Lessons from America’s presidential race; why the main opposition (NPP) may lose in the upcoming elections
I started writing this piece a few weeks ago but I wasn’t sure if it was worth sharing.
Before I proceed, however, it’s important I make this disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: A lot of you are not going to like me after this post, and for those who already don’t you’re probably going to despise me more. I may lose some friends after this, but I won’t lose much sleep if I do because my real friends respect that we don’t have to always agree.
The attention and backlash I receive each time I share my opinion is enough to make anyone afraid of speaking out on issues in this country.
I guess because of the misconception that only a “chosen” few are qualified to speak on politics and national issues, people are quick to tag me a controversial attention seeker.(if only this title was something worth fighting for)
I’m a Ghanaian citizen of sound mind and a registered voter; meaning I have EVERY RIGHT to speak on issues in this country, and so should anyone who feels incline to do so, we shouldn’t to be bullied into silence because it’s our constitutional RIGHT.
When Ben Ephson, the Editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper and pollster made predictions on the elections, the brouhaha surrounding it, has encouraged me to share this piece I wrote a while back.
Now I’m no pollster, analyst or expert, and I won’t pretend to have any facts, proper research or idea of how election predictions are made.
My predictions are made on intuition and my ability to completely look beyond my sentiments and personal conviction to see what it is instead of what it should be. They’re also based on conversations I’ve had with people, things I’ve witnessed and experiences I’ve had.
If you follow my blog then you will remember how I predicted Donald Trump could be the next president of America last year in July, exactly a year later and he won the Republican ticket to be the presidential candidate and went on to also win the general elections.
I received a lot of heat for this at the time, with many friends assuming I was a Trump supporter; which wasn’t the case. I didn’t and still don’t like the man, but I understood the campaign he was running, because he had one aim only, to appeal to a target group of people so he could ultimately win the election.
And we can argue that Trump didn’t win the popular vote, but it doesn’t change the fact that MILLIONS of Americans voted for him, much to the surprise of many people especially the democrats.
And this is what the opposition should have learnt from this outcome; that a man so hated, having some of the most powerful politicians, networks, media houses etc unite against him like never in the history of America’s presidential race; still went on to win is nothing short of a miracle.
Against all pollsters, opinions polls and predictions, Donald Trump defied all odds and shocked Americans and the world at large.
If this doesn’t tell you the electorate isn’t as predictable and neither are the elections, then I don’t know what will.
Which is what many members of the opposition seem to be missing and why they may also be in for a shock.
They’re banking on the general perception that people are frustrated with the ruling party, and because of this want change, hence their campaign message.
But this assumption and the insistence that ALL Ghanaians should feel this way coupled with the campaign they’re running, is why I believe they may probably not win the elections.
They’re looking at the country through the eyes of the opposition, and this is one of the points I spoke against in my piece on understanding the Ghanaian electorate Your Ghana isn’t everyone else’s Ghana, meaning how you see the country isn’t the way everyone else does.
But because of this perception, they’re mistakenly campaigning AGAINST members of the ruling party and anyone else who doesn’t support this claim, instead of campaigning TO them.
This single mindset is why many of their following are quick to fight and attempt to silence anyone who doesn’t share in this feeling of frustration.
Forgetting that the whole purpose of a campaign is to appeal to voters and not bully them into voting for you.
Their confidence in this perception is also why the outcome may not only surprise them, but create unnecessary tension if they don’t win.
Because they’ve propped themselves and their following up for a guaranteed win, and planted the seed of doubt and a possible electoral fraud if they don’t, also very dangerous.
Notice that nearly ALL political parties accuse Electoral Commissioners of fraud if they don’t win, but are suspiciously silent if the same system declares them winners.
This is a trick employed by a lot of politicians; for instance, Trump insisted on a possible rigging, and when he won suddenly didn’t find the system to corrupt anymore.
What he didn’t anticipate was the doubt he casted on the system which created room for people to also question the legitimacy of his win.
Now it would be unfair on my part to blame all members of the opposition and it’s following for this behavior, I have very good friends in the opposition who are nothing like this, but they too agree that something’s definitely wrong if the majority of their following behaves like this.
By alienating a section of the people because their views don’t align with yours, will only make it that much easier for them to vote against your party.
I’ve had at least 3 people tell me they want a certain party to lose, only because they find someone on social media annoying.
Some Trump voters will tell you they didn’t like him, but voted for him anyway because they were willing to look past his inappropriate behavior, because of their disdain for Hillary.
And you may think it’s ridiculous for anyone to vote against a party just because of their disdain for someone, but if people voted for all the right reasons we wouldn’t have politicians sharing rice, ice and sewing machines for votes.
Elections are about nothing else but winning for the politicians, even if it means employing some of the most outrageous tactics like Trump did, by stylishly campaigning to the usually neglected people, understanding that the KKK also had votes.
EVERY VOTE counts, even that of the girl who’s voting because of someone she finds annoying; so the way your party faithful behave everywhere, including how they verbally attack people even on social media, will contribute to how people vote.
And this behavior isn’t unique to just the opposition, nearly all parties are guilty of this politics of insults, I’ve been called everything from a prostitute to a brothel by members of the NDC, however the opposition seems to be leading the pack.
A simple comparison of their reaction to even celebrity endorsements is very telling.
Celebrities and public figures who’ve endorsed the ruling party have been ridiculed, insulted, called money thirsty and all kinds of names.
Yet others who’ve endorsed the opposition haven’t received that much negative attention.
Why is that?
A few weeks ago I also witnessed an interaction on social media, where a supporter of the ruling NDC claimed that most of its members weren’t as bold to declare their position because they feared insults; a supporter of the opposition quickly responded by saying perhaps it’s because his party was a sh** one.
A smart person would have ceased the moment to engage this person and if for nothing at all make him see her party beyond the aggressive tone it’s been associated with.
I’ve also had my own personal encounters with supporters of the opposition who’ve hailed me for speaking out against the ruling party, but immediately turned to attack me vehemently because I wrote in support of a decision the president had taken.
If you don’t see the state of the nation through their eyes, then there’s something wrong with you; which they have no problem expressing with choice words.
When Hillary called half of Trumps voters deplorable, she only gave people who were probably on the fence about voting for Trump another reason NOT to vote for her.
Which is exactly what a lot of people in the opposition are doing.
I still don’t understand how anyone was able to look past Trumps bigotry, inappropriate behavior and racist tendencies to vote for him.
But maybe if people, including me, hadn’t been so dismissive of them; we could have engaged and perhaps attempted to understand their position.
The silent majority does exists, and when a group of people feel silenced because of their position, they will band together to prove a point.
Now I’m not in any way likening the ruling party to Trump supporters, just drawing from their experience.
I may be wrong with my prediction, and we’ll know in a couple of days, however the backlash I may probably receive from members of the opposition because of this post will only reinforce what I’ve said.
By Lydia Forson