Maybe it is because the system in this country totally sucks, but I have never bothered with trying to understand political parties until now.
The biggest thing I don’t understand about a political party is the value it has to regular folk like me. In this country where nobody knows what they stand for, such an organization seems to be valuable only to politicians because it allows them to pool their resources so they run a campaign and get election returns as they launch themselves into power.
In the Philippines, political parties have no stand, no morals, and no principles but they always seem to have a lot of money. I’m guessing that’s the primary reason why they attract so many ambitious politicos who, if they are practical people, wouldn’t be gambling away their own hard-earned cash on something that is not guaranteed.
I don’t know where political party funds come from but I’m guessing it’s from big businessmen placing bets or making investments that they hope to recoup once party is in power. The spoils of corruption can probably be found there too as wouldn’t election campaigns would be the most logical place to reinvest stolen public funds? So the “public servants” can get back into the saddle of power and do it again?
Anyway, it is clear that for most citizens, there is no reason to join or support any political party in this country.
What has gotten me thinking about political parties in the past few days is thinking of the viability of crowdsourcing an election campaign for candidates that we would like to put in power but have neither the funds nor the machinery to pull it off.
I’m sure we have the tools and technology to crowdsource an election campaign for someone we really wanted to support. Think reverse vote buying: instead of the politician buying our vote, it is about time we thought about investing in preferred leaders so they have a better shot at winning the ballot.
The problem I see with crowdsourcing a campaign is that if you come to think of it, any donation made to a politician in this country essentially becomes a contribution to their political party that could be totally owned and managed by a totally different set of interests and powers.
And since political parties don’t work for most of us anyway, shouldn’t it be time to find or set up a new system to replace that concept? If Uber, Grab, Airbnb and other app-based solutions were able to take over and transform entire industries within a couple of years, why can’t a tech-based solution replace the political party?
The funding part is easy. Many people have been considering setting up a GoFundMe for the candidates they are willing to invest in. This is an easy way of circumventing the political party but when funds can run to millions, if not billions for national positions, there needs to be a better way to raise and spend donated funds.
The more complex part with coming up with a new model for political parties is making sure that it stands for something. It’s ok if people are rallying behind a certain personality but if the system is going to be upgraded, whatever is built needs to transcend personality politics. This means having principles, values and standards and figuring out how to make those more important than personalities. An AI-powered way of evaluating a party-member or candidate’s heart, mind and soul might work, where competency, psychological and morality tests are required from party members that put themselves forward or are being chosen as potential candidates. Members can leave or stay, depending on their whims, but those who want to represent the party have to be vetted properly, which is something current political parties do not do.
We currently have bigger problems to face with so dealing with the broken, outdated and heavily exploited political party system can come only if we can extricate ourselves from this hole we have dug ourselves in. But if we are somehow successful and get rid of the trapos, an overhaul of the political party system should be on top of the to-do list if genuine and sustainable change is going to be part of our future.
One thing at a time. Let’s focus on getting the right leader in place first.*