Now that party-hopping is now the norm, alliances are malleable, M'sia political parties no longer mean the same thing we thought they did.
This opens up an unprecedented opportunity in anger-entrepreneurship, opening up political rooms never before vacant.
The thesis is this: people will vote along racial lines, only for different reasons going forward.
Voters are realizing the party they're voting for is meaningless when the winners gets to switch camp and remain elected. Their votes are really going to the specific individuals, so they better know their choices of individuals well. They shouldn't get your vote just because he's from your favorite party.
Here's the problem: the party is a narrative bundle. They are shortcuts for representative what the candidate stands for, even if you've never heard of him. You may not know the macha but you'd have a pretty good idea of what he is if he's from MIC.
Now that they get to jump parties after the fact, the only way you as the voter know what you're voting is to do the research, learn his history, know the candidate, be in alignment with his values.
Bitch please. No one is gonna do that.
True research is time consuming and difficult. Voters got better things to do than read study about people they're not gonna vote for. The media won't help, they talk only about Anwar Ibrahim, never your specific candidates. Voters want shortcuts, the same way they judge the quality of a product by its price.
The candidate's race make a pretty convenient shortcut. So happens that non-Malays haven't develop the taste to hop parties (I stand corrected).
In this climate of trust deficit, candidates from major parties will come with a slight handicap. Malay candidates from major parties will be especially suspicious to voters.
Now let's see where the opportunity is. The most powerful position to have now is no longer the Prime Minister, it's the member of parliament. When the alliances of a mere 200+ MPs changes that easily in year 2020, MPs are in the untouchable position of picking the Prime Minister.
Even more powerful are MPs without party affiliations. They answer to no one; not party leadership, not even the constituents. No one answers to constituents STFU.
Well turn out it can be rather cheap now to win a parliamentary seat, all things considered.
Forget what you know about lame ass political campaigns of giving speeches with free meals and planting flags. Here's the new playbook to compete as an independent candidate for MP.
Pick a racially balanced area to compete in. Not too rural that it's racially lopsided but not too urban either.
You can't tell beforehand where this is either until the election commission has the geography gerrymandered to your advantage a few months before election.
Do not compete with named candidates, avoid going up against non-Malays. There's no point competing with Tony Pua or Najib in their own turf. A no-name non-Malay has the same advantage you do plus a mature publicity power of a party machinery behind them.
Similarly you can't know who the competing candidates are until the major parties have submitted their candidacies. As an independent candidate you have the advantage of watching the chess pieces fall into place before making your move. Pick the area when the competing candidates look manageable.
Once you've decided where to compete, you only need to win by razor thin majority. When win by 5% margin when you can win by 0.5% at a fraction of the cost?
Now here's the rub. A national platform has been rendered meaningless. People don't get to directly vote for a PM. Dr. M can go around the country making speeches but you don't get to vote for Dr. M. You vote for the person who might vote for Dr. M.
As an independent candidate there is no necessity to be nationally known, only locally famous. The campaign is about hyper locality.
Micro-target your voters. Pump them with ads in Pesbuk, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube. Take advantage of profile targetting when you still can, make sure only your target voters see them.
Be entertaining with your ads cause you're gonna interrupt the hell out of their media feed.
Be strict with your analytics. Have a sense of the target headcount you're going for and make sure all of them has been reached one way or the other.
Remind your voters about party-hopping, tell you are in no position to do that. Sprinkle some ideas about national policies but don't take them too seriously.
Make promises, the bigger the better. Keep them believable but don't feel obligated to keep them.
Create localized scandal. Get accused for sleeping with someone known in the zone. Better yet covertly bring down the most famous restaurant in the neighbourhood and publicly come to their rescue. Malaysians go berserk when you fuck with their food; they think of it as a virtue.
All these need not happen in real life. They just need to look like they do on screen.
With luck, this campaign may cost less than a Toyota Vios. The reward for an unlikely victory though, is highly asymmetrical to the risk.
As an independent MP there is no hope for ministership. You shouldn't want that anyway, it's a gig for suckers who enjoy officiating opening ceremonies. Instead you get to spend your time doing actual work, however you define 'work'.
An MP is a member of a club of only 200+ kingmakers. There will be a tussle for the PM's seat every few months. As an independent MP you get to decide who takes that seat without baggages.
Getting to choose freely is where the revenue comes from.
Malaysia's state of democracy has somehow developed the resiliency of not succumbing to moral high grounds. Players get to play the media, not the other way round. If you don't exploit this someone else will.
I wonder if this was how the slow-death of the Roman Empire looked like.