I guess we could talk long and hard about the effects of the electoral campaign on the intention of citizens to vote. From what the polls say, it seems that the influence on the vote is minimal. In other words, to change the voting intention of four clueless people, political parties invest huge amounts of personal, material, economic resources, etc. If it were a business or a business activity it would be ruinous and from the point of view of society it is a consciously unsustainable and even unfair way of acting for a democracy.
In the political panorama of the Basque Country, there are three political parties that have a much higher deployment of media than the rest. And I say this last thing, sticking only to what I see in my immediate environment. PNV, PSE and PP waste media through advertising posters even in the same tram cars. They have a fleet of new and exclusive vehicles for this campaign. They have some incredibly ostentatious mobile stages that include, as in the case of the PNV, lighting structures, cranes that move cameras above the audience and even complex systems for dictating speeches. If this were not enough, we are bombarded with tons of electoral propaganda letters and even send our ballot paper and envelope to our house, all ready to be deposited in the ballot box.
I don’t have the remotest idea of the total cost that all this deployment of media could entail in just a few weeks, but I sense that more than one would jump in fright. It is also not a secret that a part of all this cost is covered by private donations that come mainly from private companies. A very dark and questionable subject from the point of view of the ethics of the political parties that agree to this game of donations that is made, obviously, in exchange for something.
And all this deployment in the face of the apparent passivity of the majority of citizens. Part of the problem stems from the fact that there isn’t much difference between what they say on the campaign trail and what they say the rest of the year. There are no big exclusive messages for the campaign season. It is simply concentrated or intensified. So if a large part of society was previously tired of political fiddling (the CIS says so) it is not strange that now, in the campaign, they hate it. And proof of this are the images that come to us daily from the different rallies that are held at street level and in any town. In addition to the politicians themselves, journalists and the occasional grateful stomach, there are very few or even non-existent people who are interested or come to know the message that is going to be conveyed at that moment. In addition, it is common for television cameras to take great care not to give general plans where the failure of the call is appreciated.
If all this is so, what is the reason to keep doing it over and over again in the same way? Don’t know. I’m afraid there will be reasons. In any case it should change and it will. Otherwise it will not be the already poor image of politicians (the CIS also says so) that will worsen but rather the democratic exercise itself.
So that it is not just criticizing, here are some ideas that I would include in the development of electoral campaigns to achieve the ultimate goal, which is none other than clearly transferring the political program and candidates of the different parties so that the citizen is inclined for one of them and reward him through his vote.
First of all, the abusive use of paper should disappear. We are strongly committed to the digitization of society and bridging the technological gap. The BiscayTIK Foundation has been created for this purpose and they have provided us with an email account to facilitate communication and management with the administration. Could we not use this medium or other similar means to reach citizens who wish to do so the programs of the different political parties? We would save tons of paper, we would only reach those who are truly interested and the mailbox at home would not be saturated with political spam.
Afterwards, exclusive formulas or actions for the campaign period would have to be found so that they differ radically from what is done outside of the campaign (or rather the rest of the year). The important thing is the content and not so much the packaging. One way to make the latter evident is through televised debates with the participation of all political agents. All sitting at the same table as equals. Today they are very rare and when they are carried out they are agreed upon, as happened in the debates between Zapatero and Rajoy where they did not even have the courage to invite Llamazares.
In this sense, it would be necessary to organize so that the proposals in the different areas reach the citizens in an orderly manner. In this way, citizens would have a way of assessing the electoral programs more objectively, fleeing and closing space to what today occupies the headlines such as insults and disqualification of the adversary. Today, beyond disqualifying the opponent, very few concrete proposals are heard and those that are made are diluted in the rest of straw messages. It would also be interesting for the municipal candidates to participate in debates in their towns, confronting their ideas with those of the other parties in the municipality.
Because we don’t know, we don’t even know the candidates we voted for. It is very important to know who are the people who are emerging as candidates. Does any party present the curriculum vitae of its candidates? I would like to know what their training is, what they have done before or where they work. In private companies it is essential. I do not understand how for the public function, with the importance that it has, it is not something demandable. It is also important to know what relationship these people have with the environment they intend to govern. If they are people who have participated, for example, in sports or cultural associations of the town, or belong to the association of merchants or businessmen, or are an architect who participated in the last PGOU review or simply if they send their children to the school of the town. Perhaps the latter is too much to ask, taking into account that more than half of the members of the electoral lists of the PP are from outside the Basque Country. No comment.
In short, expensive electoral campaigns, not very creative and very far from the citizens.