Political campaigns

Variants | The Three Rs of Political Campaigns | Views

THE September 2022 issue of Reader’s Digest includes the following “fun fact” about the origin of the word “candidate”:

“In ancient Rome…[p]politicians wore sparkling white robes… to show the purity of their intentions. This white toga was called candida togaLatin candidate (bleach). From there we get the English words candidate (a candidate office) and Candid (truthful), two words rarely spoken in the same sentence.

(Rim-shot sound effect.)

But the candidates for the elections should not feel slighted.

According to Reader’s Digest, the opposite of a candidate is… an idiot. idiots in Greek. “Coming from the word idiotswhich means “private”, an idiot was anyone who did not hold public office. »

And now that we all feel insulted, let’s talk about this year’s campaign promises. As usual, this is an overhaul or restatement of promises from the previous election year that many of us no longer remember. These are the three Rs of political campaigning:

Reduce (specificities), Reuse (generalities), Recycle (banalities).

No. I don’t believe that all election candidates intentionally lie to voters. Many really want to “make a difference”, “serve the public”, “make the world a better place”.

“For the people!”

“For kids!”

“For the future!”

And when these candidates are elected, they are more than ready to do what they want to do. But then they’ll find out there’s so many other things they need to do first now that they’re in charge. And that requires tens of millions of dollars in public funds.

Try to imagine what a newly elected or re-elected governor must do on the day they are sworn in in January 2023. First they must ensure that the CNMI’s largest employer, the government, will pay the payroll, every payday, and that the government will continue to contribute significant amounts to the Settlement Fund. Here’s the rest of her to-do list:

• The 25% pensioner benefit

• Medical references

• Scholarships

• The 25% for PSS

• Financing for NMC and NMTI

• The costs of ensuring public safety and maintaining the justice system (courts, corrections, etc.)

• Payments for public services by the government

• The state of deterioration of the old CUC power plants and motors

• The state of the local economy and the islands’ only industry, tourism

• Labor shortage

• Emergency/disaster response

• The financial situation of the government

Then there are the demands for jobs and other favors from supporters, as well as complaints from members of the public about just about everything: unpaved roads, flooding, illegal dumps, degraded properties, employers who don’t hire them, unresponsive or abusive. government officials or personnel, crime, high prices, low wages, lack of this, lack of that, etc.

Meanwhile, some of your supporters will end up bickering (if they’re not already bickering) while demanding that you, as governor, be on their side even as your political opponents, who usually include former political allies, are already sowing intrigue that could quickly turn into public relations fiascos in the age of social media.

And these are what the late Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called the “known knowns” – the things we know we know. But, he says, there are also the “known unknowns” or the things we know we don’t know and, worst of all, the “unknown unknowns”: the things we don’t know we don’t know. These are usually global events beyond our control but which could have catastrophic consequences for the islands.

And so in November, as usual, voters will elect the politicians who, in the Next elections, are likely to be blamed for the bad things that happened and the good things that didn’t happen.

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