Vice-President Leni Robredo finally announcing her candidacy for the presidency yesterday injected an interesting bit of energy into the online opposition. A lot of people expressed support, even many of my friends who usually stayed silent during the regular political exercises.
In theory, I remain neutral, as I like to give each candidate a fair shake during the campaign period and make my final decisions as election day nears (or on the day itself even!) But this year's slate is especially bleah and bereft of actual, exciting choices that it's easy to see where I will be leaning.
It's easy to be complacent - oh, so many of our friends are expressing support! - but we need to remember that what we see is largely confined to our own online echo chambers. Leni's bid is winnable but it's still very much an uphill battle - she will be facing opponents with widespread political influence and machinery and well-funded propaganda machines. Even before she declared there was a groundswell of support among mostly middle to upper class netizens, but that support needs to be translated to a wider base.
Some quick thoughts:
- might be a good idea to have a centralized repository of campaign materials - quick summaries of the candidate and her accomplishments and platforms and plans. I can see some infographics being shared around on Twitter (and presumably Facebook), but if someone wants to know more it would be nice to have a URL I can point to for more information and not have to root around for random FB / twitter posts. Can also be a source for materials that individuals can print out themselves if they like
- where possible, supporters should get to know her background and accomplishments in and out and be willing to discuss with any curious or open-minded undecideds; a signficant advantage of a true grassroots campaign over paid machinery should be that the grassroots supporters are more passionate and well-informed about the cause and better able to reach out to undecideds
- any discussion should try to be open, civil and inclusive. Obviously there are fanatic supporters of other camps who will not engage fairly; I would just let them go: smile, say thanks for their time and move on. I think the early stages are not the time for focusing on the opponents (for one thing, it's still unclear who the final threats will end up to be), so focus should be on raising awareness of the candidate and her qualifications.
- I see some people printing out "Let Leni Lead" and such stickers and other materials. While these quick logos/slogans are great for raising awareness, they don't do much to explain to people why the candidate should be considered. I would suggest (in addition to the above) some promotional materials that invite discussion (see above), especially in the vernacular, maybe something like "Iboboto ko si Leni, tanungin mo ako kung bakit." (Equivalent of "ask me why", could probably be worded better.)
- Additionally, I think printouts that give short summaries of why to vote for her would be good. Not super comprehensive infographics or anything (people won't read them if they're too dense), but maybe one or two quick points with a link to a website (see the first item above) if they want to know more. Such materials could be handed out to delivery workers, grab drivers and so on, or anyone else who is curious! (helpful for those of us who have anxiety talking to strangers!)
- More video content, because a lot of people watch videos and don't like reading text. (I realize the irony of recommending this in a mostly text post, but this is all I can do). As an example, I read earlier this nice anecdote from someone who has worked with the VP. I think its a good story, but might be more effective as promotion if the author recorded a short 10-20 second clip telling it. I think if this kind of content is more prevalent - real stories of real people who have worked with or benefited from working with the VP - it can be really effective. Unfortunately I don't think video content generation is a talent widespread among me and my age group, so maybe younger supporters have to pick it up. It also requires a bit of guts - you're essentially putting yourself out there in support of the candidate.
- Related to above: need to reach out to younger people platforms like Youtube and Tiktok where there is already a lot of propaganda from the other camps
Sadly I'm still dealing with some stuff so at this point all I can do is emerge from my cave long enough make suggestions, but I am excited and hopeful for this campaign and the coming months; if the grassroots support is properly encouraged and utilized it might just be enough to make history.