Is the joint election ticket ruining politics?

By - Jan 1st 1970

Why does it seem so hard for many governors and their deputies to get along throughout a single term? Is it the manner in which they find themselves together, so lost in trying to win that they do not give much thought to their prospective partner when they form government?

Strange that these are two individuals who not long ago happened to be favourite humans to one another, committed teammates and hunted together. While on the stump, they probably spent more time together than with anyone else crisscrossing their regions on the vote hunt. Perhaps, they constantly showed up in matching clothes like a love-struck couple, not skipping an opportunity to dance with the voters. In those times, the code was tight and attacking one of them meant facing the wrath of both of them because it was a team effort to deliver the ticket.

Then, by whatever means, these two individuals finally sailed into office and slowly morphed into sworn enemies. Even sadder that this is when they should be closer since it is time to deliver on the promises.

Unless it is by design to have some plausible deniability and an excuse to blame the lack of delivery on. Be as it may, no opportunity is spared to throw brickbats at one another. Public events of whatever kind provide the perfect platform for such attacks and counterattacks, all in an attempt to tug at the public’s heartstrings to win sympathy, with each side’s supporters cheering on. How fast relations deteriorate! One would expect that the intense campaign season with all the facetime it came with, sufficed for courtship for them to get even closer. But alas! It appears as if when the oath of office was administered, the scales that previously blinded them, fell off their eyes. And they began to see their partner for who they actually are.

Which is also possible, considering the manner in which these gubernatorial tickets are typically constituted. The criterion for choosing a running mate has more to do with the combo that gathers the most votes or the ticket that represents the face of the county better or the one that delivers the most formidable challenge to opponents. Many times, the running mate position is dangled as the runners up prize for the strongest loser in the primaries, prevailed upon by the party to play second fiddle to the chosen one. The reasoning then is to keep all the votes in the basket to avoid disgruntled losers from taking off with their supporters. And that is how strangers, probably at the extreme ends of the values spectrum, find themselves ensconced in the same ship.

Often, a major deal breaker for these newly elected is when it comes to sharing the spoils of their victory – dishing out positions and other goodies. Often, there was no prenup when the ticket was bundled up since everyone was preoccupied with hunting for votes to hammer out a formula. Or, even if the conversation was had, the one in whose favour the balance of power lands probably accepted the running-mate’s demands without giving it much thought. It is only after victory that they discover how bad a deal it was. Then, they will force some time to negotiate or renegotiate the earlier arrangement, which will obviously cause fireworks from the other party.

Perhaps the way to address this and save all of us the drama and rescue their appointees from the pressure of having to choose a side is just forget the corporate ticket and have everyone run and the winner and runner-up to co-run the establishment. Or for it to be left for the winner to appoint someone to be the deputy.

Then again, the voters might just be the winner in this tension. Under the cloud of accusations of fraud and procurement malpractices, both have their guard up and there is little chance of colluding to loot public coffers. That is if they manage to get some work done.


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