Being a politician isn’t a job for everyone. A vocation in itself, you must have that innate quality to provide for others. As a representative of a group or sub-section of people, your duties cannot be self-serving, they must benefit the people. Most see the glamorous side of politics from the media but peel back the curtain and the core issues are basic- representation, voter issues and public service.
Voter issues are fundamentals for any candidate seeking to run for office. As politicians, promises must be made, but more importantly, they must be kept. Listening to your electorate's concerns is part of the job description and in larger voter districts, this can sometimes be chaotic. Unlike other jobs, you are elected by the public to do a job, carry out specific duties at local, country and possibly even national level. The ideology behind a political representative is that you are in a position of power in order to make a change.
Interacting with the public on a daily basis puts you in a difficult position- anything you say can be assumed to be a commitment, so how does one track all these promises? Simple, issue tracking!
So you are probably thinking, ‘Issue tracking, Big Data Debate again’, but hear us out, we won’t keep you long. Yes, issue tracking involves data, but you won’t get bogged down with figures and stats.
As each party releases its General Election manifesto, we see dozens of promises being made. These are usually the first promises to be brought up at the first hint of unrest amongst the public, but what about the time your local politician promised to fix the bad road in your town or that time in Congress, they promised to pass a health care reform bill? It is often the promises that are made when the cameras have stopped recording which are the ones to first go by the wayside. This is why issue tracking while out campaigning is important and in turn, so beneficial to the candidate seeking office.
Before you track an issue, you must first make a pledge that you will see after the voters queries. Gaining the public’s trust used to be easier but due to mass media coverage which sometimes focuses on the corrupt side of politics, the general public has grown skeptical about politicians. Seen as pedalling whatever talk would get them elected on the campaign trail, cynicism is rife.
Trust, once broken, requires a hell of an effort to gain back, just ask Fianna Fail in Ireland. Some say you can’t gain a person’s vote unless you promise to do something for them in return. So making a pledge may, in fact, help you build a relationship with your voters. Politics is built on relationships, it grows on good ones and is debated relentlessly on bad ones.
As politics can be such a fickle game, the long-term effects of solid relationships are even more important. Gaining a vote for one election is only good for 2, 3, maybe 5 years. The great politicians are always looking long term. Bridging the gap from one election cycle to the next is truly significant and successful issue tracking ensures this.