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How to Win in 2014 - Part I

How to win?Victory has many legs, but one face. Political campaign strategy constitutes a map of how to defeat your opponent. To get the best results, it involves the ability to manage interactions of internal forces and external trends.

A winning strategy is executed in an environment that is dynamic, acutely uncertain, and potentially explosive. The very nature of political strategy is that it changes all the time. An effective strategy is a fine-tuning dance with many variables within a constantly shifting landscape. If applied as a static formula or in a linear manner, it will fail.

Between now and 2014,  a sea change could occur as the United Progressive Party  (UPP) government and the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) competes for the hearts and minds of voters in Antigua and Barbuda.

Third parties are not yet organised to influence a major shift in political outcomes. If new thinking and behaviour aren’t injected into the present political system, chances for real social and economic advancement will be slim. Part I outlines the road to victory for the UPP. Part II will sketch the same for the ALP.


UPP Pathway

The decisive issue for the UPP is whether bread and butter survival will trump fear of the “Return to Lester Bird" mantra. The only way for PM Baldwin Spencer to defeat Opposition Leader Bird is to run on a platform of retiring after two years into a third term. But Spencer will have to concentrate on perceived electability. He will have to avoid specific issues.


Although the PM’s performance has collapsed, he can paint Bird as dated and ineffective. The prospect of an undefeated third term is enticing, and Spencer’s cohort of support is likely to encourage him to stay.

Since the PM’s greatest contribution to nation-building has lost it luster, a timely retirement could consolidate the UPP chances of keeping the government. With Spencer off the ticket, Finance Minister Harold Lovell is likely to hold his seat, depending on who turns out to be his opponent.  The PM's top advisors may choose to go. This important exodus will pave the way for the UPP to instantly attract new candidates. It could also result in new action plans that could keep the ALP at bay.

If this U-turn plays out, several powerful financiers may be enticed to support the UPP again. One spinoff of added resources could benefit Senator Joanne Massiah. With intense party backing and lots of capital, she is likely to move MP Asot Michael’s status from “sure victory” to “too close to call".

Ultimately, Spencer’s departure would have to be strategic for the new leader (assuming it is Harold Lovell) to rebrand himself and the party. The new leader would need more than a year to establish a new vision with fresh ideas that rally domestic support and backing from the Diasporas.

Should Spencer decide to stay, he is likely to give the UPP a 51 percent victory, with Bird at the helm of the ALP. Spencer could do this by tapping into the national anti-Bird/pro-ALP feelings buried deep within a huge sector of the population. The hard facts on performance alone will not help the PM’s re-election campaign.

Spencer will have to draw on the commonsense social frames and subjective emotional structures through which people interpret political facts.  These include: personal identification, sense of authenticity, similar values and the "trust" factor. Rather than campaign on what he delivered, Spencer will have to run against Bird as the alternative. Style is his biggest strength.

The UPP could exploit the "trust" frame that Spencer’s vices are much better than Bird’s virtues.

With this frame, people will ignore the performance facts or simply explain them away. The results could gain fewer votes for the UPP, but win it more seats to stay in government. However, this scenario may be too risky, particularly if the economy remains caught in a hellish inferno. To gain shockwave impact, Spencer’s departure is probably the best bet.

If the PM wishes to retire undefeated, he needs to call a meeting of key party movers and actively recruit their support for the chosen leader. Public confession, not private promise—is essential to give the new leader undivided loyalty. While in government, the UPP must be seen to manage a leadership transition process with mature delicacy and seamless finesse. Otherwise, a bloodbath will seal the UPP’s fate.


To rally the party behind him, the new leader will have to find out the power needs of each minister and potential candidate, and integrate those needs in a new administration model. If the new leader is not capable of unifying the party, and Spencer is seen as the sole unifier, this will narrow that leader’s chances of becoming the next prime minister.

For the UPP to win, it will have to make fundamental changes in outlook and outfit.

A clear path to development is needed. It must be grounded in solid ideas and turnaround programmes. An appeal to good governance and transparency in public office requires visible application. Carnival campaigning that focussed solely on catchy sloganeering is outdated. Only superior results will resonate.

Caution! The notion of locking up members of the ALP has been prolonged beyond its usefulness. With so many unresolved allegations of corruption against the UPP, there are strong reasons for believing that this strategy will invite social consequences far too costly for the UPP to enjoy.

