Normal is the new radical, says E&M editor Jurek Wötzel! Or at least in politics, where entertaining the public has become more important than keeping one’s integrity. Read more to discover how a group of enlightened politicians have come up with a plan to save democracy.
A new political party is forming in the capitals of Europe, and it carries a radical agenda. Good Politics’ main promise is to put an end to “lesser-evil” elections and appoint candidates that voters might genuinely support. By introducing more mechanisms of accountability and making politicians listen to voters’ interests, Good Politics hopes to change the political landscape in the years to come.
“We know that our vision is hard to incorporate into existing social norms, but we believe that in the long-run, people may become open to the idea of competent politicians”, Good Politics head officer for the Netherlands Jeroen tells us. “Right now, most voters are sceptical of parties that let good politicians run. They always believe something must be wrong with them, which in their eyes makes them worse than candidates that are openly terrible.”
His French colleague, Marianne adds, “It will take a good bit of work to convince people that their leaders may actually work in their interests, an idea that has been completely abandoned throughout the last decades.” Good Politics’ new vision is that presidential candidates should speak to their electorate before the elections, and must promise to do what they promised to do. “By making our politicians promise that they will keep their promises, we just want to add another layer of trust for voters.”
We know that our vision is hard to incorporate into existing social norms, but we believe that in the long-run, people may become open to the idea of competent politicians
Not everyone supports Good Politics’ entry to the political arena, though. Conservative politicians all across Europe see in Good Politics an attack on European values. “They want to take away people’s freedom to elect someone that lies to them,” Maximus Greedball, leader of the EPP argues. “Plus, holding politicians accountable for what they say will just result in more and more bureaucracy. And finally, I just don’t have time to speak to voters when I have meetings with people that are truly important, such as lobbyis…. uuhhhh, think tanks and interest groups.”
Sirius Saltbag, chair of the research project “Can white people ever be forgiven?” joins the choir of Good Politics’ critics. “Good Politics shouldn’t think that effective policy can make up for imperfect intersectional representation. Voters want their candidates’ profiles to be right rather than be told complicated policy gibberish. Putting policy first is simply a tool of the privileged to continue oppressing marginalised groups”, Saltbag argues.
It appears that Good Politics will have a long way to go. Currently, voters at large seem to reject the idea of voting for politicians that work in their favour. In a recent survey, 87% of Europeans named lying and deception as one of the most important characteristics in a politician. And 83% thought that elections are funnier when politicians can make empty promises. A difficult terrain for the visionaries of Good Politics.
That doesn’t stop people like Jeroen and Marianne to pursue their path. “We know that Trump’s presidency was great banter. I checked my Twitter everyday to see his tweets. It’s actually what my therapist recommended to me as a non-chemical anti-depressant,” Marianne tells us. Still, they firmly believe they can convince people that politics is indeed a serious matter, rather than theatre and comedy. “We think we can show people that politics is actually what shapes their lives. Currently, to them it’s just like another late-night TV show with a terrible cast – that shouldn’t be the case,” Jeroen asserts.
For the upcoming elections in Germany, however, Marianne and Jeroen don’t see any potential for Good Politics. “Right now, Germans are enjoying themselves with three hilarious candidates,” says Jeroen. “It will take at least a couple of years to make everyone understand that taking the piss out of politicians isn’t all that counts.” Yet, both of them are hopeful that in 2022 in France, they might give it a shot, and send a good politician into the race for the first time.