Write an essay analysing the result of a particular election. This can be any election other than the 2017 UK general election (as we have been discussing it in lectures), or the 2008 US Presidential election (which is the subject of the example pieces of work which will be available on Blackboard) any time, any level (local vs general vs European) or any country.
You must apply the theory that we have explored in this course to explain the results of the election, you may want to focus on one particular area more than others. For example you may want to focus on the role of campaign contributions in affecting the election, or on one party’s success in capturing the ‘centre-ground’ of politics. You will also need to support your arguments with facts, data and other empirical evidence where relevant.
The Importance of Effective Governance Systems
Over the decades, global political framework has undergone immense dynamics and changes, much of which can be attributed to the changes in the overall behavioural trends of the population across the countries in the world and the complexities arising in governing the social, economic, political as well as other aspects of the countries specifically and the world as a whole (Mosco 2014). With events of international significance like that of Globalization, Liberalizations and others, the global political scenario has become much more integrated and inclusive, which in turn implies that the political trends of one country now depend both on the internal dynamics as well as exogenous factors from other countries (Gilpin 2016).
As discussed above, with the economies becoming more integrated and inclusive, with more dynamics in every aspect, it becomes immensely essential for the countries and regions to form an effective and efficient governing system as the prosperity, growth and development of every aspects of a country heavily depends on how efficiently and appropriately the government of the country performs (Hayek 2012). Politics, in this aspect plays a crucial role as it is the process of building up the governance of a country or a region. There are different ways in the political framework, in which the government of the countries are constructed and are operated. One of the most significant and widely used mechanisms of forming a government is that of the method of election. The method of “Election” is the political process, in which the people who aspire to hold public official posts are evaluated and voted for by the eligible voters of a region or a country (Bawn et al. 2012). The elected people are expected to serve as the representatives of the population, thereby fulfilling the needs of the same. With a fair share of the countries in the contemporary period being democracies, this process is extremely popular and is most widely use to form governments.
The candidates and political parties who stand to compete in these types of elections take various strategies and modes to reach out to the voters and to gain their trust. One of the most commonly practiced method for this purpose is the process of political campaigning of the groups in front of the voters, with the use of various mediums (Erikson and Wlezien 2012). Keeping this into account the concerned essay discusses and interprets the National and Local Elections of 2007, held in the Philippines and especially in the region of Cebu, thereby discussing the role played by campaigning of the different candidates in influencing the results of elections in Cebu, especially.
The Role of Elections in Political Governance
Political Campaigning: General theories and implications
In political framework, the notion of “Campaigning”, refers to the different promotional steps which are adopted by various political groups or candidates, during the times of elections especially, to highlight their credibility and better prospects over their competitors in front of the eyes of the eligible voters of a country or a region, in order to gain their trusts, thereby ensuring victories in the elections (Vergeer 2013). In the contemporary periods, with significant presence of different types of mass media, including print, radio, television and even internet as a social media, this is one of the most eminent and influencing steps taken by the political parties across the globe, especially in the recent periods (Kreiss 2016).
There exist different theoretical assertions regarding the ways in which political campaigning helps in influencing the results of the elections. The primary ones are discussed as follows:
Dissemination of information and voter’s knowledge- In the democratic countries, especially as well as in the global political scenario, the decisions taken by the voters are of immense importance as much of the nature and types of government formed and the purposes they serve tend to depend on the candidates whom the voters choose with the help of their voting rights (Hendricks and Kaid 2014). Thus, for effective decisions on part of the voters, it is of utmost importance for sufficient information about each of the candidates and their credibility as well as about the overall political structure of the regions or countries to be present with the voters, such that they can tally and compare all the options and take right decisions. Political campaigning plays crucial roles in this aspect in disseminating information about the activities and credibility of different political parties in front of the voters thereby helping in the learning process of the voters (Lilleker and Jackson 2013).
Participation of the voters- The purpose of an election remains unsuccessful if a significant share of the voters does not feel the urge to vote and participate in forming their government. In this aspect the political campaigning methods paly a crucial role, especially in making the voters of a country or a region feel an eminent part of the whole election process and in the process of building up the government (Barton, Castillo and Petrie 2014). The voters, getting information from the campaigning agendas feel empowered and responsible as residents of a place, which in turn leads to increased participation as well as enthusiasm among them thereby increasing the share of voters in election processes.
The Significance of Political Campaigning in Elections
Enlightenment- The campaigning processes, in general, makes the voters of a country, enlightened about their rights and the facilities which they are entitled to as citizens of a country. it also helps them to understand the wrongdoings in a country and the need to rectify the same through the process of building up a sensible and efficient government by exercising their voting rights.
Political Agenda- The process of campaigning helps the political parties to put forward their agenda of activities as well as promises in front of the voting population of a region and also to compare the same with that of the other contenders. This in turn helps the parties and candidates to reframe and update their agendas and promises to stay ahead as well the voting population of the country to know about the promises of the contenders and chose accordingly (Thurber 2018).
However, apart from these and many other positive implications of political campaigning process, there remains several arguments against this process too, the primary one being that of misguiding the voters by making false promises and providing false hopes, which may have very little chance of realization. These are often done by the political parties to gain majority of the voters’ confidence and trust, thereby ensuring victories, post which the parties indulge in own welfare maximizing only (Johnson-Cartee and Copeland 2013). However, in spite of such credible criticisms, political campaigning is still one of the most popular methods taken by the parties in the political framework of the countries and regions across the world, especially in the times of election processes.
