Think About It - Primary Colors - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

August 18, 2014

Think About It - Primary Colors

So now that the primary election is finally over, what have we learned? Well, first of all, many pundits saw the very foundations of Hawaii's Democratic Party political norm rocked as an incumbent governor lost and many other well-known names went down to defeat in high-profile intra-party races. It would be overly simplistic to generalize about major themes realized in this primary, but one thing did seem clear in looking at the results in at least a few of the high-profile races.

A number of candidates who some might suggest have been known to be confrontational, forceful, strong-willed, intransigent, dogmatic, or just simply tough, got beaten by opponents who were not as well-known or well-funded, but who came across as more conciliatory, amenable, and consensus-minded. Everyone wants their politicians to be practical, sensible, and to represent us well, but we are apparently OK with that "quiet but effective" side, to borrow a well-known campaign slogan of four-time former governor, George Ariyoshi.

Sometimes, personality does matter as much if not more than policy for many voters, especially when the race is within the same party. It's about style of communication, it's about making a difference without leaving the impression that people had to get hurt or belittled along the way. It's about how you say it as much as it is about what you say, like it or not. Politics is surely about making tough decisions and alienated some people along the way, but it's also about how those decisions are made and communicated. As we now move on to the general election, style points will once again be an important factor as candidates from opposing parties try to convince us that they will be the positive difference makers in our future. Think about it…

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