Salient lessons emerged from the Turf bill as it got support from the BOE recently. (Read more here) Competing parties and observers know assumptions of wishful thinkers collapsed spectacularly when at least two Board members voted against the measure. New political truths emerged to expose strategic naivety of some of the competitors engaged in what appears to be a criminal activity surrounded by the county flag.
Lesson one: You do not win people’s trust by flaunting money. Money can help a politician to grow strategic networks including using the Turf Bill. Money can also help elect close friends to help protect special interest and eat the pork. But these networks collapse if they are built entirely on manipulative generosity. Tumbocracy is not democracy.
There is no dignity in adults struggling to pick a few hundred dollars on average. The giver is as dehumanised as the receiver. If you must bribe, get change to give victims of political mendacity dignity.
It is heartless tying four people to a $100 note, or even 10 adults to $1,000. Some politicians find sadistic glee when poor people purr over peanuts. The good news is, there is mutual contempt between handout givers and takers. The takers often sing, ‘vote for Y, vote for X’.
There is no mileage in keeping the poor waiting for hours for the benefactor. Some benefactors believe lateness raises their selfesteem. You know, ‘very important persons’ – Lichmen – have 1001 daily engagements. Lichmen expect common man to understand the tight schedules of ‘VIPs’.
Expectations of those who rely on handouts at village ‘toll stations’ mount, as the waiting time gets longer. When they get nothing, or crumbs, they curse, condemn and accuse. Not even room service after the end of official campaign time can change the thinking of vulnerable people when they are offended.
The value of money as an influencer of the outcome of elections is often exaggerated. County Executive Baker, who rained money during the referendum to extend his term during the 2014 general election, knows this. One central democratic committee, which mesmerised Prince George’s County and Maryland with torrential of flyers, also knows this.
You do not start throwing money at people when a vacancy is declared. Not even when you have enough $1,000 notes to carpet the whole 495 Beltway.
Lesson Two: Political representation is not about eyeing any job. Leadership is service to the people. Focused leaders do not salivate for every vacancy. Anyone who eyes every position is like a cornered cock looking for an exit.
Towards the end of 2014, one of the candidates in the county Executive office Mr. Christian Rhodes representing the corrupt unions casually said a position had been advertised within the venerable Prince George’s County schools and he had applied for the job.
Lesson Three: Democratic Party in Maryland and the county leadership led by Rushern Baker III should train their supporters to start thinking of the politics of numbers in elections. Apart from encouraging supporters to register as voters, and actually vote, the party must allow fair competition during nominations. Fair nomination will give voters the leaders they deserve, even as it raises turnout. The interference of Democratic central committee for political gerrymandering in order to take advantage of the school budget for personal gains, is not the way to go.
The turnout in the last general election for Democratic Party was low. Democratic voters in Maryland were not encouraged enough to go to the polls. Which means fewer people registered, and even fewer voted. This apathy also influences registration of voters, and turnout in general elections.
The competition is already talking of the 2016 general election, assuming 2017 is bagged or bungled.
Lesson Four: Democratic Party’s largest constituency in Maryland– Prince George’s County and Baltimore City in particular and even wider Maryland – still respects party leader Barack Obama. Obama remains a political institution, stronger than his critics assume.
The myth of Maryland as ‘south’ and ‘central’ was buried. Also rested was the claim that ‘strangers’ should not influence the vote in Prince George’s County. The actual ‘strangers’ were the ‘monetised’ men who do not understand the county’s political dynamics. The strategic neophytes lacked the humility to interrogate their assumptions. The current denials are not helping matters either.
The divisive ideology of ‘strangers’ was known more to young and open minded citizens who voted for Hogan. This elite wanted to show County Executive Baker that the county detests the influence of ‘corrupt leadership’. The budding propagandists learnt that, for now, Prince George’s County is indivisible, not even by flaunting money to extend political term – the classic carrot of impunity.
Lesson Five: Get people to buy-in by appealing to their basic needs, long before asking for their support. Whoever will win this support, or even inherit Obama’s turf in the fullness of time, needs Democratic Party and its leader. It’s about seduction in many cases – not confrontation.