May. 22, 2021

Where our political parties went totally wrong

Millions of us are stunned when the disparity between government thinking and the people they are elected to serve stands out starkly.

It is not an accident. Political parties are evolving, but we refuse to admit it. The way that parties are governed has rendered party conventions meaningless. Party memberships that millions of us took pride in for decades are also meaningless.  

Thousands of us who donated money, endless hours and out-of-pocket expenses to promote the party of our choice are drifting away. We are no longer helpful.

Representatives we elect to govern the party are hiring experts in internet and media data mining to establish individual likes, dislikes, and potential voting patterns. Note that I left out the word ‘our’ as the data mining does not include millions of us who avoid or keep a low profile on social media and maintain a neutral public political profile.

It is disconcerting to realize that predicting voting patterns in Canada includes billions of individual online commentaries respecting former U.S. President Trump.

All major political parties follow the same pattern. The difference between them is how sophisticated a data mining organization they can afford. It follows that the smaller parties are more honest as they are not as greatly influenced by data mining.

As an illustration, consider the following:

Want to win? Stoke voters’ anger, excitement, pride and fear, say the Conservatives’ social media strategists
Alex Boutilier and Stephanie Levitz wrote in the Toronto Star that you have to shock people. Your message should invoke anger, pride, excitement or fear. That’s how the social media consulting firm hired by Canada’s federal Conservative party views effective political communications in the digital age. The company has run digital campaigns for conservative parties in New Zealand, Australia, and for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party. 

“You’ve got to surprise people, you’ve got to shock people, you’ve got to unlock an arousal emotion in people … The particular emotions that we need to unlock are arousal motions. We’re talking anger, excitement, pride, fear. Your content should be relating to one of these emotions for anyone to give a damn about.”

The political party nabobs fail to realize that their tactics directly attack democracy as they undermine the structure that created parties and attracted support for their policies and principles.
They have pivoted to seek support from a vocal minority that does not represent our society, driving away millions who believe that policies and principles are meaningful.
Social media drivel caused O’Toole’s decision to change a leadership election promise to avoid a carbon tax. Social media and many other internet platforms cater to people who shun work needed to make an informed decisions and opt for popular memes as opinions. They have opinions on everything but no idea how they got them as they reside in an echo chamber.
We vote in elections to choose a representative; not someone to represent a party, but to represent us to the party and in parliament or the legislature. We expect the party to adhere to the policies and principles that attracted us. When they fail to do so, they lose the right to represent us.
We want to elect representatives to represent us above all else. Party politics are not necessary; they have made that clear. If we select candidates willing to represent us irrespective of party affiliation, we can upset the apple cart and render the data mining meaningless.