Politicians who ignore specific sections of the population to focus on channelling public resources to a select group are usually in for a rude awakening.
Politics and economics are joined at the hip. Both are about human behaviour. And both are at the mercy of public confidence. When public confidence is high in the management of an economy, the economy thrives. The preceding is the same with politics. When the public has confidence in government, then governance becomes a piece of cake. Lose that confidence, and life becomes a roller coaster for Julius Caesar.
Politics is about power. However, politics is also about equity and justice. And when the public perceives injustice, there is always negative fallout.
The greatest asset the politician possesses is public support. And when that support diminishes owing to any unpopular action, the politician’s days are usually numbered.
The effective politician is adept at maintaining public support. He or she does that by ensuring that the perception of Jack and Jill Public is favourable. That perception is the key component in maintaining the goodwill of the public. When that perception goes south, then the politician better watch it.
In the VI
Anyone looking back over Virgin Islands politics over the past 20 years can clearly perceive a narrative. Political parties usually lose elections after one or two terms. Indeed, a “one-term government” is likely if the public perceives gross injustice in governance.
The VI voter may have clear loyalties and preferences over the decades. However, Jack and Jill Public never hesitate to throw out a government at election time when the level of public angst rises.
This public angst is a good measure of public support: When that angst moves upwards against a government, then the wise politician best watch his back.
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