This election will be dominated by personality more than ever before.
We should know by today, or perhaps it will be days (please not weeks!), who the next President will be. The campaign has been fuelled by a kind of acrimony that I, personally, have not seen before, in any country. For a nation that prides itself as leaders of the ‘west’ ’they’re setting a new precedent in the year of the unprecedented. A precedent for bitter accusations of tax evasion, corruption and incompetence. Amongst the chaos, it’s hard to make out what the parties stand for, what they might do and what their policies might be. And there’s a reason for that it seems: there aren’t any. This is an election that is not about policy, it’s about personality and Joe Biden has chosen, not even, to make it about two candidates, but a referendum on one candidate… his opponent.
Much has been written about the Donald Trump style of leadership and it doesn’t need my addition. But it’s worth noting that, like any good brand, there is a tonality in his preferred Twitter medium that talks powerfully to his followers, who feel that he understands them.
The rush to the lowest common denominator does a great disservice to many sincere, well- educated voters, who are served a diet of sound bites, lazy assertions and half- truths, or more accurately whole lies. It’s like watching two punch-drunk, has-been, heavy weights in the final throws of a championship fight, when only a knockout can end it. The level of political debate is gutter-huggingly low.
It has been the case for some time that voters tend not to read policy documents. Perhaps because, as it’s been demonstrated by this year’s events, more than ever before, that governments tend to change their minds. It has never been truer than today, that macro circumstance dominate what politicians have the influence to change. Despite Boris Johnson’s landslide majority, the last year has been entirely dominated by COVID.
I doubt if he had electioneered on a platform of struggling to save ‘our’ NHS from collapse, the biggest government cash handout of all time and locking the population in their own homes at risk of breaking the law, he would have won many votes.
There’s no doubt that Trump knows how to motivate his base, he is a personality supernova, whilst his opponent, to extend the celestial metaphor, more of a black hole.
So, if personality trumps policy (sorry, I couldn’t resist), will it trump Biden?