Winning 2014 involves wooing back key supporters who are disillusioned by recurring leadership failures. The most important priority is to begin a sustainable job creation initiative. Without a comprehensive communication machinery to effectively change the UPP’s political misfortunes, multiplied scandals will paralyze the government. But it will take an immediate injection of healthy strategic decisions, with local results and international value, to pull the UPP back from sure defeat.

While the most recent radical electoral amendments favours the government, if not managed carefully, this could backfire. These changes are likely to create democratic hiccups in the long-run and political drama in the short-run. The UPP needs honest advisory, with the highest level of operational intelligence.

Ultimately, local solutions that decrease dire bread and butter pain can’t be ignored. If this strategy of restoration unfolds, the UPP may avoid regional trends of voters punishing sitting governments. It could shock the nation with a narrow victory.

Dr Isaac Newton is an International Leadership and Change Management Consultant and Political Adviser. He specializes in Government and Business Relations, and Sustainable Development Projects. Dr Newton works extensively, in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, education, leadership, political, social, and faith based issues.

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26 Comments In This Article   

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@plm...

#26 Batman » 2012-01-15 00:02

I pity you...if you are smart you will get off the sinking ship...at least I had enough brains to so do, but then, maybe you're the captain, therefore you are willing to sink with the ship.....lol

:-x
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Batman

These guys are hilarious

#25 Socrates » 2012-01-14 11:13

Dr. Newton and John French should get together over drinks and talk (or write). Someone should then tape the meeting and post it on YouTube.
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Socrates

Sobering Reflection doc

#24 Pat White » 2012-01-12 17:15

Until we the people change for the better, we will continue to have mediocre leaders like ourselves!
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Pat White

Doo Doo Bird

#23 PLM » 2012-01-12 08:25

Batman,
When you develop half a brain and acquire an education to go with it, feel free to get back to me.
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PLM

@ Dr. Isaac Newton - Towards the Antiguan & Barbudan Renaissance

#22 John French II » 2012-01-12 00:38

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. Dr. Isaac Newton, Thanks. As always, Aspirational. Very Much Appreciated. Heaven Help You and The Nation Of Antigua & Barbuda. Go Well! Much Respect.
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John French II

@plm...

#21 Batman » 2012-01-11 14:14

Clearvue's personell are out searching for you...they claim you escaped through the main sewage line....
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Batman

@ John Frech II

#20 Dr. Isaac Newton » 2012-01-11 11:49

Part II
Since the politics of winning elections are usually separated from the practice of good governance, and since maintaining power contains an insidious schizophrenia that replace sustainable development with self-advancement, pushing for social justice through the lens of campaign strategy was aimed at profound change management initiatives. If this effort turned out to be a terrible merger of self-serving authority couched in parochial politics, you have so ably intertwined our democratic sensibilities with ethical alertness in this call for clarity. Thanks my friend!
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Dr. Isaac Newton

@ John Frech II

#19 Dr. Isaac Newton » 2012-01-11 11:47

Part I
Thanks for a sobering challenge packaged in your constructive call for clarity/accountabili ty. Although I despair about the state of our local political realities, I am not prepared to give up on our people. Overtime and pointed in the right direction, greatness awaits! I wanted however to possible change management handles and transformational tools to counter the prevalence of “ethical bad-mindedness” and “transactional tactics” that define governance in Antigua and Barbuda. Rather than co-opt our leadership dysfunctions, I wanted to re-direct it through a process of reconciliation and radical reform.
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Dr. Isaac Newton

Waiting To Exhale...

#18 Whitney Houston » 2012-01-11 10:05

Antigua needs to exhale ... we need to get rid of Baldwin Spencer and Lester Bird. These fellows believe that Wadadli belongs to them and they can do as they like once they have "power". It's time both of them ride off into the sunset and let the people of Antigua & Barbuda exhale. They both created a bad picture for our country on the international scene. Both are fighting allegations of corruption against them. Neither is gonna be able to command respect from or get unity between opposition supporters. All they created was hate instead of love, division instead of unity and alleged corruption instead of good governence. Then they xxxxxed their close friends and henchmen while the m** got poorer. It's time for both of them to GET LOST!!! They are both proven liars. I don't know how people follow 2 fools like that who don't have no love for the future of their own country. Only for themselves.
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Whitney Houston

Jacqui & Gail to the rescue

#17 Mr Wadadli » 2012-01-11 00:27

The only way UPP can win the next election is to get rid of Baldwin Spencer. He is not a good leader or problem solver. He did not perform well enough to warrant a third term in office. Unfortunately the next two in line (Cort & Lovell) has been severly tainted by trying to run the ministry of finance and will go down as un-caring "tax" men and will be in a fight for their life just to win their seats. So that leaves Jacqui. She would bring in allot of the much needed renewed energy and excitement among the party supporters. But they will still have to replace the ones who lost and the ones who are sure to loose.

