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Don’t let the crowd fool you. This is Why



If you set the sail of your political voyage by the winds of a crowd at any given rally, you may reach the wrong destination. That crowd you saw, in many cases, is fickle. They are probably the same people everywhere. I don’t get any thrill again at their size or even their excitement. Experience and observations taught me that the crowd doesn’t always translate into concrete votes neither does it represent the reality. And, beyond the optics, it is doubtful if any real value comes from it. Yes the optical illusion is good for the spin doctors to market it is an indication of popularity. Yet, when deeply analysed, nothing could be further from the truth.

To make matters worse for politicians, the crowd franchise is now a burgeoning business venture. There exist a crowd contractors cartel who know how to fix you up a great gathering at a price. It is brisk business on any given day. And this is the season.

The back story of any crowd you see is always interesting: the negotiations, the budgets and even the rehearsals. Nothing is ever done for free. Members of the crowd have been known to fight openly over agreements that were not kept by their “organisers”! The actors, like paid mourners, know their lines very well and would repeat them expertly. It is difficult to even notice any fakeness – everything is designed to look real. Until perhaps when something goes wrong. Like the case of the rented “Bishops” recently! Suddenly, the cover is blown open, the masquerade is unmasked and then you get the actual essence of the crowd.

Now that’s not to say there are no genuine fans in a hired crowd. But finding them is as arduous as picking stones in a tray of rice. It’s painstaking work. Those are indeed the few who happily stay up in the sun or rain of a campaign, honestly wishing their man or woman well.

Beyond those, the feisty bunch is often working for a fee, powered by mind altering substances and waiting for the next assignment. They are professionals who would do it for anyone with the right mobilisation tool alias cash. At the end, they help in clustering our minds as we wonder who really holds the aces.

So free yourself from the crowd mentality. The mob is not always right. Adolf Hitler polled the greatest crowd and killed six million Jews. Critically interrogate the candidates and be realistic about the crowd. The crowd won’t take decisions on your behalf someday. It is the man or woman you vote for. But for now, enjoy the heat of the pulsating crowd and dance to the rythm while using your head.

Bello is an analyst.

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