The behavior of the political class and of society during election campaigns is specific. The politicians are in a kind of “electoral bout” that is actually the result of the actions and reactions in the electoral period. Why did some of the electoral players do reprovable things in the presidential election campaign, which they would not do normally? What did they bank on and what is the real effect of these things on the political class and society? These were the questions to which answers were provided by invitees to the public debate “And in the Morning They Woke Up” (by Vasiliy Shukshin). Politological, psychological and sociological aspects of the state of society after the presidential elections” that was staged by IPN News Agency.
The standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan noted the specific behavior of the political class and society during election campaigns. All the human beings have aspirations and expectations that become more acute during election campaigns and elections. The intensity of the relations between politicians and citizens grows during election campaigns. “For example, it was noticed the intensity of the relations in the United States and of the relations in the recent elections in the UK. The particularity of the Republic of Moldova is that the Moldovans are positioned rather well on the sides of the barricade before time because society is divided,” he stated.
According to the expert, the electoral behavior is similar, at particular stages, with the behavior under the influence of alcohol or psychotropic substances. “It happens because, in the international classifier of diseases, there is the dependence on games of chance and the F63.0 code (gambling) is allotted and, similarly, the “electoral bout” persists in the election campaign. Psychologists identified ten criteria by which the persons that become dependent in the period can be recognized. If a person matches at least five of the ten criteria, this can be called dependent on “electoral bout”. It happens because the people have aspirations and expectations, the electoral contenders and opinion polls create a competitive framework by which, large sections of the population have been engaged during the last two decades owing to the social networking sites. They create that environment where the citizen is engaged. Those who bring the “electoral bout” to an apogee are the trolls and political strategists who incite the involved sides,” stated Igor Boțan.
Doru Petruți, director general of the Sociological Research Company [imas], said the origin of the mass electoral phenomena should be searched during the last ten years because the number of phenomena that led to the constitution of voting motivation based on a lot of negative elements has increased considerably in the period. Moreover, in each elections there are standardized recipes designed to cause hysteria among the masses based on a simple social psychology mechanism: cohesion of a group depends on external threats. The more threatened and scared this is, the more proportionally will grow the cohesion and reaction of that group.
He noted that the messages and construct of the voting motivation by each party or candidate during the last ten years should be examined. “In Moldova, there are parties that are built on negative motivations to fight against someone. Technically, there are parties and candidates who in elections do not project a concrete plan that they follow, but want to remove a politician from power. This is a kind of “electoral drug” because the political strategists also ultimately choose the minimum effort to get more votes at fewer costs. Regrettably, this will not help as a medium- and log-term social game.
“Studies showed that we probably witnessed a round of elections where the motivation of the vote “against” reached cosmic proportions. The mobilization of the diaspora was secured based on the negative performance of a candidate. All the campaign elements aimed to mobilize the camps of voters and in the runoff the mobilization in the diaspora was fantastic and rather high at internal level,” stated the director general of [imas],.
Marc Mazureanu, specialist in comparable policies, international relations and propaganda, associated the whole electoral process during the last weeks before the elections with a football game in which there is a team or several teams that trained for a very long period of time, but have to show their performance in a very short period. “The teams realize well that if they play according to rules, they actually have chances of performance, depending on how they trained. But if they do not obey the rules, they have advantages. Respectively, the teams who want to obtain advantages disobey the rules of the game if no one sees or the referee is on their side and pretends not to be noticing. This works also in an election campaign,” stated the expert.
According to him, there is an interesting phenomenon analyzed in political sciences called “group narcissism”. This means that each group promotes the own interest regardless of the rational argument, while group cohesion increases when the group is attacked more intensely. “It means the concept of political bias materializes, when the person no longer perceives the reality in a rational way. The rational arguments are no longer accepted and considered and, respectively, in the election campaign there is no place for reasonable arguments that a politician can provide. The public is not ready to accept reasonable arguments. In a way, the politician is constrained to use methods based on emotions as the voters no longer want arguments. Then people had arguments until then and saw the politician’s behavior and his/her team’s behavior in the long run. In the electoral period, they wants a show and the political payers stage a show,” stated Marc Mazureanu.
The debate “And in the Morning They Woke Up” (by Vasiliy Shukshin). Politological, psychological and sociological aspects of the state of society after the presidential elections” as the 11th installment of the electoral series “We and the President: who elects who, who represents who” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.