Facebook emerges as launch pad for candidates

| 30/01/2017

(CNS Elections): The use of social media is likely to play a major part of the 2017 election campaign. While there are huge changes in the voting system in 2017, campaigning is also likely to take a different turn. Already, a number of candidates have used Facebook to launch their initial campaigns, creating spruced up pages and declaring their intentions. From well-known political figures like Dr Frank McField, who will be taking on Kenneth Bryan and the premier in George Town Central, to newcomers to the political scene, such as Rudolph Dixon, CNS has counted more than a dozen candidates who have made their intentions to join the 2017 race known on social media.

At the last election, Matthew Leslie was the only candidate to focus his campaign on Facebook and harness the power of the internet and social media. However, he scraped just 1.56% of the votes (91 in total) in George Town, indicating that the exclusive use of social media did not work so well in 2013.

But four years later, Cayman has embraced the internet and online communication, especially Facebook, and the direct interaction it affords. The success that Donald Trump achieved by using his Twitter account to send out his version of events relating to the election, bypassing the regular media channels is also likely to have an impression on 2017 candidates. This time around candidates will be spending a lot more time on their phones, tablets and lap tops than on the soap boxes and hustings of past elections.

The actual numbers of candidates likely to run in 2017 in the new system could be very high, and election officials are standing by for a significant number of people throwing their political hats in the ring. While few candidates have declared their hand about which of the 19 seats they will be choosing, they have just two months before Nomination Day on Wednesday 29 March to select their battleground.

Given the change to the electoral system, with the introduction of ‘one man, one vote’ in single-member constituencies, the election race is now a straight head-to-head race with only one winner.

While some people believe it may be easier to win under the new system as an independent candidate, the evidence in other jurisdictions where ‘first past the post’ election systems are in place suggests that this still favours party politics. On the other hand, the mood of voters on social media appears to be leaning towards independents to change the status quo.

Viewpoint: Applicants for the job of MLA

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Category: Campaigns

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hope Matthew Leslie tries his hand this time again. He definitely stuck around and has been doing more on the outside than many of those on the inside.