There are lots of insights into National’s election tactics for 2020. There is the focus on how National are denigrating the whole political system as corrupt to be more ‘populist’, their use of social media…
Facebook has not made a new transparency tool for political ads mandatory for New Zealand and none of our parties have signed up to it.
The “Ad Library Report” is mandatory in several countries and allows the public to track every ad a political party or issue group puts out on the platform, and see how much money is being spent and who the ad is targeted at.
…and Simon Bridges own contact with the NZ based Australian right and their ability to pull out a surprise win for Scott Morrison.
No one has yet tied these threads together however to make sense of what is happening, so here is what is happening and here is how National win the 2020 election.
Cambridge Analytica changed the game. Electioneering previous to them amounted to identifying voters from a known voting pool and serving that voting pool up messages that made them vote. This was crude targeting, but if you lived in a wealthy neighbourhood, you would hear messages attuned to you, if you lived in a poorer neighbourhood, you would hear messages tailored for that environment.
Facebook suddenly allowed you to hunt not just for known voters, but that vast swathe of people who also don’t bother voting.
On the Left we have told ourselves that vast swathe of people who don’t vote are poor and brown and disenfranchised, and while that is certainly true, it also includes a large number of angry white men who don’t bother voting because they feel culturally alienated by the current paradigms of micro-aggression policing and Millennial sensibilities in an age of subjective fourth wave feminist rage. This group of males are economically paranoid by their perceived lack of cultural power and whose economic anxiety clashes with being told they are the ones with the privilege.
Rather than engaging, these male white voters simply shield themselves in apathy and cynicism.
Facebook and Cambridge Analytica changed that. Suddenly they had hundreds of data points to know how to precisely push those angry white non voters into rage fuelled voting machines. This manipulation of white male anger become the driving force that saw Trump win, Brexit win and Scott Morrison win.
National will adopt the exact same tactics. Their social media campaign will target white male nonvoters with cleverly coded sexist memes like #PartTimePM and the sense that the last election was stolen somehow.
The problem for the Left is that to gain a similar response from the brown, poor, young and disenfranchised nonvoter they have to actually promise real policy that will make their lived day to day experience better and seeing as beneficiaries are still queuing outside WINZ at 2am in the morning, this Government have dumped the aspirations of the poor as quietly as they dumped affordable housing. Labour fears spooking the middle in a way National never do.
The Right can gain from the white nonvoter in a way the Left are too frightened to promise to the brown nonvoter.
Identity Politics is an important personal journey of how the individual becomes politically conscious, but as a means to win the 51% democratic majority it is terribly flawed. Class focus helps that electoral math, Identity Politics can’t and in a political landscape shaped by Identity Politics the greatest danger is that white men start seeing themselves as an identity that is victimised because once that happens, dark outcomes become the result.
Scream at white men that they are the problem long enough, and they’ll become the problem.
The NZ Left have allowed Identity Politics to become the dominant theory without appreciating the danger that creates. National intend to exploit that danger no matter the consequences.
We need bonded values that go beyond our skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion and creed. Class has the beauty of that wide ranging solidarity, and when it is the 1% and their 9% enablers who are the true demarcation line of power, we as the 90% should be winning all the time.
Unfortunately, the inclusion through exclusion woke mindset currently championed by the deplatforming cancellation culture Left is as alienating as it is exhausting.
The Left are too busy finding traitors while the Right are busy recruiting.
2020 is going to get vicious.