Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Learnings from the 2013 elections: Myth as election variable

1. The Philippine political system is slowly maturing. Yes, patron-client relationship still dominates reason of choice by voters but on the national level, perceptual based politics is slowly becoming a dominant factor in election choice.

An individual even a newbie has more than equal chance of being elected into office if that candidate possesses three (3) things: one, a mythology that surrounds him; two , clean and unassailable name and third, a believable promise.

The mythology factor is what makes people talk about the candidate. This is what makes him alive in the consciousness of people. It does not necessarily follow that a candidate who bears a known political brandname benefits from the "myth" that that name is being linked to. Every individual has his own unique mythology that makes him whole.

This mythology is what propelled Trillanes and Honasan's previous victories. Both candidates possess the myth of being "heroes". They fought the system, sacrificed their lives and in exchange (or utang na loob), people vote for them.

Honasan's furlough prior to the 2004 elections led to his eventual election. Trillanes got elected even while in prison.

Myth-making is very important now in politics.

Now, it helps if there is a huge mass support system that always keep this myth alive through constant exchange of views and communication.

2. Institutional support does not guarantee a victory.

There is one Senatorial candidate who happens to be a common name who was supported by several institutions but is now behind the twelfth senatorial candidate by a million votes.

The Villar brandname used to be no. 1 in terms of the Senatorial run, but right now, it is in no. 7 or even 8. It really goes to show that in terms of network, a candidate must definitely manage a huge network of supporters prior to the campaign.

3. Binay's hold with the LGU's is crumbling. Liberal party strangle-hold in the local and Congressional elections is tightening. 

What people hate is when certain people get cocky. UNA already proclaimed Binay as the next president. Wow. Too presumptious.

Fact is, look at the local political configuration and you'll see that two formidable political networks are crumbling---Lakas-NUCD and Binay's political network.

Come 2016, Binay's local network would have diminished because most are in their term endings or have been defeated politically.

However, if LP fails to maintain its strong alliance with local organisations and parties, it is highly possible that come 2016, LP, LIKE UNA, will be as weak as LAKAS-NUCD.

4. Nancy Binay's election as Senator and Chiz Escudero being no. 3 despite controversies are proof that having a grassroots machinery is key towards election victory.

Nancy Binay or the Binay brandname can actually attract 11-13 million votes. This shows you how extensive Binay's local network is. His "sister-hood" concept is paying off. (When he was Mayor, VIce President Jejomar Binay went around the Philippines and entered into agreements with several vote rich yet poor towns and cities and made them sister cities or towns with Makati.

5. Wins of non-LP candidates in vote-rich provinces peripheral to Metro Manila could provide anti-LP presidential candidate a strong push come 2016.

6. Dynastic political families are reigning still in areas where there is a lack or limited political choice. In areas where there is no consistent and dominant name, election victory is secured through force of persuasion.