Portia vs. The Rest
On our political landscape, I imagine that it is going to be difficult to replace Portia Simpson-Miller as President of the PNP if she is reluctant to step down.
It looks to me as if her support is more than just a matter for party-line support, and instead is about Portia (and her followers) vs. The Rest.
Who are "The Rest?" Well, that changes from situation to situation. The Rest has so far been defined as:
-- the highly educated
-- the brown skinned
-- Peter Phillips, and Omar Davis
-- the non-working class members of the PNP
-- the wealthy
-- the JLP
-- K.D. Knight
-- P.J. Patterson
As some have put it, "Portia is one a we." In other words, "they" are not.
From the outside it seems that the PNP is at the mercy of Portia and her supporters. The agenda for last week's National Conference was changed becaue her supporters showed up at the National Stadium in their numbers uninvited. Did they do so because they feared that she was about to be ousted?
If so, it would be a mistake for the party of Michael Manley and other fine intellectuals to contine to cater to the lowest common denominator in our society. Unfortunately, our politics has gotten to the point where politicians sincerely believe that they cannot win votes without giving prospective voters T-shirts, box-lunches, Digicel credit or raw cash.
To put it more crudely, they think they cannot win without catering to the most hungry, the least educated and most easily "bought" among us. Replace the word "bought" with the word "bribed" and it probably paints a truer picture. The loyalty to Portia is a complex phenomena, and in this election "Vote for Portia and the PNP" was not a successful slogan, and did not represent a winning strategy.
Loyalty to Portia seems to mean... loyalty to Portia against everyone else who might be against her. And it seems to be the kind of unthinking loyalty that people have to politicians, football teams, armed factions, religions, the flag, pop artists and high schools.
I wonder if top PNP politicians are wondering what will happen if they do vote in a new President. Will there be demonstrations? Roadblocks? A Riot? Will they be able to placate the supporters of Portia with dress shirts, plate lunches, etc.?
It cannot be the case that the thought hasn't crossed anyone's mind that the party would do better with a different leader. Hopefully, the PNP will not lose itself in its efforts to remain popular, and decide the question of its leadership on more lofty terms.