One of the politicians who is unbelievable popular in Flanders is Bart De Wever, who is president of the NVA. Opponents are just jealous on his popularity and whatever they do, apparently it does not affect his popularity at all, at the contrary he gets even more popular.
One of the leading scientists on influence is Robert Cialdini and he detected 6 key elements that unconsciously come into play when it comes to influence.
Let me explain all six of them and use these 6 elements to see how Mr De Wever is using them, consciously or unconsciously to his favor.
All the people I have met that I asked whether they thing Bart De Wever is a nice guy, tend to think so. He publicly admits that his greatest opponent is a gently man (Mr Di Rupo, who is now the prime minister in Belgium). He likes Mr Di Rupo, but he totally disagrees about the solutions he stands for.
This way of reacting to your opponent is highly Emotional Intelligent, because it presupposes that you are able to make a difference between who someone is and what her/his ideas are.
This capability asks for empathy, political awareness and a large portion of self confidence, 3 elements that are highly present for Bart.
2.Fear for loss.
This is the core of his message. Flanders will lose on all domains, it will lose money, autonomy, recognition, respect, etc. He tends to focus on what people will lose in stead of what people can win. People are in general more motivated by what they can lose than by that what they can win and Bart apparently knows and uses that!
3.The truth are we.
He benefits largely by the fact that already a big part of the Flemish people are willing to vote on his party. The newspapers are playing a huge role. The more they publish results that a large portion of the Flemish people can think of voting for this party, the more, uncounsciously, people will start to think: ” If so many people can think that they can vote for NVA, then it has to be ok that I vote for him/his party too!”
He interacts a lot on popular shows on television, just to become more acquainted for everybody. The more he gets into this connection, the more likely people will start to know him, like him and finally trust him. The more people will do that, the more the “crowd knowledge” will become obvious for everyone, even more stressing that voting for NVA ok.
4.Commitment and consistence
This is one thing Bart plays every day. He just repeats himself and he stays consistent ALL THE TIME. Consistency helps people in assessing other people. One of the tools he uses to destroy his opponents is playing with how inconsistent they are. Other parties try to blame the NVA too for inconsitent behaviour, but are really hopeless in their attempts.
Bart also exploits the fact that other parties behaved differently towards his party in the past and blames others for treason of what they promissed to do together with the NVA. This really has a great effect on the other parties.
No-one in Belgium or in Flanders blame Mr De Wever of being stupid. Even his greatest opponents praise him of being an intellectual man, which obviously gives him a lot of credit, even for things he should not be credited for. It gives him the aura of having it all well arranged before, playing the political stratego at his best.
6.Give and take.
The old game of give and take, searching for compromise is the one thing his party can not be praised for. Up till now his party was not able to give enough to the others in order to be able to take back some time.
His party will vote together with the other parties in the government when laws have to be voted for that would support the programm of the NVA. So I am very curious in how the NVA will use that for their support in the future.
We have therefore to conclude that for 5 of the six key elements in influence, Mr De Wever scores very high. Knowing this, it is hardly to believe that other political parties or personalities do not use these techniques in order to gain some voters back that are massively transferring to the NVA.
Lets compare Mr De Wever with some of his opponents(in the past and in the future)