Ask what drives people to vote for a particular political party and you are told policies, ideologies, tribal affiliation and family ties. While all these are true, one often ignored reason is the personality factor in elections. Yes, the personality of a candidate is enough for some people. Who the candidate is, or perceived to be, drives people to vote for him or her.
Watching videos and documentaries of murderers Ted Bundy and Jodi Arias I have, been marveled at how a person’s personality draws people to him or her and how that can even blind them to the obvious truth. If these two can kill people, have compelling evidence against them and actually confess to these crimes, yet people have become “fans” and been so obsessed to the point of declaring them innocent, all because of the personalities both portrayed during trial and interviews then personality is definitely a winner. Why do people who have committed heinous crimes still have followers? The answer is, it is because of their charismatic and likeable personalities.
Moving on to the 2016 election, how have the candidates, both presidential and parliamentary presented themselves to the public? How does the public view them? Is Ghana in love with the affability of the sitting President, the almost always smiling Nana Akufo-Addo or the ever serious Papa Kwesi Nduom? Who amongst them carries the crown of charisma? Who has been able to present himself as confident and trustworthy? These are some of the things “personality-voters” look out for.
Looking back at some personalities, we remember the ever charismatic J.J Rawlings, the gentle J.A. Kuffuor and the peaceful late Professor Atta-Mills. It’s interesting to note that no matter how different their personalities were, it sat well with the people who went ahead to vote for them. That is to say one doesn’t have to have the same personalities as the other. A candidate only needs to project their strongest personality and people will like them, and this can give them an edge over their competitors.
For the Presidential candidates, the job to portray a likeable personality is far more tedious than the Parliamentary candidates. The former has the general voting population to deal with and the latter has only a fraction of it, which is their constituency.
Looking at the outcome of the US elections, one would question where the influence of personalities on voting ends. The seemingly likeable candidate Hillary Clinton lost to a candidate projected as arrogant. One can only wonder.
We patiently await December 7, to know which personality is truly a winner when it comes to Ghanaians.