Bum’s blitzkrieg


In the homestretch as we approach election day, desperately hoping for a miracle of biblical proportions and praying that Sen. Francis Pangilinan’s rather sophomoric and simplistic arithmetic is correct, the opposition candidates under his tutelage, by turning mostly to social media, they’ve resorted to a lightning campaign or a blitzkrieg to seek votes for its eight candidates.

“Other than the cost advantage, the reach of social media can be phenomenal and exponentially extend to the multiples of thousands when it employs multiple social media platforms.

In some ways social media campaigning has its upsides.

Incremental campaign financing for anyone in the outliers is critical as benefactors invest on winners and not losers. The situation turns dire where teammates can’t even attract support from one of their own.

The not-too-surprising betrayal by Manuel Roxas has far reaching consequences as it signals to prospective benefactors that even the most financially capable seems to have decided his team is not worth investing in.

Fortunately, the remaining seven now appear more heroic.

The upside is really just a consuelo de bobo (consolation for an idiot). Since the remaining seven have been virtually screwed from behind, dumped and left for dead by their so-called frontrunner, by campaigning through social media the abandoned seven do not need their frontrunner’s mommy’s millions.

To gather a crowd of a thousand or address college students from a small college in the sticks entails per capita costs that may run over a hundred pesos. Compare that with a thousand hits and likes in a social media site achieved within minutes.

Other than the cost advantage, the reach of social media can be phenomenal and exponentially extend to the multiples of thousands when it employs multiple social media platforms. Never mind that these run the risk of circuitous rerouting as there is the very real possibility of a boomerang effect where individuals belong to similar indigenous communities in cyberspace and their intercourse simply routes back and forth.

A third advantage is the ease of passing on messages through social media where a flick of a finger or a mere tap is all it takes. Social media is the perfect vehicle for the lazy campaigner. Or the inarticulate. And since laziness or the signature “noynoying” had attained presidential proportions during the incumbency of Benigno Aquino III then there is a certain familiar affiliation between the ease of campaigning through social media and being a bum.

Let’s now analyze the downsides of the opposition slate’s social media campaign.

This has specific reference to the Internet videos and cellphone messages that request that the pre-formatted and pre-written briefs are passed on to at least five people within the recipient’s immediate circle.

To analyze, allow us to dissect their substance. The content of at least four we’ve received are similar in various ways.

They are all in English. Messaging is simplified. They all focus on morality and the President’s behavior and language. They criticize the President’s attitude towards the Catholic Church. All blame the extra-judicial killings on the President. And all decry Chinese territorial encroachment.

And finally, they each allude to the elections only through the President’s endorsement of unspecified candidates from the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP).

That it is in English is a weakness as it imbues the messaging with a heavy dose of elitism.

That it merely alludes to unnamed candidates dismisses those among the HnP with specific merits unrelated to the President like Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Bong Revilla who have a following founded on non-Duterte factors.

Lastly, the issues specifically addressed are not issues specific to individual HnP candidates and their individual platforms but are Duterte’s and seem meant to poison his endorsing power more than the HnP candidate’s specific merits. Since the electorate, when voting intelligently, does not block-vote, then this social media strategy is clearly meant to influence only those who are easily swayed by generalities, innuendo and imagery.

To their misfortune, no one wins by assuming the electorate is stupid and insults him openly.