I’m intrigued by Kim Dotcom’s announcement of earth-shattering revelations to be made on 15 September – just 5 days out from the last voting day of this general election.
Many people have expressed their doubts – though Laila Harre does have a point when she says KDC hasn’t really been proven wrong so far (that mysterious “sitting electorate MP” story notwithstanding.) But until we know for sure – and only KDC and possibly John Key really know for sure – there’s definitely potential for his announcement to shift things just that tiny amount required to dethrone the National-led government.
However, the timing is really odd. If Dotcom really has a gamechanging revelation on his hands, why leave it so late?
It’s especially weird in an election year where multiple campaigns are underway to maximise early voting and voter turnout. The September 15 town hall meeting will happen 12 days in to the voting period, at a time when – if everything goes to plan – a large number of people will already have cast their ballots.
Admittedly, the Get Out and Vote and RockEnrol turnout campaigns are focused on progressive/leftwing and young voters (categories which overlap with each other to some extent.) Perhaps the target of Dotcom’s revelations are softer National-leaning voters who won’t be getting doorknocked or called and prompted to vote early.
But if there is a big smoking gun, and National know it, and they now know that they have until 15 September to get those soft voters out before their minds can be changed – well, we can expect to see them ramping up a turnout campaign of their own fairly shortly. So why give them the chance?
It could be that there are practical restraints on the timing. Perhaps some legal injunction expires on the 14th, or the data’s encrypted with an Agents of SHIELD-style time-locked code, or the sun has to rise in the exact spot for its light to pass through an ancient crystal and reveal the location of the Ark.
The devious option is that there isn’t much there, and the long buildup to a short finale is designed to maximise the amount of media time Dotcom and the Internet Party get, and minimise the amount of time for the revelations to be debunked before the last voting day.
The absurdist option is that 15 September was the only free date they could get the Auckland Town Hall.
Whichever it is, Kim Dotcom is back in the news again, and I’m determined to see this as a good thing – because we know that interesting election races get higher turnout, and high turnouts are good for democracy.
(And yes, they’re also good for the left.)