So most people are back to work now. There’s an election coming up in less than five months and a new highly-contagious variant of the COVID virus to face. Everyone is doing their job to face these and the rest of life’s challenges — everyone, perhaps, except the esteemed honchos of Opposition campaign teams. The challenge is simple: make Leni Robredo popular. So, what now? Opposition “thought leaders” continue to look to the past for answers to the big question: What more can we do to make Leni a winner?
At this point in the campaign, candidates should already have firmed their messaging and defined the field on which the battle for voters’ hearts and minds will be fought. For Robredo and her Yellowtards, their choice of battlefield is the one where they believe Filipinos remain torn between “democracy” and “authoritarianism”. The Yellowtards think that they are still in the midst of a “fight” for democracy and they want Filipinos to join this fight lest they lose the “freedoms” that had been “won” from the clutches of the “evil dictator” in 1986. In short, Robredo does not have a vision for the Philippines. Her rhetoric is a stunted one that involves keeping Filipinos believing that they are victims and that she and her lot are their rescuers.
The Philippines is, in fact, a maturing democratic country. This year will see the seventh presidential election since that “revolution” in 1986. Based on what several reputable polling firms are reporting, the outcome of this year’s election may be the first majority-elected president under the current 1987 Constitution. If Robredo claim to be rescuing Filipinos from some sort of tyrant, this is a “tyrant” a majority of Filipinos is likely to choose. Robredo and her ilk are, in effect, claiming that choosing a “tyrant” that they themselves had labelled as such is “bad”. Unfortunately for them, democracy does not judge the goodness or badness of election candidates — only how many votes they attract.
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Why has Robredo so far failed in her efforts to become more popular than leading presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos? Ask a typical Yellowtard and she will tell you it is because Marcos was a beneficiary of “fake news”, “disinformation”, and “historical revisionism” perpetrated over decades since 1986. First of all, that is their opinion try as hard as they can to make it sound like a statement of fact. Second, that answer still does not explain why Robredo remains unpopular. The fact that the Yellowtards prefer to regard the contest for people’s votes through the lens of the first and fail to reflect on the confronting truth of the second goes some way towards explaining why their campaign is a failure.
The most probable explanation is that Filipinos can tell whether a candidate is the real deal or not. Authenticity is a very subtle virtue that clients pay PR consultants, marketers, and advertisers millions to nail. Consumers, on the other hand, rely on their gut. Evidently, the guts of the more than 50 percent of Filipinos polled over the last year or two tell them something good about Marcos. The Yellowtards have since been mounting an ineffectual campaign to discredit those guts. It’s a flawed strategy formulated by arrogant pretenders. True professionals in the fields of mass persuasion spend their energies understanding those guts and not dismissing them.
What next for the Yellowtards now that more than enough metrics have proven the folly of their chosen campaign approach? Easy. Their strategy needs to be reformed. As the venerable Albert Einstein once pointed out, you can’t solve a problem using the same thinking that created it. Robredo should fire her campaign team.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.