DEVA | How to fight against a Populist.
Deva is a newly formed organization lead by Ali Babacan. A well-experienced politician but also can be defined as a Technocrat who was formerly a Founding member of Akp and served as minister of economy and minister of foreign affairs, initiated the Deva political party. After Tayyip Erdogan successfully consolidated all the available use of power as being a leading party member under his control. With the presidential system, being a party member is not worth as much as before, but being in the close circle of Erdoğan pays more then ever… If you are going to be the outsider then be the ‘boring’ outsider that fights the Cheif.
How Deva Fights the Populist?
Deva took advantage of the economic recession as a window of opportunity where they can emerge a solution and set the agenda against AKP while differentiating themselves form the current opposition. Mainly CHP. CHP trapped to become a populist party while trying to combat AKP rule. Deva brings new hope in the political arena, with a ‘boring’ strategy. While benefiting all the positive effects of the recession while developing as an image for hope.
”Don’t try to out-polarize the charismatic “polarizer in chief,” either in style or program.”
The new rhetoric set by Babacan and Deva has highly differentiated itself from the current opposition and the ‘Chief’. It’s boring and the power lies in this boring approach, Babacan does not even try to catch up to Erdogan’s oratory as Kemal Kilicdaroglu ,a highly caricatured figure even by CHP supporters, his biggest mistake was falling to traps in the agendas that are set by Erdogan which he always had the upper hand. Mimicking Erdogan’s rhetoric against Erdoğan directly trapped CHP to become a populist party as well, which lingers outside the bigger mass, which Erdogan always successfully managed to control. Deva choose not to play, out-polarization strategy as other parties but position itself by boring but insightful rhetoric that is completely different from Erdoğan, which when Babacan speaks this makes people concentrate, but while Kılıctaroğlu speaks everyone remembers Erdoğan, which directly blocks the parties reach.
”Create an inclusive electoral strategy that reaches out to doubting elements of the populist’s base and mobilizes the broadest possible constituency for change.”
Deva showcases first comer politician, more than 50% of the members are fresh figures in the political arena, that are coming from various backgrounds, from a former hedge fund manager to a highly conservative nationalist, combined in the parties founding roots, which contributes to the inclusive electoral strategy, and introducing new figures defends the party against the blame game, which Akp utilitize effectively against other parties members, the blame game against Deva is solely focused on Babacan, where he manages to fight against by promoting his former appearance as a Technocrat not as a politician. His speeches also support this image, the ‘boring’ rhetoric focuses on problems and possible solutions rather than slogans. Also, the anti-revanchism approach of Deva is more convincing than Chp for this reason. When Chp tries to play the inclusive electoral strategy by using Erdoğan’s tactics where everyone directly correlates with Akp and puts them in a ’leftists-Akp’ image by the people who voted for the ‘Chief’. Which sets a cunning image of Chp, by ’opposite’ voters.
”Craft a positive, issues-based campaign strategy focused on the policy failings and vulnerabilities of the incumbent populist administration.”
The issue-based campaign, boring campaign, state the current failings of the incumbent without the verbal abuse, do not trigger the defense mechanism directly, remember these voters are believers of this incumbent for more than 10 years, never push voters, make them realize by their own, with an aggressive tone you push them towards their ‘’mistakes’’ which makes them, even more embrace those and become scared from the one who pushes them, remember the revanchist looking play of Chp I stated above. Although the intention is not, the tone and the figure who speaks creates the outlook. ‘’Why we are in this position?’’ is a better slogan than ‘Incumbent made us, they are devil trust me’. Be boring let voters decide. Economic cycle timing and recession is on your side.
”Don’t let the populist hijack nationalism. Offer a liberal version of unifying pride in the country as a democracy.”
It is just impossible for Chp to fight back in this manner but Deva has the chance, a scenario where Chp win against the opposition is only possible if they outplay the populist game because they allowed Akp to hijack the nationalism cards while they are trying to consolidate their voters, by scaring them against Akp rule, they helped the consolidation of the society in 2 main groups. The nationalist group already mainly belongs to AKP control, so it’s too late for CHP unite voters.
”Offer hope and an optimistic vision of a better future.”
A democratic alternative does not have to be charismatic or radical to motivate people. Babacan gains most of his advantage by his technocratic image, as he successfully improved the Turkish economy after the 2001 crisis, in the eyes of the voters Babacan, is a doer. Where he can bring a vision of a better future while stating the problems of democratic erosion. Links his political motives with the reversal of the erosion, which is an understandable plan for a better future.
Finally, being boring is not boring in an environment where every single voter is used to the aggressive image of the politicians, that are offering a side to choice rather than a vision of a future, calmly stating the problems and the possible future to everyone, gains from both sides, and have a chance to remove the barriers of entry in Voters minds. Barriers that are successfully installed by the İncumbent and the main opposition that helped further democratic erosion in the first place.