The Marketing of Politics

In the video below, explains the median voter theorem. In a competition where you want 50% + 1 of your target market, if you actually want to win, you will be forced to skew your political positions in such a way that it appeals to the demands of the majority.

This is why most politicians don't really stick to principles or political philosophies because this usually entails career suicide. Especially here in the Philippines where you can get away with simple copywriting like Erap Para Sa Mahirap or Ganito Kami Sa Makati, most don't really care how or why you will alleviate poverty or how or why you will make provinces have the same infrastructure and services as Makati — what matters is you communicate the core message effectively.

And it's not just for the Philippines. In the US, having a simple selling point like Yes We Can or Change We Can Believe In works. Platforms or policy pledges don't matter. It doesn't matter if Obama enhanced Bush's foreign policy or kept the same macroeconomic and monetary policies, what matters is you differentiate Obama from Bush in the eyes of the public. It's all branding and packaging.

In a country like ours where there are more than two parties, it is actually worse. If, let's say, PNoy wins 30%, Erap 25%, Villar 20%, Gibo 20%, and 5% abstained then PNoy actually wins with 30% and the rest of the 70% of voters are alienated from the decision. Plurality is not the same as majority.

You have logos, colors, jingles, advertisements. It's no different from brands, really. In all seriousness, especially here in the Philippines, it doesn't matter what party you are in. Political parties are a matter of money, connections, and convenience. Again, nothing to do with principles or political philosophies. It's merely a machinery and a recruitment system to sustain influence.

Also, it doesn't matter how intelligent or "qualified" your favored politician is. It's not about the ideas that he/she represents or how these ideas will be cultivated and executed. I'm sick of people talking about candidates who are more qualified because of intellect or schooling or similar arguments. We should instead be debating platform, policy, ideas.

Again, always something I remind my readers: the solution is to rethink the role of government, to take away power and money from government and give it back to the people, and to decentralize and abolish the incentives that feed these monstrous machineries.

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