to cast the ballot once in an election cycle, the media focuses on keeping the politicians accountable.
There is little doubt in the power of democratic process, but the elections are held on a rigid schedule and they are evenly divided with the electorate. The margin of victory is slim, and the impossibility of accountability of elected officials adds to the overpowering the administrative challenges of elected governments. While accountability is constantly questioned, the focus on people, their needs and respect to their reasoning is that is needed.
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