A conversation that often comes up around periods of campaigning is how to approach the issue of voter apathy.
How does a political party inspire a section of society that has no interest in a system that offers so little diversity between parties, where there exists no party that offers universal appeal, or parties that simply provoke a lack of confidence in their ability to deliver any improvement.
It’s a fair observation to say many vote habitually or traditionally for one party or another without any real consideration of the detrimental impact on their life. A point in case might be when pensioners consistently vote for the party that historically reduces their pensions or plunders the healthcare system that they depend on. There is a core electorate that regard it as traitorous to change their vote.
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For many it is not a choice that is made with any enthusiasm but one that is made only to obstruct the opposition parties from gaining seats, often cheered on by a skewed press promoting deliberate misconceptions and a devotion to their default choice.
34% of eligible voters don’t visit the polling booth. They don’t care to hear about the party, or its promises or are repelled by the brand being sold to them and just bide their time while wasting some of yours, until they can politely shut you out of their life for another 4 years by closing that door. It’s understandable really. Campaigners want something they’ve got, but the non-voter sees it as a one-way transaction with no personal benefit.
Proud as some might be to say they are socialist or that they are left wing, it often means little or nothing to the doorstepped voter regardless of how intense or heartfelt the words. Often things are made worse by inappropriately embedded words that bring to mind the Soviets or communist China to those who have, to their better fortune, never sat through a two-hour meeting of “comrades” and “solidarities.” No matter how much promise and glitter surround those policies, it is all lost to the impression that you sound dated and pointless. Campaigning only at election time ignores the immediate solutions needed by that those we approach, a red bill just out of site sitting on top of the fridge, while instead we regale them with notions of better days if they just place their cross in the correct box.
It’s time for parties to stop campaigning for what they’d do in government, but rather what they’ve done when out of government. Emphasise the things that make us all more alike across the whole political spectrum. that we all have the same basic needs and share a familiarity with the same day to day problems. Our differences are vastly outnumbered by our similarities.
Where we need to be is where people need us, both in policies, but also in actions. Words and marketing campaigns don’t cut it.
There was a moment where there was realistic anticipation that people would see the positive outcome from fresh and brave policies regardless of the people or party pushing it. It looked as though people were going to take the leap of faith. It wasn’t to be, and the centrists could sleep soundly in their beds once again while the shattered left licked its wounds and prepared for the fight back.