Political Setbacks

Politics is a business like no other. The highs are higher and the lows lower than almost any other pursuit. I imagine it is a similar experience to that of actors and singers whose careers soar and plunge according to their latest hit.

Perhaps that is why Jay Leno, the American comedian, rather cruelly described politics as “show business for ugly people”.
Interestingly, there are a number of similarities between the two careers.

Clearly, both performers’ and politicians’ success is dependent on the support of the public. Generally speaking, they love being on television or in the newspaper. The flip side is that any mistakes or failures are very public spectacles that often test even the most stoic of constitutions.

It is the third of these that I would like to briefly comment on today.

In politics, one has to accept that setbacks are part of the process. These can be hurtful, humiliating and humbling but any public figure has to be prepared to deal with them or they are in the wrong business.

However, there are means to minimise the pain and principal among them is to actually be yourself.

Quite often the best communicators are those who are at ease with who they are and what they believe. Whether people agree with them on a particular issue or not, their earnestness shines through as they advocate their position.

It marks them as different in the public eye than many in the political sphere. In many cases this difference translates into public support.

I believe that politics is actually becoming less tribal in Australia. With ‘rusted on’ support for the two major parties in a slow decline, a growing number of voters are focusing on specific issues in determining how to cast their vote.

Sometimes these issues are at ‘Party’ level, but often it revolves around the local candidate and their personal beliefs. I have a sense that many people are disillusioned with the ‘men in grey suits’ politicians and are seeking to know more about the values, motivations and personality of their elected representatives.

Whilst this approach can be difficult to manage for the major parties, the public gain a better insight into their candidates and politicians can feel slightly more comfortable knowing that any setback is not a result of compromising their core beliefs.

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