Increasingly Bermuda’s newest political party seems to be quite literally attempting to create what they describe as an “Obama-like movement”. Taking a page from Obama’s election strategy playbook they’re playing heavy on inspirational hype and light on details. Obama’s strategy counted on capturing votes of disillusioned and disenfranchising former republican supporters and it worked. The distinction here though, is that Bermuda is not the United States. Inspirational hype and light on details has been the Progressive Labour Party’s modus operandi for two elections now and many have grown tired of hype over substance.
In the last couple elections we’ve seen the PLP play heavy on hype while the United Bermuda Party played heavy on details. Hype won and details didn’t and yet in the long term, hype didn’t produce the results many were hoping for. The new Bermuda Party may be focusing on hype with their ‘Obama-like movement’ and it may rope in many former UBP supporters who are tired of detail not producing results would it also turn off PLP supporters rather sick of hype? There were elements of it last election when in the final stretch the PLP rolled out a raft of promises for “Free” social services to win over those not buying it. Why would hype still be considered a winning strategy?
Bermuda isn’t the United States. Hype worked for Obama because if he won he’d have the power to instill the ‘change’ he was promising. Obama was racing to head up the opposition leading Democratic Party not the Constitution Party. Hype in this instance can buy you support because you’ll have a chance to prove yourself on election. Hype for the Constitution Party is largely irrelevant because there is less of a case you’d get the chance to back it up with results. The new Bermuda Party is similar to the Constitution Party, they’re still rather irrelevant and unproven.
It is largely telling to watch the progress of the new Bermuda Party’s movement. They have yet to rope in much of any of one of Bermuda’s most vocal political segments, the online blog and forum community. Indeed, if one were to look across the internet following their recent party conference you would note that none of the prominent blogs had written anything of what happened and the only mention they received on the Bermuda is Another World forum site was who won their election and more talk about their lack of substance. Talk and buzz otherwise has been thin and rather non existent.
The largest issue with the new Bermuda Party’s hype strategy is that they’ve still yet to clearly define themselves as much more than the UBP’s sidecar. “Obama-like movement” notwithstanding, hype doesn’t do a whole lot to rope in disillusioned PLP supports and independents quite frankly sick of it. Refashioning a strategy that worked in the US to apply here in Bermuda disregards the fact that we aren’t the US and represents a misunderstanding of who we truly are. Bermuda most needs a Bermuda movement, one focused in inspiration as well as details. One that ventures off the path of petty bickering and truly begins to involve the people as a driving force behind Bermuda politics rather than as just a tick in a box. One that represents a significant divergence from our present political structure. One that fights for the kind of change Bermudians are truly desperate for, the kind of change of substance that will fix our broken system and start truly dealing with our root societal problems. Hype isn’t it.