To win the UWP must employ a bottom-up strategy
How does the UWP win the next elections? Does the party have adequate resources, good candidates and a short campaign message that can resonate with the masses? Is there a simple, comprehensive and practical plan to jump-start a collapse economy and provide sustainable jobs and opportunities? With the big money that the Labour Party appears to have and its super generous Santa Claus style of gift giving and the surging of the UWP due to its brilliant and tactical campaign strategy, the elections should be very close. Therefore, one should hang on a bit longer before betting the mortgage and the farm that Labour will loose and UWP will win or vice versa.
But in order for the UWP to prevail it will have to run a disciplined, mistake free, grassroots, laser focused, a 'boots on the ground', door-to-door organized campaign, all hands on deck with a few short and emotional messages. But will all that be enough to reverse the political fortunes of the current PM with his over-priced foreign media consultants and political advisors? However, difficult the task the UWP is thus far making the calculated and concerted efforts at home and abroad to prevail in the next elections.
The greatest fears of a growing percentage of Dominicans at home and abroad are that if the Labour wins again our polarized island home might find itself in the throes of disorder to the level never seen before. During the last election, the current PM employed a top-down fashion 'scotch earth' political campaign. Big money was the order of the day and it was all about him. The PM portrayed himself as the Most Magnificent and Most High.
If the UWP runs a similar campaign strategy it will be making a colossal mistake that could cost it the election. The chances of a UWP victory are very good providing that there are no irregularities in the voting and ballot count.
The UWP has dubbed itself as Team Dominica with the mantra 'Change is a Must'. It has positioned itself very well with new and strong candidates led by a strong and dynamic new party leader, Mr. Lennox Linton. Others include the Grand Fond man, the debonair and former Washington DC based IMF economist Dr. Thomson Fontaine. The party has a strong and welcoming voice for women and girls in Ms. Monell "For this I rise" Williams. She anchors the west coast from St. Joseph along with Mr. Spaggs John from his post in Bawi (Salisbury). They hope that their momentum will help Superintendent George to close the gap in Colihaut. The veteran, Senator Ron Green who was declared the loser by two votes in 2009 is running strong in the southeast. Other candidates are making inroads in the countryside including in Castle Bruce and Kalinago Territory.
Attorney and family values man 'and a breath of fresh air', Mr. Joshua Francis is contesting the most challenging and socio-economically diverse constituency with 19 polling stations- Roseau South. The three other Roseau seats are just as interesting. In 2009 the vote splits were: Roseau North- DLP- 1655, UWP- 1530, DFP- 95; Roseau Central- DLP- 836, DFP 109, UWP- 839; Roseau Valley- DLP 930, UWP- 658, DFP 20. In addition, the massive problems with the geothermal project in the Valley make that constituency much more competitive.
The UWP has already borrowed a page from President Obama's first presidential campaign with grass roots donations and support that was empowered by technology's fundraising prowess. This will ensure the ability of thousands of Dominicans at home and abroad to organize, fund, and carry out political communication on their own.
Many view Labour party's campaign as a one-way high profile communication strategy that is not adequately addressing the core of the island's problems and challenges. They contend that it is not much more than an exercise in diverting attention from important issues and topics.
Furthermore, the incessant lionization of the current PM by his supporters and their repeated proclamations of his greatness is a process that has led to a manipulative political leadership. It has not helped in healing the wounds of a deeply fractured small society. Would a change of leadership reverse this ugly and unfortunate situation? The election is not constitutionally due until 2015, but there is growing suspense that early elections may be announced.
But despite and amongst those dynamics and variables, we all can agree that the UWP is conducting a much stronger, spirited, up-tempo and organized campaign than it did during the last election. Regardless of the final elections results and where you find yourself on the political divide, that is very good news for democracy on our island home. And this is something all rational thinking and non-politically intoxicated Dominicans at home and abroad should, and can, embrace.