The campaign of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has gained significant momentum over the last two weeks. On the other hand, the ruling New National Party’s campaign has flat-lined and mared in political gaffe as the aging leader incessantly importune the electorate in a condescending manner to vote for him.
The opposition NDC should continue to press on and not take any comfort in the situation of the aging leader for a day in politics is a very long time. Politics is a numbers game and in order for the NDC to win the election it must secure a majority of votes in at least eight constituencies.
Based on how things are being played out on the ground this seems achievable for the NDC. However, the party must get canvassing right if it is to achieve victory at the polls on June 23.
As was said in previous articles, the NDC canvassing has not been accurate in the last three election cycles. This time the party must get the numbers right. The ruling NNP canvassing is supported by the database of beneficiaries of the system of political patronage and as such the numbers are likely to be more accurate.
However, reports are coming out that the NNP canvassing is in shambles except for a few constituencies like Emmalin Pierre, Peter David, Clarice Modeste-Curwen and the Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The NNP did not factor in the influence that the new NDC leader, Dickon Mitchell would bring to the campaign and with his team of young and energetic foot soldiers have now forced Dr. Mitchell and his team to be on the run.
The NNP also made a fatal error by thinking that with two 15-0 victories at the polls in 2013 and 2018, the ruling party and its operatives believed that they win already and are now lagging far behind in political work in a majority of the constituencies.
It appears that even Gregory Bowen is in deep trouble in St George South-east and with pressure being applied by NDC’s Phillip Telesford, the NNP can lose the seat.
Armed with this kind of information, the NDC should keep the pressure on so as people say, enough of that being applied “the pipe will burst”.
The NDC has to double down on canvassing particularly in the unknown category. By now all the constituencies should have completed their desk and initial round of canvassing. At this stage the list of NDC and NNP voters in each constituency should be identified and the focus ought to now be on the unidentified and undecided columns.
Canvassers in the field should focus their energy to locate and find these persons with the intention of getting them to vote for the NDC.
There is a sense on the ground that two candidates in St. Andrew, Lenox Andrews and Gloria Thomas are within striking distance of snatching victory from the incumbents. However in order to achieve this success both candidates and their campaign teams have to intensify canvassing to identify and locate the undecided on the final list of registered voters.
By now party supporters as well as that of the ruling party in each polling division should have been identified. As such, both candidates should have a clear sense of how many votes are needed to overcome whatever deficits that may exist as a result of the canvassing.
The large number of undecided voters and those who have not participated in previous elections are a source of votes to overcome the deficits.
Having said that, at this stage of the campaign focus ought to be on getting as much as the undecided as possible into the confirm voters category. In the remaining time available before the election, NDC candidates must come up with a strategy to attract undecided voters into its camp and expand its support base.
For the two St. Andrew candidates mentioned earlier their campaign teams have to step up on canvassing of undecided voters. In the case of Tessa St. Cyr and David Andrews, both candidates, in addition to canvassing the undecided, have to increase engagements with groups of persons in the community in a more relaxed and intimate setting to connect with people.
In the case of Kyrene James in St. John she needs to focus on the southern part of the constituency, Grand Roy, Concord and other surrounding areas. There is still a considerable amount of work to be done in that part of the constituency.
Joseph Andall seemed better positioned to win his seat, however he and his team have to double down on canvassing of the undecided as well as make a final push in the weaker polling divisions.
On the other hand Denis Cornwall needs a lot of help to finalise his desk and initial field canvassing to determine the amount of votes needed to overcome the deficit.
The party should immediately send in a team of experienced canvassers to help Cornwall and his team step up the work to determine the numbers. After which they will have to undertake a massive drive for the undecided in the closing stages of the campaign to gain pole position going into Election Day.
In St. George’s both Ron Redhead in the North east and Andy Williams in the South are in good stead to win their contests. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done particularly in canvassing the undecided.
Ron needs to extract as many votes in the big polling divisions by making a final push in those areas while his team of canvassers must identify and locate the undecided to commence work on getting them to come over to the NDC.
Andy must not take comfort in the response he is getting from constituents for he has a huge deficit to overcome and that is made more difficult by the structural advantage the NNP has in sizeable expatriate communities – Indians, Chinese and Citizenship by Investment (CBI) persons who are now resident in that constituency.
If Andy has to beat Cox the focus should now be on canvassing the undecided as the election draws closer.
The political leader and his team appear to be doing a very good job of canvassing the constituency, however because of the size and nature of St. David he must keep his feet on the gas and continue to maintain consistency in canvassing in particular the undecided and unknown on the voters list.
Dickon can’t take anything for granted and must continue to double down on the work required to see him cross the line first in the race with Oliver Joseph.
The remaining candidates have an uphill battle to overcome the huge deficits from last election. However for Phillip Telesford the task may not be as insurmountable if there is a massive swing of undecided voters towards the NDC.
One of the key takeaways from Nomination Day is the heavy reliance on beneficiaries of the SEED and other social programs for support by the NNP. It was amazing to see how many beneficiaries and their supervisors of these programs were in the mini motorcades across the country.
The mantra, “keep them poor they will love you more”, appears to be working very well for the NNP.
It might be difficult for NDC to peel off support from this hardcore base of NNPites, however there are soft supporters who voted for NNP in the last two elections that can be swayed with the right messaging.
In order to overcome the NNP’s firewall ,NDC has to attract massive support from the undecided and those on the fence who have not voted in previous election cycles.
This is why it is important for NDC to continue to up the ante and raise the tone and tempo of its campaign to a crescendo and create a surge effect that will cause a massive swing of voters to the party in the last days of the campaign.
This will compensate for the purported plane load of Grenadians from the diaspora allegedly coming down to vote and alleged instances of voter padding that are likely to occur.
This is why going forward NDC campaign teams, across all constituencies must leave no stone unturned to identify, locate and influence the undecided to vote for the party.
To do so there must be a step-up in canvassing of undecided voters on the final list which should be synchronised with a barrage of emotional messaging aimed at stirring up many emotions to get a majority of this group of electorate to vote for the NDC.
In addition, the young brilliant political leader must continue to show fight by responding to and countering the utterances and propaganda of the aging incumbent leader. An example of this is the propaganda that NDC was unable to pay salaries, however Lenox Andrews in the St. Andrew Town Hall on Wednesday night correctly pointed out the failure was as a result of sabotage.
Nazim Burke who was Minister of Finance at the time must tell the nation who was the top Ministry of Finance official that was given instructions to do certain things, while he attended a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago that would have prevented the delay in payment from happening.
Was this an instance of sabotage by this top finance official as alluded to by Lenox Andrews? It is high time for NDC to respond and expose the instance of sabotage that is now being touted around by NNP in much the same way the young leader ought to focus on agriculture, youth development, health and education going forward.
It is the undecided voter who will decide the faith of the election.
For it is the undecided who will decide the election. As such, effective canvassing of the undecided is critical in this closing stage of the campaign.