недеља, 19. јул 2015.

About campaign

Through years of managing campaigns, I've learned a few truisms along the way.  I created none of these, but I swear by these seven rules and have not lost a campaign since adopting them.

1. It's not what you say.  It's what you're talking about

All campaigns are helped or hurt by certain issues. Your candidate may have the greatest answers on education, but if education is an issue that helps your opponent more than you, you're fighting a losing battle even bringing it up.  Start your campaign by defining which issues help your candidate, and don't talk about anything else.

The key is to make the race "about" one of your key issues.  List issues for your candidate and issues for your opponent.  If your race becomes about one of your opponent's issues, you lose.

2. Issues only matter if they define your candidate

Most voter polls show a great affinity for issues, but issues aren't an end in themselves.  Few votes actually turn on one issue. What voters mean by "voting on issues" is that they use the issues in a campaign to determine the character of a candidate.  If your candidate's issues can't be connected together and articulated in a theme, change them until you can.  You must give a clear, consistent and favorable definition of who your candidate is. People want to vote for candidates like themselves, and can forgive an issue difference here and there if the theme represents values similar to the voters.

3. Make them fight for their base

If someone aligned with your opponent is running in a simultaneous race nearby, find an issue that they disagree on and push it.  If not, do the same with positions contrary to his supporters. Chances are, your opponent doesn't want a lead story about how he is out of touch with his own side, and it reminds his donors and voters that your opponent isn't always on their side, either.  Make him waste time and money shoring up people in his base while you take the middle.

4. Better to say the same thing ten times then to say ten things once

Nothing frustrates a candidate more than giving the same answer a thousandth time, except maybe losing the race, which he most surely will if he doesn't.  When the candidate is sick of saying it, that's when people are beginning to listen to it.  Many times, campaigns are months of rehearsal for a week of performance.  Stick to your message no matter how boring it is for a candidate who loves the thought of knowing everything about everything.   It'll pay off when it counts.

Tie every Q&A to your general theme, and from there back to one of your key issues.  If a question is not in your candidate's key areas, answer it briefly - very briefly - and bridge back to your themes and a key issue of yours.  You can't articulate your theme too often.

5. Negative should not mean angry

Reagan was a master.  You can say very negative things with a smile and a shake of the head and not appear negative.  When voters say they hate negative politics, what they mean is they hate angry politics.  If your tone is positive and your look is upbeat, you can say things as negative as you want and voters will chuckle with you, and hate your opponent for being angry about it.

6. Never campaign to your base

Especially with paid media.  They'll turn out.  They'll vote for you.  They aren't going to switch parties because of your race.  I do not mean ignore them.  Invite them to your rallies.  Call them for advice.  Ask them to spend a day campaigning with your candidate.  But don't spend a dime of paid media reaching them or promoting issues mainly for their benefit.  Go for the middle, or make a stab at the opponent's base instead.

7. The kitchen table conversation

My test for any key campaign issue.  Do families discuss this at the kitchen table?  If not, don't run on it.  Your candidate may have a passion for realigning the bus routes downtown, but if a majority of voters don't care about it in their lives, they aren't going to begin caring during your campaign.  A campaign's job is not to educate voters about things they should care about, or to reach out to people who never voted and turn them into activists. A campaign's job is to reflect and address the concerns that voters already have.

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