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Politicole: Split Party, Split Votes And The Leader Who Splits Opinions

By NICOLE BURROWS

‘I, Hubert Alexander Minnis, is the leader of the Free National Movement ...”

Cringe.

That’s what he said the day after the parliamentary coup. Are we really supposed to take this man seriously? This is who y’all think is fit enough to represent us as a nation?

Well, at least Trump won’t be lonely on the world stage ... he’ll be in good company with someone else struggling to speak English, and they can struggle together. I shudder to think how Minnis made it through medical school. And I would imagine he is not the only one of his kind who did.

People, this is a problem.

Look, I know good grammar isn’t the only consideration for wisdom or success, but is this really what we want leading us around the globe? People of the world already have ridiculous ideas of how uneducated or ignorant island or Caribbean people are; do we really need someone who can’t work out tenses and person in a basic sentence to carry our banner? How many times are we going to choose the ill-equipped to lead us? You think it’s a small thing, but it’s exactly why nothing works as it should in the Bahamas ... why government agencies can’t rise above a basic level of functionality to accomplish their minimum agendas.

“I is”? My 12-year-old niece knows better than this. Any well-educated Bahamian (not necessarily educated abroad in university, and not necessarily educated abroad in an expensive university) would know better than this, and would never say it unless intentionally trying to sound illiterate.

I guess it keeps us entertained - that and the white patch of hair running down only the right side of Minnis’ head. It’s very interesting. Maybe I can distract myself with that and forget about the rest for now.

Doubtful. Because ...

Minnis strikes again

Other than headlines, which can often be misleading, I try not to read any news articles from any news source or media house just before I write this column. It’s a writer thing ... we want to be careful not to have other people’s voices spill over into ours, unless of course we want them to, because what could look like thought theft is not a good look for any writer.

But today I glimpsed The Tribune editorial: ‘Time for Dr Minnis to Step Down’, and I had to take a closer look. I wanted to make sure what it covered wasn’t the same as what I was already planning to write about. Sometimes that happens, even across news sources.

And while there was some general overlapping of subject, there were two specific points of note to me in the editorial which I thought I should expand on: the first about Minnis’ refusal to step down, as referenced in the headline, and the second about how the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) split the 2012 election, giving the total votes by party/grouping. Since I had already planned to discuss more about Minnis’ perpetual leadership syndrome, and I’ve been wanting to address the split vote notion, here goes.

Reasons why Minnis won’t step down

  1. A general lust for power and control - he might really be that type of person. Who is to say for certain but him? I know, to the rest of us, it’s surely looking more and more possible.

  2. Delusion - he believes he and only he can ‘save’ the Free National Movement (FNM) and the Bahamas. Steadily, he begins to channel Lynden Pindling, and that is not a compliment in this instance. Minnis does not realise what he needs to save the FNM from is himself.

  3. Stubbornness - he won’t step down from the FNM leadership position because he just won’t step down. End of story.

  4. He is ignorant ... of one significant fact - he doesn’t even realise his leadership is such a big problem swallowing up the organisation and any capability that remains in it.

  5. He has been or is being lied to about his suitability as a good leader by the highest ranking and the lowest ranking among FNMs.

  6. He has something somebody of influence wants and him becoming Prime Minister of the Bahamas is the only way for them to get it.

  7. He wants something someone else has and him becoming Prime Minister of the Bahamas is the only way for him to get it.

  8. His belief system - he thinks leaving is equal to being a loser and he ain’t trying to be one. In a word, ego.

  9. He is a huge financial investment and/or he has made a huge financial investment as party leader, and, not realising it is already a sunk cost, he won’t walk away or won’t be allowed to walk away from the role. It’s kind of like a Bahamian college student who’s struggling to finish school when the parents say “We ain’t spend all this money on you for nothing, you better come out with something ...” or, in the case of the self-reliant Bahamian college student ... “I done spend all this money, I gatta come out with something.” And, in the Minnis/FNM scenario, the only something that’s worth it is the post of FNM leader, followed by the position of Bahamian Prime Minister.

Why - and how - the DNA can win the 2017 election

There are still many people who talk about the DNA only serving to split the vote in the 2012 general election and doing the same thing again in the 2017 general election. I disagree. The net effect and the impact of the DNA in the next election will not be the same. The numbers will tell a different, more interesting story. Follow the reasoning.

First of all, the people who say all the DNA will do is split the vote assume that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) voter base, and the FNM voter base, will remain the same. Neither one has remained the same. The word on every street corner says neither PLP nor FNM voter base has remained the same. The only question is how much has each party’s voter base changed?

In actuality, it is not far-fetched to project that the voter bases of both the PLP and the FNM have been substantially eroded, to the tune of about 40 per cent each, since the last general election. Meanwhile, the DNA voter base has not diminished, but has in fact grown by the same amount or more. Effectively, and ironically, by splitting their own votes, the PLP and FNM have made it easier for the DNA to win the next general election.

Yesterday’s Tribune editorial published the following total vote figures from the 2012 election:

PLP 75,815

FNM 65,633

DNA 13,226

BCP 96

Independents 1,117

A 40 per cent erosion of those PLP and FNM numbers, and no diminishment of DNA numbers, would put the DNA in a comfortable position to win the next election. By taking 40 per cent of the FNM voter base and 40 per cent of the PLP voter base, while maintaining its 2012 voter base, the DNA can take the majority of votes in the next election.

DNA 69,805

PLP 45,489

FNM 39,379

The only disruptive factor would be a mass number of people voting for independent candidates, which is always a possibility but not likely, or, if other smaller parties took PLP/FNM votes instead of them being cast to the DNA.

These are just basic numbers, not inserting statistical probability, but it is enough to hypothesise about and enough to encourage you to still go ahead and vote for the DNA in 2017.

The DNA’s job now, if they intend to win the 2017 general election, should be to focus firmly on the disaffected voters of the two major parties, as well as the younger voters, who are more likely to feel like they have to make a difference in this next election because their parents and grandparents won’t/won’t vote.

The DNA should also be unmistakably clear about its latest alliance with the FNM, so that Bahamians who insist on being ignorant in the face of explanation and think the agreement is a merger of the two parties, the FNM and the DNA, or an acquisition of the DNA by the FNM, can be set straight with heads clear enough in the end to be wise in the polling booths on election day.

Comments and responses to nburrows@

tribunemedia.net

Comments

MonkeeDoo 4 years, 3 months ago

An interesting perspective, made more certain by today's announcement.

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jujutreeclub 4 years, 3 months ago

You are living in La la land. Wake up and smell some real coffee. Don't know where you are living. Must be in a rock hole somewhere.

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Zakary 4 years, 3 months ago

This was a jokey read. What about voter registration trends? We would usually have about 134,000+ people registered by this time. There were about 172,000 people registered in the 2012 election with about 155,000 of them voting.

From last word, only about 72,000 people are currently registered. With that in mind, the numbers in this hypothesis are crazy, or just maybe we will have 180,000+ people registered come election time. That sounds like a good dream.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 3 months ago

I always enjoy your articles but your hypothesis just seems so far off and the most votes does not equate to the most seats 2012 tlles us that.

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 3 months ago

I take it , You are no fan of "Roc with Doc" but "pretty boy" Bran with not one single visionary idea in his head. May the good Lord spare us. You and you alone know how you came to this conclusion from votes in 2012. a lot has changed since then . Who live the longest will see. No one really knows who will win the election , all they know those who are registered is how they will vote.

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