What really matters to most ordinary people? Simple. Food, security, and certainty. In a Third World “democracy” such as the Philippines, most successful politicians are able to distil their messaging down to what ticks those three boxes. Taking this perspective, it is easy to see how former President Rodrigo Duterte sustained his popularity, trust, and confidence ratings over much of his term in office. He may have not crushed the competition in 2016 the way current President Bongbong Marcos did in 2022, but Duterte became notable for the oustanding feat of keeping his public opinion numbers buoyant ’til the very end.
Marcos, on the other hand, went on to become the first post-1986 president to ever take office on the back of a majority vote; and not just a majority vote, a crushing win that decimated an Opposition that foolishly allowed itself to be led by the usual suspects of the Yellowtard-Communist Axis. Unfortunately for him, however, Marcos now struggles to sustain his political capital — at least the part of it to do with public opinion.
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A Pulse Asia poll taken in April this year showed Marcos’s approval rating fall to 78% from 82% recorded in November, 2022 and his trust rating to 80% from 82% over the same period. More recently, Pulse Asia reported that, based on polls taken in September of this year, Marcos’s performance rating had plunged to just 65% of survey respondents.
Perception is everything. While access to food is the most objective measure of wellbeing (i.e., you either have enough of it or you don’t), people’s feelings surrounding security and certainty are open to influence. Politicking and power plays in the king’s court may get a Filipino politician somewhere. But it is in the Court of Public Opinion where real power is forged. This was evident in how the Yellowtards played the former well but ultimately lost because of their incompetence in the latter. The Yellowtards had all the right connections — to media, to the chi chi private school set, to the loudmouths of the Church, to the noisy “activist” mob, and to the shrill “songbirds” of Pinoy showbiz, you name it — the Yellowtards had them all by the balls. And yet, they suffered the most catastrophic, the most embarassing, and the most important electoral defeat in recent Philippine history.
Why did the Yellowtards lose despite their traditional political assets? They failed to convince Filipinos that, under their regime (and perhaps that of their communist chums), people will be well-nourished, feel safe, and feel optimistic about their futures. Instead of crafting messaging that talked to those, they alienated big swathes of voters by building their pitch to them around irrelevant woke “issues” — gender equality, gay rights, “human rights” and all that is sugar and spice and everything nice to the virtue signalling agendas of the iPad-tapping latte-sipping set.
The lesson is simple, really. Don’t be like the Yellowtards. Don’t be a Dutertard or a Marcostard. Be people who think critically.
The Yellowtards dropped the ball because they became a cult of personality that worshipped dead personalities, made statues of them and worshipped those statues. Somewhere along the way they left their brains — which cost entire family fortunes to fill with textbook stuff — in Katipunan. Don’t carry on this tradition lest you leave yours in España or Taft Avenue.
It’s simple, really. Winning elections is all about getting a good feel for what keeps ordinary people awake at night. And whenever they do get some shuteye, the first thing that will be on their minds as they rise from their banigs in the morning is how many meals they will get to eat today, whether they will be able to get onto a jeepney or bus to and from work, whether they will come home in one piece, and whether or not they would be able to sustain this same daily routine over the next six months at the very least. Which politician’s face can be associated to answers to these worries will be the one who will go on to win the next election.
Tardic cults of personality don’t win elections. Answers to the questions of ordinary people will.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.