It's clearly the ALP's election to loose and if Lester Bird would step down their chances would increase tremendously. Not because he is not a good leader but because he has too much haters. The same can be said about Gaston & Molwyn. The ALP can use Gail. What a race that would be. Jacqui & Gail might be the only choices that both sides supporters can live with as leader. And they will still have the "elder gentlemen" around for advisors. The country needs a PM that we can all rally around. A leader with no corruption scandals hanging over their head.
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Mr Wadadli

Marketing Derives From A Product.

#16 John French II » 2012-01-11 00:24

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. Doc as an admirer and disciple of your writings, I must admit confusion. Are you now writing as a Political Election Strategist and not as a Strategic Change Management Consultant, Educator specializing in Government and Business Relations, and Sustainable Development Projects?
If the former is the case, I yield. If the latter, please disabuse me of this nagging thought that Marketing - Relationship Building - derives from a Quality Product.
That the the UPP has at most three years to improve its product - the Governance of A&B - is a dilemma. You have suggested reconciliation. I applaud. Have I missed the two or three year fiscal plan of Sustainable Developments complete with Change Management Initiatives? Maintenance? Given the paucity of talent & competencies on the Government Benches and the high level of "Ethical Badmindedness" exemplified in every endeavour for fiscal 2012, help me to understand why you have focused on these Blue Personnel. Retirement? Powerful Financiers (C'mon Doc)? Finance (SAM's Sleeper)? The Senator(Ehical Badmindedness Personified)? "Have Mercy Pon Us." Educate me. Much Respect.
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John French II

Wow

#15 The Wadadli Blogger » 2012-01-10 23:45

Wow ... I know he must of been cracking up while he was writing this piece on UPP chances. Let me tell you this right now UPP will loose the next elections no matter what. And Harold Lovell will loose his seat as well. I don't know how many of these bloggers actually live in Antigua or if dr Newton has been here recently but listening to them I would say no.

Dr Newton all you had to say in this to the UPP about a possible victory was a six word quote from former USA President Bill Clinton ... "It's all about the economy stupid" ... unfortunately it doesn't look like the UPP gets it and it's members don't have enough connections and know how yet to deal with it from scratch. They clearly were helped in their first term by left over ALP projects and can't find one investor on their own (even Butch Stewart and the new Beaches project is an old ALP investor). Now after the way they grabbed up Stanfords assets , can't pay the Half Moon Bay people their money for the land and are currently in the middle of failing an IMF program which investor will come here besides a gangster looking to wash money.

ALP 12 seats
UPP 5 seats
ALP finally gets Barbuda
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The Wadadli Blogger

Eric

#14 tenman » 2012-01-10 19:57

Eric the Antigua labor party has no injunctions in the court where IHI is concerned, you need to stop spreading lies. The AG during the Lester Bird defamation case also made it clear that he does not know of any injunctions filed by Lester Bird related to IHI. So you do not have to take my word:
Quote:
The witness (Justin Simon) was asked if he was aware of any convictions against Bird for perverting the course of justice by filing a number of injunctions to prevent persons from getting into his bank account. Simon said he was not aware of any such action. Read more: http://www.Caribarena.com/antigua/news/politics/99172-bird-defamation-suit-wrapping-up.html#ixzz1j6RHXavu
..
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tenman

RE: How to Win in 2014 - Part I

#13 Eric » 2012-01-10 19:25

The Labour party cannot win any election in this country for the next 20 years. They must first remove the injunctions in the courts in the IHI matter or repay the 60 Million Dollars taken from our treasury. How can these people steal our money on one hand and expect us to vote for them on the other hand?
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Eric

Despair or Hope?

#12 Dr. Karen Khan » 2012-01-10 18:52

I donot understand the local politics in Antigua. Yet I sense from this commentary a highly brilliant man giving a rock solid analysis of the people's state of mind. He is saying that if new thinking and practice don't enter the current political system, this country has no better future whether you elect the UPP or ALP come 2014.

I sense how much you despair over your people for accepting low level leadership and poor nation-building results. But I see your provide current political leaders with deed-seated change initiatives should they want to stay in government.
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Dr. Karen Khan

to win.

