No radical love, but a radical reboot
VICE President Maria Leonor Robredo is committed to spreading and nurturing a radical form of love to propel and energize her campaign. Looks like what she needs is a drastic reboot. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The downfall of the Robredo campaign is the arrogant elitism among many of its supporters.
The reality of the electoral landscape and its associated electoral calculations for Robredo are daunting. She faces a main adversary in the person of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who is now the head of the investigation and who seems to defy gravity and teflon because he is able to deflect all the dirt and attacks that are thrown at him. And yet his campaign seems either in disarray, directionless, or simply in the wrong hands.
The problem with the Robredo campaign is that it wants to ride on the ethos of a social movement and would rely primarily on the social activism of volunteers who are unpaid but also lack accountability and discipline. What makes this situation even worse is the fact that, ideally, social movements require an ideology, or overarching narrative, which even the group engaged by the Robredo campaign admitted to lacking. If there is a dominant and unifying theme, it would be this deep aversion for the Marcoses and the Dutertes.
And it is the heaviest albatross hanging over the Robredo campaign. It is driven by the deep need to tear down the Marcos-Duterte axis of power, instead of building it. It is the overarching ethic that is embedded in his campaign psyche to such an extent that it is already structural, not just a predisposition that can easily be reformed.
The final nail that seals the fate of Robredo’s campaign is the moral and intellectual elitism inherent in many of his supporters. This, combined with the urge to attack and tear down, and turned into the very character of the campaign that has made it a liability as it now tries to catch up with favorite Marcos’ survey results. A campaign dominated by anger, when juxtaposed with moral complacency and intellectual elitism, naturally breeds the kind of attitude where “the other”, or those who don’t follow the Robredo bandwagon , are belittled, diminished and demonized as stupid and ignorant enablers. evil and corruption.
What happened last Saturday, February 4, is symptomatic of the extreme difficulty that the Robredo campaign is going through. In less than 24 hours, his supporters have alienated and angered two sectors of society rich in potential votes.
More serious is the way his followers tried to mock Marcos’ attire during his interview with Korina Sanchez, turning it into a meme suggesting that Marcos looked like a service crew at a fast food chain, or working at a gas station or courier company. The attempt to mock failed miserably as it angered many who saw it as an insult to our service workers. Marcos masterfully appropriated the meme, transformed it, and owned it as a representation of his solidarity with the working class. It was Robredo’s campaign that was mortally wounded, with his vaunted preference for “laylayan” now undermined by sly mistreatment of blue-collar workers by his supporters.
Less noticed, but still offensive, was how his followers once again jumped on Marcos for claiming in a radio interview with DZBB that he graduated from Oxford. This time, he no longer claimed to have obtained a full bachelor’s degree, which his camp had already claimed by acknowledging that what he had obtained was only a special diploma. The crux of the controversy here is the use of the label “graduate”. Any university knows that anyone who obtains a degree, whether it is a pre-baccalaureate or a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or a full doctorate, is considered a “graduate” and is even inducted as a member of its alumni association. UP has two-year certificate programs like the Certificate in Forestry at UPLB, or Associate of Arts programs at UP Diliman and UP Open University.
The urge to denigrate Marcos as unworthy of claiming the label of “graduate” because he did not complete a full bachelor’s degree has also effectively diminished the right of those hundreds of thousands, if not millions of graduates not only of programs Pre-Baccalaureate Certificate, or Associate in Art Programs not only at UP but other higher education institutions, but also professional and technical courses offered through Tesda.
It is now a difficult situation that has been structurally integrated into the Robredo campaign. Indeed, it can also be said that Marcos’ campaign is also riddled with toxic supporters and influencers targeting Robredo and his supporters. The big difference, unfortunately for Robredo, is that Marcos is the favourite. He just needs to shore up his votes, and while it’s discouraging, this negative toxicity actually becomes useful in solidifying and rallying his base.
It’s quite different for Robredo. She is trying to catch up and hopefully pass Marcos. To do that, she must broaden her base, and she can only do that by winning over the undecided and converting weak voters to other candidates, including Marcos. The electoral calculus is already formidably stacked in favor of Marcos, with very few undecided and soft voters. It would become more intimidating if you alienated a cohort or sector of voters.
And that’s exactly what the Robredo supporters did. They have irritated and alienated not only service workers, but perhaps even graduates of certificate, associate of arts, and vocational and technical programs. With such supporters, Robredo doesn’t need Marcos’ trolls to complicate his life.
Once again, I reiterate. What Robredo needs is less radical love to boost his campaign. Instead, what she really needs is a drastic reboot to save it.
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