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Popping Popularity

What makes a popular candidate? Let me make this clear. I said, “popular”; not necessarily “good” What wins approval from the populace.

Good looks certainly helps; but not too good. There’s a difference between a good looking politician and a matinee idol. If a candidate looks too good, clean-shaven, boy next door type, he may run the risk of being perceived as nothing but good looks. I think the same goes with female candidates. Although being beautiful helps, Being too beautiful may push her to the level of being “nothing but beautiful”, similar to a “blonde bimbo” or in American slang, a “chickenhead”. Maybe, let’s take it a few steps down from the showbiz personality level of good looks. Let’s set it just right; just the decent level of good looks. That would be fine. A fair complexion would help. We could have some amount of Spanish or Chinese mestizo features. A little or some of those would be very helpful.

The popular candidate has to smile. The public wants that genuine smile that makes them want to smile back. He or she has to consistently wear that smile that you would want to see from your friend, your favorite uncle, a friendly neighbor with whom you would want to have small talk with. Don’t give us no crooked smile; that one with a little twist on the corner of the lips. The public detects a fake smile. There’s something about a person’s smile that exudes warmth. It just gives the campaign audience a light feeling in their chestss, and makes them want to consider to listen to you, and maybe write your name on the ballot,(oh, I forgot, it’s “shade that circle beside your name” now.)That smile has to be executed just right for the posters and the TV ads, and most importantly in the flesh on campaign sorties.

The public would love it when the candidate wears simple attire; something like what the voters usually wear. And I don’t mean, a thin tank top and shorts. This simple attire still has to maintain a semblance of respectability. So, he has to pick that modest polo shirt and some denims; or maybe he would want to wear an unassuming polo and a pair of not too formal slacks. Take it easy on the shiny leather shoes. Maybe you would want to walk on some rubber ones. May I remind you that someone got popular because of tsinelas. The same goes for female aspirants. Blouse and pants would be fine, or some artless dress. This isn’t just because it’s summer. If you think this is superficial, just imagine your female candidate doing her campaign rounds in a colorful, shiny designer dress with all sorts of accessories, jewelry and all; and I haven’t mentioned about cosmetics. Yes, it doesn’t have anything to do with platform of government, but just imagine. It has a psychological effect.

The popular candidate has to speak in humility. This is not yet about the way he or she would deliver a speech on the stage in the barangay basketball court or the multi-purpose hall (although that one’s covered by this one). I mean, the way he would casually talk, to the people closely around him, to random passersby, to applicants for financial support. He or she has to maintain that mode of modesty. Pitch has to be low. Intonation must not have a wide range of rising and falling. Don’t talk too fast. The applicant for votes has to be humble, even if it goes to the level of false humility. You know, that pretentious Filipino brand of humility. I haven’t even included courtesy.

A popular candidate has to have some community involvement. Come on, it doesn’t have to be authentic. Maybe he can do something like riding a pedicab, driving a passenger jeepney, wading knee deep on a rice paddy, shoveling mud from the streets, carrying babies, or rescuing typhoon victims in the middle of a storm, while your family is sick worried for your safety, waiting at home – those types. These social associations may range from the superficially shallow to the profoundly practical. People have to see and feel that this candidate is like them, one of them, does the things they do, does things for them, gives the things that they need. This could even include singing a popular song in videoke, dancing with the dancers , or playing games with the audience. Let’s not forget the pictures, or as how the times have changed, selfies and groupies.

Now, these are the elements of popularityGo, make your judgments.

“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” Luke 6:26

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