The underdog. Often the loser, the underdog is ignored and discounted. I'm a big fan of the underdog. Whatever the sport, I always like a Cinderella story. A comeback from nowhere. A last second goal, a 3-pointer from halfcourt to win, a home run in the bottom of the ninth. It makes for great entertainment. With parliamentary elections upon us, it's now or never for the underdog opposition parties.
With Turkish equity markets, bond markets and CDS markets all rallying, investors are betting that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will most probably win an outright majority in the June 7 elections. With a vested interest in the outcome, markets are pretty good at predicting election results. In the interest of democracy and of improving the "game" of all parties and for the benefit of the nation, I want to give some free advice to the opposition to help them out and to make the election a little more entertaining. Here's a recipe for how to beat the AK Party.
As a business consultant, the first question I ask clients is, "so what's the problem?" Rarely is a consultant hired before a company fails several times without help. The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Part (MHP),the two main opposition parties, are thus the perfect clients. The last time the CHP won a parliamentary election and served out its term was in 1946. At the time there was no voting booth, citizens voted in full-view of the public, however, the counting of said votes was done in secret. The first leader of the CHP, Ismet İnönü, later commented that he was "embarrassed" by the fraud in that election. Of course İnönü was president of the Republic at the time and behind the scheme. The United States wasn't pleased. It tied the Marshall Plan financial aid to an open democracy, voting in private and the public counting of said votes. So Turkey literally has America to thank for any semblance of democracy post-1946. Therefore, President Truman is really the founder of "democracy" in Turkey, thank you President Truman.
Okay, let's get back to helping the CHP and the MHP. The first step to alcoholics anonymous and to helping the CHP/MHP is admitting you have a problem. You've been losing for the last 70 years, in the first 20 years of the Republic, you had it easy, opposition parties were banned. So, admit that you need to change course. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the current leader of the CHP, should get up and say, "Turkey, we've wronged you in the past, we're sorry, we want to change." This will really help in convincing the public, as they've never heard you apologize for anything in the past, not anti-Semitic taxes, not the massacres of Anatolian-Greeks, Kurds and Armenians, not decades of oppressive regimes, so this will be a good start. (In the case of Armenians, the massacres predate the CHP and were carried out by it's predecessor, the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki Partisi), many of whose leaders went on to lead the CHP.)
Step two: Perhaps a rebranding? Find a way to funnel the billions of dollars the CHP has in its coffers into a new party and re-brand yourself. The Equality Party? Maybe confuse the electorate, The Justice party? Or the Development Party? How about both! The Just and Developing Party (Adil ve Kalkinan Party in Turkish,) you get to use the AK initials, voters will vote for you by accident. A 10-point bump at the polls guaranteed!
Step three: Put your money where your mouth is. Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour Party, and the other losers of the recent U.K. elections all stepped down within hours of the U.K. election results. No one likes a loser. Take a hint. Say you'll resign if you lose and if you lose, resign. Not complicated. It's bad for morale to have losers running the party for decades at a time.
Step four: Promise you won't mess with people's lives anymore. You want to wear a cross to first grade? A yarmulke to middle school? A hijab to high school? Fine. I know the last one's really hard to swallow for you but it's what the electorate wants. The old-school fascists are dying off, blatant discrimination won't play well with the youth of today. Dead people can't vote.
Step five: Do something. Transform one of the municipalities whose mayor is from your party. Tout its accomplishments. Maybe too late for that one. (Plan for next election.)
Step six: Make outlandish promises. "We're going to triple the minimum-wage, 20-hour work week, retirement at 40!" You're doing a good job here so far, the problem is, the government has already tripled GDP, made healthcare accessible, this one's going to be a hard sell.
That's it. It's really not that difficult CHP/MHP. This is a recipe for winning once, to keep winning, you actually have to do things. Let's take it one step at a time...