When political parties suffer dwindling fortunes, it begs for flanking movements as an alternative to the drudgery of their misfortune.
Over the years, we have come to see the NPP talking about social policies, deliberately blurring the ideological lines, thus opening them to magnificent strategic opportunities. This is because when one removes the fundamental raison d’etre of the NDC, it diminishes the NDC’s chances for future political successes.
The idea behind triangulation is to work hard to solve problems that motivate the other parties’ voters, so as to defang them politically while holding the line on ideological turf.
The best example on triangulation is seen in the political strategies of Bill Clinton, George Bush and François Mittarrand of France.
Triangulation does not call for a line split in ideology. It rather positions the party to higher and better grounds than it would have reached. It calls for tactical concession as seen when Bill Clinton adopted certain ideas that originated from the Republicans such as the Welfare Reforms to solve the other side’s problems using solutions from both Parties (Democrats and Republicans) while also focusing on his own agenda. Bill Clinton ran for office calling on his Party to address the problems of the Middle Class, stating boldly that “the era of big government is over”.
Lao-Tzu wrote in “The Tao of Power” that “to hold to the center is to listen to the voice of the inner mind”. In the “inner mind”, Ghanaians will come to a certain conclusion as they witness the swirling political debate around them.
George Bush moved his focus on small government to one of compassion by crossing over to address the core issues and values of the Democrats as he declared in his mission to “match a conservative mind with a compassionate heart”. He refused to concede issues like education, poverty and health care to the democrats.
Both Bush and Clinton were listening to the “inner mind” of their Nation.
The NPP started their deliberate triangulation under President Kuffuor, bending over to solve problems of the Nation identified and espoused by the NDC, which forms the core of their ideological underpinnings by rolling out social-centered programs such as School Feeding, LEAP, and Mutual Health Insurance, deliberately tilting the axis of power and reaching to the “inner minds” of Ghanaians. A similar script is being implemented by Nana Addo with the introduction of the Free SHS, thus putting them on a pedestal for their future political relevance.
The strategy of triangulation is working for the NPP as they have started making scary incursion into the NDC strongholds such as the Volta Region, Oti Region, Northern Region, Upper East Region, Upper West Region, among others.
The NDC must triangulate by rolling out lasting programs and policies to chip back a bigger chunk of the middle class and floating votes while maintaining the turf of their original base, the ordinary Ghanaian citizens.
The NDC must triangulate as another Damascus experience for the Party reaching new markets but not letting go of it’s base.
In summary, the NDC must triangulate, searching for the inner mind of Ghanaians, identify interventions that will attract the middle class and role out social interventions to keep it’s base.
By Kafui Agbleze
HSE NO. AN2/01