The Portia Factor -article
In the aftermath of the Eelction, I read the following article by Peter Espeut that I think is brilliant.
He says: The strategists in the PNP completely misread the situation; they thought her popularity was personal, and pushed her to the front: "Vote for Portia and the PNP". Portia was politically popular not because she is a nice lady (which apparently she genuinely is), but because like other political messiahs in our history (e.g. Marcus Garvey and Michael Manley) she promised a new day.
I think that he is absolutely right.
I read study that showed that US Presidential candidates that emphasized a brighter future were far more likely to win than others who merely criticized what their opponents had not done well.
Very late in the day (maybe 3 days before the elections) there was a brilliant ad from the PNP that came from what I heard was their "new" advertising agency.
It showed Portia's rise to leadership in the party, from her young days in the 1970's until today.
It perfectly captured the Portia Factor.
However, it got lost in the talk of "Trusting Portia" -- I was riding in the country yesterday and saw several billboards with Portia's picture and the line "You can Trust Portia." At the bottom it said "Vote for Porta and the PNP."
What a mistake, if Espeut's line of reasoning is anything to go by.
Early last year when I was a big supporter of Portia, I surely wasn't enchanted by her personality (which I knew little about.) What she represent is so much bigger than that.
Her life is a living symbol of what most Jamaicans want. Maybe all.
Everyone wants to have the opportunity to move ahead and become much more than our society would predict.
In that context, even her tirade on stage could have been explained with some candor, and once again remind people of how far she has come, yet she still makes mistakes.
Somehow, the message that her life demonstrates, got mixed up with her persona.
And we are all worse off as a result.