Be­ing ‘winnable’

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features | Mindanao News - By DR. JUN YNARES, M.D.

I win in the com­ing elec­tions?”

“Some say I am ‘winnable’, some say I am not. What do you think?”

Ques­tions have kept com­ing in from sev­eral bud­ding young pub­lic ser­vants who say they in­tend to file cer­tifi­cates of can­di­dacy for the May 13, 2019, elec­tions. The fil­ing pe­riod be­gan last Wed­nes­day and is set to close on the 17th of this month. As the election fever has been trig­gered by this event, the anx­i­ety of these young would-be pub­lic ser­vants about their chances of an election vic­tory ap­pear to have gone up a lot.

The two ques­tions ear­lier men­tioned are among the most com­mon.

My usual an­swer: those are “wrong” ques­tions.

I said there are two types of ques­tions and it is im­por­tant that a can­di­date knows which one is bet­ter. The first are ques­tions that lead one to “doubt.” The sec­ond are ques­tions that lead one to “do.”

Yes, there are “doubt” ques­tions and there are “do” ques­tions.

“Can I win?” is a “doubt” ques­tion. It will in­vite end­less, use­less “analy­ses” by so-called “po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts” which usu­ally flock around can­di­dates dur­ing times like these. These “an­a­lysts” love to bury cam­paign teams into the quag­mire of end­less de­bates on “can we win.” I do not call this “anal­y­sis.” I call this “an­guish.” “An­guish” is when the cam­paign team spends pre­cious time wal­low­ing in spec­u­la­tions that merely trig­ger fear.

“How do we win?” is the “do” ques­tion.

The fact is all can­di­dates are “winnable.” All can­di­dates can “win.” The man­ner with which they come up with the an­swers to the “How” is what makes the dif­fer­ence. It’s the game-changer.

Here are a se­ries of use­ful “how” ques­tions.

First, whose votes do I need and “how” do I get them?

Sec­ond, how do I make sure that those who will vote for me will vote on Election Day?

Third, how do I make sure that my votes are counted, can­vassed, and cred­ited to me?

These “how” ques­tions also make sure that the can­di­date and his cam­paign team use their re­sources – funds, time, peo­ple, and en­ergy – wisely. Any item or any ac­tiv­ity that does not an­swer a “how” ques­tion would most likely be a waste of pre­cious, scarce election re­source.

The first “how” ques­tion is cru­cial. “Whose vote do I need?” is the be­gin­ning of cam­paign plan­ning. There are three types of “votes”: the “com­mand” vote, the “strate­gic” vote, and the “free mar­ket” vote. Here’s a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion for each. The “com­mand” vote comes from peo­ple who should nat­u­rally be vot­ing for the can­di­date – friends, rel­a­tives, neigh­bors, par­ty­mates, church-mates, part­ners in mis­sion. They should re­quire the least ex­pense and should be ex­pected to help mul­ti­ply cam­paign ef­forts.

The “strate­gic” vote comes from a per­son who, when won over by a can­di­date, can bring in more votes on the ba­sis of fol­low­ing, in­flu­ence, or po­lit­i­cal clout. This is a “cost-ef­fec­tive” and “cost-ef­fi­cient” vote since one vote would trans­late to thou­sands more.

Then, there is the “free mar­ket” vote. This has emerged as the more pow­er­ful vote these days, par­tic­u­larly due to the ad­vent of the era of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia. The “free mar­ket” vote comes from one who has his own mind, own will, and own sources of in­for­ma­tion. The “free mar­ket” voter un­der­stands his own aspi­ra­tion and looks for a can­di­date who he feels would be rel­e­vant to it. He sets cri­te­ria and stan­dards and weighs the po­lit­i­cal con­tenders on the ba­sis of these.

The “free mar­ket” vote is where most of the re­sources should go. There are three things that the wise use of cam­paign re­sources should ac­com­plish in this “free mar­ket.” First – to make sure the can­di­date is known and is able to en­gage that sec­tor. Sec­ond – to help the can­di­date win “pref­er­ence,” to be “cho­sen.” Third – to make sure the can­di­date’s name is clearly re­mem­bered.

A “choice” does not be­come a “vote” un­til it is cast on Election Day. “Pref­er­ence” has to be con­verted to “re­call” to make sure that it be­comes a vote.

I en­cour­age young can­di­dates to fo­cus on the “free mar­ket” vote. I am sure some­one else in the cam­paign team would be tak­ing care of the “com­mand” and the “strate­gic” vote. The ex­pe­ri­ence of en­gag­ing the “free mar­ket” vote is cru­cial. It is this en­gage­ment that hum­bles the can­di­date. It is here where he gets to strengthen his con­vic­tion about his prom­ise and plat­form. This is where he gets to test his abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate clearly and in­spire oth­ers to adopt and sup­port his pub­lic ser­vice ad­vo­cacy.

Know­ing that a lot of young peo­ple, in­clud­ing those of the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion, have filed cer­tifi­cates of can­di­dacy. They will have a first-hand taste of democ­racy. The cam­paign ex­pe­ri­ence would both be ex­hil­a­rat­ing and hum­bling for them. It’s worth the in­vest­ment. With this ex­pe­ri­ence, they will know bet­ter the as­pi­ra­tions of oth­ers.

They will also get to know them­selves bet­ter.

That will bring them to the ul­ti­mate cam­paign ques­tion: Now that I know my­self bet­ter, would I vote for me?

Good luck to our young fu­ture pub­lic ser­vants.

* For feed­back, please email it to an­tipoloc­i­ty­gov@gmail.com or send it to #4 Horse Shoe Drive, Bev­erly Hills Sub­di­vi­sion, Bgy. Bev­erly Hills, An­tipolo City, Rizal.

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