Bahamas 2012 Post Election Observations, Pt 2


Former PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham

The Cut Hip that made C. A. Smith cry for a second time on election night! – WHY DID THE FNM LOST!

May11th, 2012

Dear Bahamas Press,

The 2012 election was there for the PLP’s taking! My only concern was whether or not the PLP would have it’s campaign together as we would recall how unorganized, disjointed and lethargic the 2007 campaign was!

This campaign took the resemblance and feel of the 2002 campaign! Branches were open early, candidates were in the field very early, there was more spirit and vigor this lap than 2007 and the campaign’s message hit the nail on the head! But the biggest difference between 2007 and the campaign of 2012 was the fact that the PLP’s base was engaged and enthusiastic!

I know FNM’s are disappointed, not just with the loss, but how they lost! But truth be told, they must remember that they didn’t win in 2007 by a landslide! On the contrary, the FNM only secured some 3,900 more votes than the PLP! It was that close! This time around, the PLP secured a little over 11,000 more votes than the FNM on May 7th! The FNM’s margin of error heading into May 7th was really, really small but they governed as if they could afford to loose some votes.

This is the first time that I have ever witnessed a PLP campaign that was in attack mode for such a sustained period of time! The attack adds were sharp and poignant! An excellent job was done in portraying the FNM as incompetent, fiscally irresponsible, rife with conflicts of interest, disconnected and lack sympathy and compassion!

All the credit can’t go to the PLP in this effort though! The DNA and Steve McKinney did some serious damage to the FNM on issues of immigration and blatant conflict of interest! Coupled that with the FNM’s nonchalant attitude in responding, the messaging wars was won, hands down, by the opposition parties!

This was the kind of campaign that should have been waged in 2007! I pray to God that the PLP has learned it’s lesson; don’t take anything for granted, as there is one thing you can say about the FNM, they ALWAYS campaign hard!

The total number of seats won, 29, represents the fourth largest in party history! I have said this before, and I will repeat it again, when the PLP party is unified and it’s base is fully engaged, the FNM can not win! A divided party and an apathetic base means defeat at the polls. This lesson the PLP must take to heart!

Credit also goes to the PLP for aggressively responding to FNM attacks like the Bahamas Petroleum issue! The FNM really thought they could tar and feather Perry Christie with this accusation, but in the end, the PLP’s response was quick and convincing!

But I found it very funny how the FNM was so quick to scream conflict of interest all the while ignoring the many conflicts of interest that was revealed to be happening in it’s own house, by several of it’s Cabinet Ministers!

Of particular note, I have to mention that this election win for the PLP was not just good for the country, but in the process, the PLP probably ended the political career of Dion Foulks, who has now lost 3 elections in a row and has severely damaged the political viability of Tommy Turnquest, Carl Bethel, and Shavargo Laing.

The future leader of the FNM was suppose to be one of these four men, but with multiple losses under their belts, I don’t think the FNM establishment would feel comfortable or confident with any of these men at the helm heading into the 2017 elections.

A note of distinction also has to be made in the tone of both party leaders. There were times in this campaign when Mr Ingraham said things that really was unbecoming of a Prime Minister! The attack on Lady Pindling, for instance, was flat out inappropriate and uncalled for! That attack really made him seem small and his overall point was overshadowed by the attack!

One problem with Mr Ingraham’s style is, his dial is always set on attack mode! There is no modulation in him at all! It serves him well in opposition, but as Prime Minister, you need to tune it down, way down and that is something Mr Ingrham has never figured out how to do!
Mr Chirsite’s tone, on the other hand, was much more calming and endearing than Ingraham’s. At times  Chrisite and Brave Davis played good cop, bad cop. At the rally’s Mr Christie took the high road, while Brave Davis verbally threw the elbows and jabs there and in press releases.
This combination was much more effective than the FNM’s “lone ranger” approach. And after a while, it was obvious it was wearing down Mr Ingraham.

What can not be overlooked going forward is the inroads the PLP seems to be making in Grand Bahama,  as this election now makes it 2 out of the last 3 where the PLP has picked up seats, North Eleuthra and North Abaco. It is therefore paramount for the PLP to govern well and  learn from the failures of the FNM as the opportunity to expand their electoral map is there!
The PLP ran a very good campaign! They made their case and the FNM really failed in making theirs. The election is over and now it’s time to govern!