Anatomy Of A Campaign (Part I)
He has been likened to James Carville, Karl Rove and David Axelrod, the strategists who respectively oversaw the elections of Clinton, George W. and Obama.
Toby Tiangco, the campaign manager of the UNA, says he is afraid of him: “He is what makes my job difficult.”
In 2007, he was invited by Binay, Erap and Cory to manage the successful Senate Genuine Opposition slate against GMA. He was brought in (but subsequently left) to do the same for P-Noy and Mar Roxas in 2010. So he now has worked intimately with both the Team Pnoy and UNA pricipals. The rumor is he had been asked to run the former but declined. He is ostensibly advising Grace, Risa, Bam and Jun M. on an unofficial capacity.
He is an avid student of politics and a data wonk. He is credited for his street smarts and disciplined execution of a campaign using surveys, demographics, messaging, scheduling and media strategy.
He is Senator Serge Osmena.
In an interview, Serge O talks about the anatomy of a campaign, a behind the scenes assessment of what it takes to win an election. The answers are his but the wording is mine. I am guilty for any discrepancies between the two. My personal observations are in parenthesis.
I. The Candidate
Not anybody can be a national candidate or win an election. He must have the basic raw material and a level of public awareness in Manila. Politicians who remain in the province will have a hard time building a national brand e.g. Mayor Duterte has limited national awareness despite his work and popularity in Davao.
II. The Voter
The Filipino votes based on five factors: Social values, personal traits, utility, conditionality and private bias.
Social values are the candidate’s stand on issues like morality, the environment and women’s rights. Risa Hontiveros possesses social values.
Personal attractiveness is the candidate’s likeability and physical attributes, the stuff that gets media stars elected.
Utility refers to the candidate’s perceived usefulness in improving a voter’s life e.g. in getting him a job or his child an education.
Conditionality is the candidate’s relevance to the times: People will vote for a military man when law and order is an issue, for a businessman in a recession.
Private biases are the voter’s idiosyncrasies e.g. women often prefer a woman candidate.
Voters will assign different weights to the above factors depending on their circumstances (The educated will emphasize a candidate’s technical qualifications, the poor will look for those who can get him a job). Not any one factor will get a candidate elected.
Polls are important because they drive the funding. (Polls also help condition the electorate and make results self-fulfilling.)