Political taste test-A A +A
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
TELL us how we can differentiate the taste of Pepsi from Coca Cola? Or for that matter the differences among political parties?
Most people can’t tell the difference, according to a Samuel McClure and Read Montague study. “Coke and Pepsi are special in that, while they have very similar chemical composition, people maintain strong behavioral preferences for one over the other. We initially measured these behavioral preferences objectively, by administering double-blind taste tests. We found that subjects split equally in their preferences for Coke and Pepsi in the absence of brand information.”
What goes for soda pop goes for politicos and political parties, especially here in the Philippines. Do a double blind test, remove the “branding” of political names and political parties, and voters will realize that almost all are the same as Coke and Pepsi. We can’t tell one from the rest.
The cola brands still have brand differentiation, even if there is no product differentiation. It’s still a dog-eat-dog competition, fight to the death between the two colas in the market arena. Unthinkable for Coke and Pepsi to get their acts together in the market. If colas are the same, consumers would howl in protest because they’re stuck with a single choice, with no power to choose the best that fits their taste.
But electoral parties? In the political arena, the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nationalist People’s (NPC) have coalesced and declared as their official Bacolod candidates for Bacolod representative, mayor and vice-mayor respectively as Evelio Leonardia, Jude Thaddeus Sayson, and Greg Gasataya.
Why the LP under PNoy would coalesce with the NPC under Danding Cojuangco, a close Marcos crony and not with the United Nationalist Alliance of human rights lawyer and now Vice President Jejomar Binay who fought the Marcos dictatorship, is beyond me. This political equivalent of the kiddie game musical chairs smacks of the opportunistic principle of “permanence of interests.”
Just to confuse the electorate some more, opposing mayoralty candidate Monico Puentevella, his running mate Vladimir González and their ten candidates for councilors have organized themselves into “Magbinuligay Kita sa Kauswagan” (MKK) for the 2013 polls.
And why do I find that situation confusing? Because, according to Puentevella, MKK is also a coalition of the LP-PDP-Laban and NP! The LP versus the LP, a house divided. Or is the LP akin to a different market segment, classic Coke versus Diet Coke? A marketing tool to cover all the bases?
What are the party platforms that can differentiate the LP from the NPC, PDP-Laban and NP, the GP and MKK? Far more important, however, is what exactly do they propose to do to get our sweet votes? Do they even know their political roadmaps or simply going for “oido,” as the Spaniards call it?
MKK candidate Jocelle Batapa Batapa-Sigue presented her team’s vision with their first agenda as good governance that is participatory and consensus-oriented. She said they also hope to provide livelihood and skills training, education, responsive health care, sustainable environment, business development and infrastructure, effective social services, dynamic tourism programs, sports development programs, and information technology development. Will the rest of her MKK team uphold her so-called “team vision?”
How about the GP? Give us a taste test not of the quality of your singing voices but of your governance plans. Excite us, wow us of your legislative and executive plans! Enough of putdowns and negative political campaigning that simply mask a politician’s ineptitude, or who gets to sing better “The Impossible Dream.”
Politicians and even media are fond of talking of “national unity,” which leave a bad taste in the mouth from where I sip; somehow it reeks of groupthink. I hold that from a democratic and human rights perspective, “unity amid diversity” is the far better standard. That way, consumers and the electorate are guaranteed of the right and the power to choose not better insults but better well-thought out platforms based on detailed “brand information.”
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 20, 2013.