Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Of Toronto and elections...

Yesterday was my hometown's elections.  As anyone who knows me knows, I am apolitical.  I like politics (for their anthropological value), I follow them closely but I have no party allegiance or political ideology to which I follow.  As a person, who has a passion for understanding human behavior, politics is the ultimate opportunity to observe and understand my fellow citizenry.

So here are my observations from yesterdays election:

  1. George Smitherman was never going to win.  Three reasons; 1) he had a terrible record as a minister; 2) he has a brutal disposition that screams 'elitist'; and 3) his lifestyle doesn't match up to the perceptions of acceptable to religious zealots and many immigrant populations;
  2. The Toronto media's witch hunt ended up back firing on them.  The lack of journalism integrity shown by major newspapers such the the Globe and Mail and the Star was embarrassing.  They were transparent in their attempt to manipulate and thus created a backlash amongst the population. The biggest problem was that the papers forgot about the comments sections as well as social media.  Their attempt to control the message was beat down with social marketing.  Rob Ford learnt this from the Obama campaign and used it well in Toronto to combat the media;
  3. The former council created this perfect storm by not being inclusive.  They may not have agreed with the 'other side' but to consistently mock and ridicule varying ideas was perceived by the public by arrogant and out-of-touch.  BTW, for those of you on the left side in Canada, I would ditch the 'progressive' tag.  It is smug and does not translate well amongst the general population.  They sent the message that they were 'entitled to their entitlements', so the electorate corrected them on that assessment; and
  4. Rob Ford, borrowed from several successful play books.  He sent a simple concise message (Obama play book), did not get baited (Mike Harris) and presented a human demeanor (Ralph Klein).  He became a sympathetic figure as a result of his strategy.  He was the kid in the school yard being picked and was trying to stick up for himself but was over matched. The public came to help him and believed his message as a result.  George Smitherman, on the other hand, came across as being the out-of-touch elite that had the likability of a cobra.  
In summary, I won't get into platforms because I do not really care. I am apolitical for a reason.  I do however, think that the lessons above should be heeded by political figures heading into elections in the next few years.


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