In the height of the campaigning for the 12th General Election, opposition politicians are trying desperately to win votes by speaking at 3 or 4 ceramahs in a day, traveling hundreds of kilometers, shaking thousands of hands and driving themselves to the ground in the process. But in reality, how many voters can they reach out in an average of 3 ceramahs a day given the limited period of campaigning? Reaching out to the voters is one thing but to convert a voter is another thing.
By scrutinising the Hillary Clinton versus Barak Obama campaign, why did Barak Obama gained so much momentum the past two months. The Oprah Winfrey endorsement of Obama in May 2007 catapulted him as a frontrunner for the Presidential candidate. But it was his ability to raise more campaign funds than Clinton that ultimately helped him to win the votes. Obama raised US$ 32 million in January 2008 versus Clinton’s US$ 13.5 million. With the superior resources of more than double the amount of campaign funds, Obama was able to reach out to the voters more effectively. It was reported that Obama had 80% more ads in the state of Ohio and 50% more ads in the state of Texas. The increased popularity of Obama in recent weeks was a clear indication that who ever has more media coverage, will have the upper hand.
Coming back to Malaysia, the Barisan Nasional can nominate anyone they want, regardless whether the candidates have the calibre or not. With the total control which they have over the local media and the amount of advertisements they have put in, the 2/3 victory for the government is a signed deal.
It is a sad but when money politics prevail, real democracy dies.