Located in South East Asia, Philippines or the official Republic of Philippines is known to be one of the oldest republics in this region with a population of 100 million and with a democratic political framework, with the presidential system along with a bicameral Congress in the country. The Congress, in turn, consists of an Upper House (the Senate) and a Lower House (the House of Representatives) (Querubin 2012).
The National and Regional Election of 14th May, 2007
Elections are held in the concerned country at regular intervals with significant exercise of the voting rights of its residents as Philippines is primarily a democratic country. One such election of considerable importance was the National and Local Election which took place on May 14th, 2007 (Abinales and Amoroso 2017). This election was of huge implications due to its magnitude, the sheer number of seats at stake and also due to the tremendous pre and after maths of the election on the political trends as well as on the overall social stability of the country and especially in the region of Cebu specifically.
Theoretical Assertions about Political Campaigning
In this particular election, nearly half of all the seats of the Senate and all the seats of the House of Representatives, in the Congress, were open for competing candidates along with many other national and regional public official posts. The election in Philippines, apart from its magnitude and significance, was also marked by extreme social instability and violence. The pre and post math of the election took nearly 128 lives along with numerous non-fatal wounded population (The PCIJ Blog 2018).
The result of the 2007 election was also unexpected and interesting with the Administration’s Team Unity getting defeated in broad margins by that of the Genuine Opposition side, which won seven out of ten available seats, which was quite a commendable victory on their part. Antonio Trillanes (IV) came to public office in Senate and the Arroyo coalition got even more empowered in the House of Representatives in the country, with a striking 88% share of victory in the congressional districts of Philippines (Pcij.org 2018). The results were also very prominent in the Cebu region of the country, where the primary winners were Tomas Osmena, the governor of the city and Rema, Garcia and Gregorio Sanchez.
The concerned essay emphasizes on the election patterns of Cebu specifically due to the fact that the election patterns in the concerned region were significantly influenced specifically by the political campaigning methods which were extensively taken in the region, which in turn played a crucial role in influencing the behaviour and voting patterns of the population of the country and is thus one of the primary real life example of the role and significance of political campaigning in the determination of the future success or failure of a political party or candidate and also in the process of building up people’s government in a country (Chanrobles.com 2018).
Role of campaigning in Cebu: May 2007 Election Scenario
As discussed above, the election of 2007 had immense importance in the aspects of structural changes in the national as well as state government framework because many crucial national and local seats were at stake. In Cebu, the local election was conducted for the posts of mayor and vice-mayor of the city. For the post of mayor, the contenders were Tomas Osmena and Mary Ann delos Santos and on the other hand, for the post of vice-mayor the contenders were Raymond Garcia and Michael Rama (Timberman 2016). All the candidates being extremely strong and popular, competition was extremely tough and none of the candidates left any stone unturned to gaining the confidence of the voters.
Analyzing the 2007 National and Local Elections in the Philippines
However, of the different strategies taken by all the candidates, there was one common strategy which was used by all of them, the strategy being that of widespread campaigning with the use of the different media resources. However, the nature of political campaigning, the types of media used, the sentiments and visions targeted and the underlying notions and perceptions behind the same differed for the candidates. These differences and the overall implications of the different campaigning mechanisms taken by the different candidates in the Cebu election are discussed as follows:
Campaigning strategies of Santos and Garcia
Santos resorted to an emotional and sentimental aspect of campaigning, especially with the help excessive reliance on the print media, in terms of newspapers and flyers. The main catch phrase used in the campaigning for this concerned candidate was “We Can Make a Difference” (Tomsa and Ufen 2013). The main intension behind this promotional line for Santos was to attract the residents of the city, especially the middle class and poor unsatisfied ones and to gain the voters confidence banking upon their emotional quotient, by giving them this view that whatever grievances they have on the existing government will be passionately handled by the candidate. The notion behind such a campaign was to emotionally attract the voters.
Campaigning strategies of Osmena
While Santos played on the emotional front, Osmena heavily relied on providing factual points to the voters. In the BO-PK advertisement campaign, the primary aspects which were highlighted were the credibility of each of the candidates and the promises they want to make to the residents for an efficient government. The areas which they promised to explore and the issues they assured to address were put forward clearly along with their credibility under the catch phrase of “Can you get a better deal?”, which in turn made the voters perceive to some extent that they cannot (Tomsa and Ufen 2013).
The campaigning of Osmena, unlike Santos, heavily relied on television and non-print media and also started just a couple of days before election in order to make the voters remember him. While Santos and Garcia heavily relied on newspaper media (with 12 and 22 advertisements respectively, in Sun-Star Newspaper in the span of one month), Osmena (1) and Rema (0), did not do the same (Newsinfo.inquirer.net 2018).
The factual mode of campaigning of Osmena and Rema proved to be more effective than the emotional and warm campaigning of Santos or Garcia as was seen from the victory of Osmena in the local election of Cebu in 2007.
From the above discussion, it is observed that politics play a crucial part in forming the governing structure of a country and in determining the overall performance of the different aspects of the countries in general. In this context, the political campaigning plays crucial roles in influencing the voting decisions of the population thereby having implications on the structure of the government. The implications and importance of political campaigning can be seen from the role played by the same in the regional election of Cebu, Philippines, which was held in May 14th, 2007 and where the difference in the magnitude, technique and forms of political campaigning of the different political contenders were seen to play considerable roles in determining the result of the concerned election.
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