A Lot of Unfair Advantages but not one to deter the real contender.
Image Courtsey: wikipedia.org
Do Incumbent Politicians have an Unfair Advantage ???
Government perquisites, sponsors, media and everything money and office can buy stands for the incumbent candidate making him formidable one for a debutant opponent. In this high profile tussle the opponent who has nothing of the above generally gets pushed to the corner. His statements go un-noticed while those of the incumbent candidate fill the channels night and day!
The incumbent candidate with active support of his personal staff – who are paid from the Govt kitty- unleash vicious campaigns through visual medias maligning the opponent’s image; who finds it hard to counter as he has less access with powers that be. Lack of resources and media coverage makes him low-profile from the very beginning. Even his voters get a feeling that their candidate is destined to fail, and do not take pains to work for him not even cast a vote for him. Even his party-men may vote for the incumbent candidate to make their vote bear fruit!
Ninety percent of the incumbent candidates are getting re-elected and these statistics tempt the political parties to opt for the incumbent as their nominee. There seems to be no level playing field in this no holds barred warfare or whole process of electioneering, one has everything while the other has nothing, this is not fair and something should be done to make the fight a balanced one. Is election a fight between two, in which one wields a loaded gun and other is bare-handed?
But everything is not lost as the incumbent candidate has the “incumbency factor” his Achilles heel which if properly used can neutralize all his advantages, the ghosts of the “misdeeds” he as well his party-men have committed while in chair is there to make him a villain before the voters. The debutant has to do a lot of home-work to retrieve the numerous omissions lying long forgotten by the public and project the breach of trust involved. If not the opponent who else is there to project the flaws of a person who had been in the helm for the whole period and forgot to keep his word?
A debutant candidate has his own plus points; he offers a change in the whole boring landscape of electoral politics, he rekindles hope and new aspirations in the minds of people who wish to see some pleasant change –however small it is- in the process of democracy which has been here for quite a lot of time. Whether the debutant will fulfill the aspirations is another matter, but can offer some hope for the voters even for the sake of just hope, it would be far better than living without hope!