Today however I read the newspapers about who's contesting which constituency. And when I took note of Ang Mo Kio GRC, my eyes opened a little wider and I said to myself, "Wow, what's happening here?". When I finished thinking about this, I felt thoroughly impressed. This is a brilliant piece of political strategy by the Workers Party.
The Workers Party is fielding a complete team of first-timers against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's team. Furthermore the Workers Party's team is the youngest GRC team in the entire elections. Four of them are below 30 years old, and one of them is just 31.
Suicide? Hardly. This shows a Workers Party team that is already planning for the future.
Any Opposition team that takes on PM Lee in Ang Mo Kio will lose. That's a given. So the Workers Party is fielding their freshest, youngest faces here. When they lose, it will be no disgrace. If they fumble and bumble, the public will say, "Oh well, they ARE so young, after all, and they are up against the PM himself." But what they will gain is valuable experience - and since they are so young, they potentially have many elections ahead of them (unlike, say Chiam or LKY) where that experience will come in useful.
Furthermore this team of young upstarts will get media exposure. These new faces - the future hope of the Workers Party - will get plenty of media exposure because the media cannot help but feature the Opposition team contesting against the PM himself. This is their chance to make themselves known to the public. Not for the sake of this election, but for the sake of future elections.
Also, simply by running in Ang Mo Kio, this team of Workers Party candidates will create a highly effective gauge of PM Lee's true popularity. These newbies are complete unknowns (unlike say James Gomez or Low Thia Kiang) and are therefore neither loved nor hated by the public at the present time. Votes for PM Lee are likely to be true votes for PM Lee (and not votes against the Opposition), while votes for the Opposition are likely to be really votes against PM Lee, rather than votes for the Opposition.
So PM Lee has nothing much to gain. If he wins by a landslide, people will yawn and say, "Well, he should. He IS the PM after all, and he was contesting against a bunch of kids."
And if PM Lee wins by anything less than a landslide, he will be publicly embarrassed.
By a bunch of kids.