#11 rupert j » 2012-01-10 17:25

If Antigua/Barbuda truly want to win they have to get rid of all these jokers and that is on both side of the fence.why because they lack vision, they are greedy,they put their needs in front of the people and a lot of their decisions are highly questionable so that is why the country need a clean sweep and retire ALL OF THEM to the rubbish heap.
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rupert j

My Prediction

#10 ALP Supporter » 2012-01-10 13:05

Exactly what happened in Jamaica and St. Lucia will happen again in Antigua and Barbados in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Mark my word!
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ALP Supporter

50 cent option

#9 PLM » 2012-01-10 12:43

2 cent

There are no scandals! PLM people na thief. The economy is recovering, so there’s no need to panic. The UPP will run on their record and the absence of any viable alternative. A vote for the ALP is a vote for more illegal alien criminals.
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PLM

@ PLM You killing me with laughter

#8 2 Cent » 2012-01-10 10:47

Seriously? ALP for prosperity but only for goat and donkey... PLM yu not serious man LOL...

Read this article carefully. Newton is readin the tea leaf deeply.

On a serious note, with the economy dying daily, and with so many scandals in high places, and with PM BS's leadership spent, PLM give me another way to victory for the UPP than what the doc outlines here...
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2 Cent

Nuttin tal go so

#7 PLM » 2012-01-10 10:33

PM Spencer is still the undisputed leader of the UPP, and there isn’t one MP who could muster a meaningful challenge to the PM, and more importantly, why would anyone vote for UPP for another 5 year term, if Mr. UPP is only going to serve for 2? The fact remains that there is no alternative to the UPP. Lester “xxxus” Bird and his permanent amnesty party are finished in Antigua. Gaston missed his opportunity to put Lester out to pasture permanently in 2004, so it’s UPP again. Obsti sing de song: “ALP for prosperity, but only for goat and donkey” (and the foreign ones at dat).
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PLM

Well written

#6 Tobi » 2012-01-10 10:29

I totally agree: Baldwin has to retire as a start. Ironically the ALP's strategy is similar: Bird must go.
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Tobi

@ Harold Lovell

#5 Snake Pit » 2012-01-10 10:25

Cooler Ruler and PLM will agree with Newton that the only way to victory is to surrender PM BS's head. I agree fully!

I admire Minister Harold Lovell. He is a far better leader with guts, savvy and operational know how.

Harold Lovell can lead the UPP to victory especially against Lester Bird.
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Snake Pit

@ UPP Caution Noted?

#4 Winston » 2012-01-10 10:21

Dr. Newton the only way the UPP will win is if they practice lock up politics. I see you have warned them:

"Caution! The notion of locking up members of the ALP has been prolonged beyond its usefulness. With so many unresolved allegations of corruption against the UPP, there are strong reasons for believing that this strategy will invite social consequences far too costly for the UPP to enjoy. "

But do you expect Lovell and Baldwin to heed your wisdom? They are so arrogantly insane, that they are going to run over the precipice thinking that they are reaching the summit.
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Winston

incompetent opposition

#3 Simple mind » 2012-01-10 09:59

Doc, unfortunately to Antigua we have an incompetent opposition that hardly quack when something happening, beside chatting on their ZDK they do notin at all.. :-x
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Simple mind

Re: Very interesting Doc

#2 Thinking Big » 2012-01-10 09:41

Not even their T&T Indian strategist RB will rescue these fools from certain defeat. But you gave them a pathway Doc. UPP leaders don't have the intelligence to execute it. Interesting article. Can't wait to hear what the ALP strategy should be...
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Thinking Big

RE: How to Win in 2014 - Part I

#1 Skyewill » 2012-01-10 08:47

1.wooing back key supporters who are disillusioned by recurring leadership failures
They turned their backs on their key supporters not even a simple thank you to those who have helped them
2.Carnival campaigning that focussed solely on catchy sloganeering is outdated
People are on to this and the real intelligent ones are insulted at being assumed idiots
3. local solutions that decrease dire bread and **er pain can’t be ignored
Only Antiguans can solve Antigua’s issues, need the best local talent and If the UPP do not engage bright Antiguans they will be look at as self haters and not caring for the very people they are asking to vote for them. Not in my life time I have seen so many people have so much anger towards any government in Antigua. I close to believing that UPP may not be able to win any elections in the future no matter what they do. What may save them is to reduce taxes, create employment and lower the cost of living, bread and **er issues that s important to people.
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Skyewill

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Dr.Isaac Newton

Dr. newtonDr. Isaac Newton is an International Leadership and Change Management Consultant and Political Adviser. He specializes in Government and Business Relations and Sustainable Development Projects. Dr. Newton works extensively in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, education, leadership, political, social, and faith based issue

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