Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The New Type of Leader in the World of Politics

There is a new type of leader finding acceptability in the world of politics. Political rhetoric has always been one of appropriateness where conventional or traditionally acceptable views are considered safe. Issues change but how they are talked about by the conventional political leader remains the same. 

The new type of leader is breaking this mould. They don’t care about traditional views. They are blunt. They say the unsayable. They often put their foot wrong with their comments and earn all round derision, but get up, shake off the dust and start walking again. They apparently don’t care about their image but end up creating one for themselves. And surprisingly, this new type of leader is finding political success.

With every passing day, Donald Trump is inching towards becoming the Republican candidate for presidency. And as the silver-haired American millionaire spouts one politically blasphemous statement after another, Indians are saying: “Doesn’t he remind us of someone closer home?” 

Conservative French politician, who is now an MP, Marine Le Pen, who is often called xenophobic, is another example of modern day politicians who are not afraid of expressing unconventional (or even unpalatable) views.

A general brashness, though, is not the only attribute characterizing all of them. Some of them, in fact, may appear like a chip off the old block, in terms of general behavior, but occasionally, when an issue warrants, they show scant regard for tradition. Roughly six months ago, David Cameron said ‘it is because of these important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a successful home to people of all faiths and none.’ And despite the instant disapproval of British intelligentsia, he never apologized or tried to explain himself.

However, if you see beyond the bravado and examine the comments of the brave hearts in the light of current global realities, the brave hearts will appear less foolhardy and more pragmatic. You will realize they are making unconventional statements because they know they reflect the opinion of masses, that even if they are lambasted by the cognoscenti, they will gain politically. And it is working. People feel these leaders are less pretentious, that they say what is obvious but unsaid. When they speak people feel heard. Elections after elections have shown that these sentiments convert into votes. 

This trend is a fallout of mainly two geopolitical realities. One is growing Islamic extremism and global financial crisis – which none of the conventional political leaders and parties have been able to handle very effectively. Growing Islamic terrorism has meant many things – security concerns (as a direct effect of the phenomenon), cultural insecurities (due to immigrants from Muslim countries pouring into Western countries that they culturally share very less in common with), opposition to a common currency in Europe, etc.

To address the fallout of some of these issues, conventional parties have been seen shifting their ideological position. Conservative European parties have shifted towards the left from their right ideological position, and vice versa. Angela Merkel, in a move inconceivable of a conservative leader, opened the gates of Germany to immigrants from Muslim countries. Hollande, the French president, his socialist ideological moorings notwithstanding, has had to resort to war mongering and strict security measures (affecting the Muslims). In Britain, the Conservative Party led by David Cameroon has had to go soft on some of the traditional conservative values. This shifting of ideological position, particularly by the conservative parties, has left a vacuum on the far right, which, many say, has led to the rise of far right leaders.

Although American politics is a little simpler than Europe with only two parties occupying the entire ideological space, America shares some problems with Europe, mainly those related to security and economy. And its conservative party – The Republicans – being an establishment party, has not been able to veer too much off the beaten path on these issues.  Donald Trump is a result of that.  

The number of the new type of leader will grow and the number of people feeling represented (or their views and sentiments reflected by them) by them will increase too if mainstream politicians and political parties continue to be wishy washy when it comes to certain issues that directly affect the lives of citizens. Conversely, it is also true that if these leaders become part of establishments they will acquire a political sobriety which now typifies the conventional politician. Either way the new type of leader will leave the political firmament transformed in many ways.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...