FOR the past several months we have seen how our politicians, in particular some presidential aspirants, have been doing everything in their power to actively campaign not for the position that they are aspiring for, but in bringing down and destroying another presidential candidate who is the present frontrunner in the polls for the top position in the land.
Of course, this is par for the course in any political campaign, but if anybody has noticed, the negative campaigning or mudslinging as is more popularly known, against the presidential candidate frontrunner has been taken to a whole new level. In fact, what some of his political opponents have done is make sure that every time he does not attend a media forum or interview he is immediately vilified for his absence.
But here is where it gets weird. Despite a ton of negative campaigning (mudslinging) being hurled against this leading presidential candidate, the polls or surveys still say that if the elections were conducted today he would win it hands down. This means either of two things. One, his popularity at this point in time with the voting public is so overwhelming that notwithstanding what his other opponents are saying about his character, behavior, reputation, and status in life, the majority of voters have already made a clear decision to vote for him come election day. In other words, the majority of voters (per surveys) are already convinced this leading presidential candidate has the most to offer and will be a better president than the other presidential candidates. Two, the political strategists of this leading presidential candidate are purposely employing a method of campaigning that intentionally allowed their candidate to remain for the most part reserved and buttoned up and projecting the image of dignified silence.
If we are to expound on this possible type of campaigning apparently being waged by the political strategists of this leading presidential candidate then it can be aptly termed as the underdog strategy where the candidate is made to appear as having no chance of being president of the nation simply because of who he is and what his background allegedly represents, using the negative campaign strategy of his opponents, of course! And in this country where the masses love the underdog, just like another presidential candidate who is a boxing hero, the voters have already seemingly made a choice, based on popularity, as to who their next president will be.
It also goes without saying that the more negative and hateful campaigning being waged by his opponents against this leading presidential candidate, the more his popularity with the masses seems to rise.
Take the case of the media forum and television interview for the presidentiables where this leading presidential candidate was not in attendance. As a consequence of his not being present in those two events, he became the focus of attention for everyone and everybody while the issues discussed in those forums and interviews were seemingly relegated into the background. Ditto with what has happened in the COMELEC and the premature announcements made by a now-retired commissioner. By the actions of that former commissioner, she has indirectly pushed the familiarity meter of the said leading presidential candidate with the public.
Despite all of these apparently negative events impacting the campaign of this presidential candidate, one thing has become clear: he is now the talk of the town, the presidential candidate who is being made more popular by his opponents. One wonders if this is the new brand of manipulative campaigning being employed by the political strategists of this leading presidential candidate where his opponents are actually the ones laying the groundwork for him to be known all over the archipelago. Perhaps everything has already been carefully calculated by his camp and have already taken into consideration all of the consequences that might occur with the kind of negative campaigning being done by his opponents.
It is well to remember that even if it is negative publicity, it is still publicity; and more often than not in the murky world of politics, this can be leveraged into something useful at a later stage of the game.
By the latter part of March or early April of this year, if the popularity of this leading presidential candidate will not wane (based on legitimate polls/surveys) or be overtaken by the popularity of his opponents (again based on legitimate polls/surveys), then we will see a new president from the North, courtesy of the underdog strategy.