Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to run an electoral campaign

If anything is to be learned from watching the Republic candidates compete for the nomination this year, it is how not to run electoral campaigns.  If your own party can't stand half of what is going on in the campaigns, it should tell you something.

I am not going to sit here and lecture about the mistakes, or point out the various ways to alienate your base voters and, etc.  Rather I intend to lead by example.

Last week, I stated some of the things that I would like in an ideal candidate.  Today, I am going to take it to another level -- apply those ideals specifically to a campaign.

Some things that I would like to see from a campaign:

  • Openness - This goes hand in hand with honesty.  A candidate should run their campaign unafraid of any question.  I understand not going into the absurd and some limits regarding decency, but in general I think a candidate should be able to field any question on any subject.  How hard is it to say "I don't know"?  I think that campaigns have become so fearful of negative sound bites and managing how they appear in the press that they loose that open channel of communication with the voters.  This is 2011 - we have the Internet, social networks, and multimedia tools you would not believe.  People expect communication.  They also are beginning to realize that anything can be edited or "PhotoShopped".  If you are limiting communication with the voters out of fear of what the press or the other side would do with a bad sound bite or moment, get over it.  It will happen regardless or someone will simply use digital magic to fake one.
  • Engagement - Not this fake manufactured social network stuff most of the candidates have, lets see some engagement with people.  We aren't far enough into the campaign to see somethings the candidates should do yet, but why do all of the campaign websites seem the same.  They all have some issues sections, videos, contact us, donate to us, the requisite Twitter and FaceBook sections.  Some are better than others, but I feel it can go further still.  Not sure completely how yet, but I am getting some ideas now.  I will share those on here at a later time.
  • Ethics and Religion - Let us not beat around the bush (no pun intended),  Everyone has a belief system and values to some extent.  Why is that not out in front?  If you truly believe something, it wouldn't be hidden.  I understand the tendancy to keep it to the back, or to honor this flawed application of "Seperation of Church and State" that many seem to want to do.
A short list?  Maybe.  There are others, but lets start there as they are big ones.

Now lets take this to the next level.  Someone once said that the only candidate who you can completely agree with is yourself -- and sometimes you may not agree with yourself!  Still, I want to take this lead-by-example aproach to a logical conclusion.

So, it is in this spirit that I invite questions.  Ask away.  Treat me as if I were one of the presidential candidates and ask any question on any subject.  I know that invites trouble, but the only dumb question is the one not asked, correct?  I will feel free to say "I don't know", or other such statements - you feel fee to ask.

And, as always on this blog, I reserve the right to change my mind.