Successful politicians do not only know how well to articulate their plans to their constituents, but also how best to assassinate the character of their opponents. How do you assassinate someone’s character? You assassinate someone’s character by using their vulnerabilities to convince the electorate to believe that the person is UNFIT for the position. You don’t know about your opponents’ character flaws by looking and smiling at them. You have to dig and unearth the stinky corpses.
Here in the United States, we see nothing but that. Character assassination is the essence of American politics. Do not take my words for it. All you have to do is to take a few minutes of your time to watch a few political ads. A very slim portion of them is dedicated to introducing and positioning the candidates. For the most part, they are attack ads, and their sole purpose is to assassinate the character of the challenger.
In the Haitian political landscape, the politicians do not create or raise controversies, which is probably the reason why I have found it to be overtly boring. I barely see a political advertisement introducing a candidate, let alone an attack one. The ones I have come in contact with only tell the electorate what the candidate’s identification number is and where to make the check mark to vote him/her.
These Haitian politicians do not even talk about themselves in the ads; they worry more about putting the illiterate and hungry masses in the streets playing RARA POLITICS. I have seen a few candidates doing this crap, which I think is embarrassing, disparaging, condescending, demeaning, low and outdated.
Anyhow, let’s go back to the topic. As I was saying, character assassination is the best way to fight political battles. You do not win these kinds of battles simply by presenting and positioning yourself; you do by assassinating the character of your opponents.
Have you ever asked yourself what had stopped Marc Bazin, the leader of the MIDH, from winning the 1990 presidential election in Haiti? That man was unstoppable. He had the persona, the savviness and the money to finance and run a well-structured campaign. But what he failed to realize was that money alone does not win elections. You need to be presenting yourself and your agenda and attacking your opponents. The strategy for his defeat was perfectly crafted that he was politically dead before the news even got to him.
How did his character get assassinated? The Haitian left painted him as an emissary of Washington. That’s exactly what they did, and before you know it, he was powerless with all the money he had.
The framing of the leader of the MIDH as Washington’s emissary worked perfectly because the public sentiment at the time was VERY antagonistic towards Washington. And the left did not spend a dime in presenting their candidate, Jean Bertand Aristide, who had just been relieved of his priesthood duty by Vatican for his revolutionary and leftist ideology of liberation theology. Aristide, as popular and powerful as he was, did not need any introduction to the political scene. With only a few months of campaigning, he could topple Bazin’s chance to win the presidency.
Other politicians got eliminated from the scene simply by being labeled the M word –MAKOUT. Coming from the brutal dictatorship regime of the Duvalier, the people were highly repulsive of anyone having ties or acquaintances with the regime. So if you are a candidate, once you are framed as a TONTON MAKOUT, the ceremony for your political funeral is inevitable.
In conclusion, character assassination is a great strategy of battle which politicians use to annihilate their challenger. It works wonders. Politics is not supposed to be fair. How could you be fair in playing a game which must be won psychologically? Before you win in the polls, you must win in the minds of the people. So politicians should not be spending money in just presenting themselves and their agendas to the electorate; they should also work just as hard to assassinate the character of their opponents. It is despicable to see in this 21st century these Haitian politicians using the same archaic RARA POLITICS as political tool to get the attention of the electorate. Character assassination is not a punishable offense, so use it.