With an electorate of 47,000-plus showing a marginal 5 per cent rise in voter participation between the elections of 2017 and now, no doubt this rise was not in births, but in the redefinition of who by grant of status can now vote.
In spite of the massive 18 per cent gap in the last election, the question is, where does the new 5 per cent go? Without having the benefit of a survey indicating the demographic profile of new voters, I am going to guess that the racial gap is narrowing slightly and will increasingly narrow with each successive year as the children of the new participants by a factor of two reach the age of majority.
Does that mean the end of race as a determinant? No, it doesn’t. It just means the presumption of one party having a majority will end with time and future elections will be determined by where the popular sentiments dominate. The politics of “what have you have done for me lately” will always stir the rudder on who rules.
This upcoming election will tell the story on what the change in the electorate is indicating for the future elections.
My notion of creating the environment for a unified electoral pool, which upsets the present allegiances, will not happen and it will be war as usual for the foreseeable future based on the flow of racial dynamics unless another intervention occurs.
The existing paradigm is much like Cup Match: the teams have seasons and eras when each hold the dominance. From an electorate’s perspective, the rule of Bermuda over the past 70 years could be measured just by observing racial demographics.
The introduction of a third party may determine whether the polarisation is static. It will uncover whether the One Bermuda Alliance support base is flexible and will see its fate entwined with a new emerging party, or whether a new party would just represent a split in their eyes, which they intend to exploit.
It is already known that the largest unrepresented constituencies are those who are with no absolute loyalties to any party.
It should also be known that a victory by the OBA granted by a split Progressive Labour Party is untenable and would be filled with social strife similar to their last days of rule.
The property vote up until 1963 dictated the electorate, then after 1968 it could be reasonably assumed that the black vote would be split by about 20 per cent. By 1998, that number of splits will have dropped to 15 per cent and falling.
The continuous factor has been the white or other vote only marginally falls away from 95 per cent. Those experiential statistics will probably remain, so in theory the same phenomenon that benefits the PLP’s prospects today will be its nemesis in the future unless it introduces absentee votes and extends the franchise to the huge overseas and ostensibly black population.
Unfortunately, almost universally, gerrymandering has been the tool of interest groups intent on ruling by pedigree. The ideal should always be “all men are created equal”, and therefore the issue of governance and the right of the electorate to choose their representation should be based on the notion of an equal vote with equal opportunity within the whole.
That ideal of negating the “control” by partisanship over the process is too altruistic and too principled and fair for parties to adopt. As far back as I can recall, being fair has always been what’s fair in the eye of the beholders — you know, “I’m in the boat now, so pull the ladder up”.
Another thought comes to mind with regards to political attitudes: “Think for today. For all we know, tomorrow may never come.”