Game of Thrones begins a new season this Sunday. Many of us, as well as our political friends, family and clients, are fans of the show, with good reason. It’s politics played to an extreme.
“Winter is coming.”
There’s never enough time, and we can’t create more. Winning campaigns will recognize time as their most valuable resource and use it effectively and efficiently. That includes having plans in place for key early campaign tactics like voter ID and voter registration programs. A well-planned voter ID program can make time spent going door-to-door more valuable and more effective. Knowing voters also allows you to target your later direct mail and mobile advertising flights more effectively and deliver the specific messages those voters want to hear. Ensuring supporters are registered to vote sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many campaigns miss this step and fail to activate a voter registration program before registration deadlines hit. Don’t make the mistake of thinking time is on your side. It’s not. November is coming.
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
You are either going to win or lose. It’s that simple. You can’t campaign for 2nd place, so be decisive. Stay on message. Hire a good team early on and ensure they are working together to deliver a cohesive message. Get a logo and a tagline. Take a professional, well-designed website live with thoughtful content. Establish a social media presence. Hire your team (remember, Campaign Hunter is there to help.) Surround yourself with good people who can help you craft a solid plan. Then execute, all eyes on Election Day and the win.
“Forgive a debt? My father? For a man of the world, you’re strangely naive.”
Know your opponent, and don’t underestimate them. One of the best pieces of advice we give any client is to do the research, but not just on their opponents. They need to do research on themselves. That’s right. We advise clients to look at themselves under a bright light and prepare for any and all scenarios. Some of the worst hits come out right before Election Day, often when it’s too late to respond. Be prepared.
“First lesson: stick them with the pointy end.”
That brings us to attacks. If you’re going to go negative, go negative. Don’t try to be nice while you try to bring your opponent down. Voters may complain about the state of politics today, but facts are, negatives are effective. You just have to do them right. At Majority Strategies, our brand of attacks often rely on humor and wit. We don’t soften the attack, we just frame it in a way that draws the reader in versus turning them off.
“A Lannister always pays his debts.”
You’ve got to do the work. There is no easy way to win an election. You have to get out and knock on doors. You have to make phone calls. You have to attend events. You have to raise money. You have to work to win, and you need to work smart. There are only so many hours in the days leading up to Election Day. Use your time wisely. One of the elected officials we knew and admired would call ten random voters every morning, just to say “hello,” touch base and keep pulse of the community. I guarantee you those calls were remembered and part of why he has easily remained in office for many years.
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Trust the people you’ve hired to help you. We talked about the do’s and don’ts of hiring a political consultant here. Your consultant wants you to win, you have to know that. If you feel otherwise, you’ve hired the wrong person. You have to trust him or her to lead you on the right path, with the right message delivered via the right mediums. A trusted and experienced consultant will work with your budget and target your dollars where they need to be spent. Trust them and the plan they’ve put together for you. Second-guessing late in the game will only get you second best on Election Day.
“You will never walk again. But you will fly.”
–The Three-Eyed Raven
A loss isn’t final. You can run again, and most candidates do. Here’s what you can do in the meantime to better position yourself for the next go-around. Attend party events, like Lincoln Day dinners. You’ll meet active and energetic supporters and build your name ID among the GOP establishment. Get active in the community. Perhaps you are already on local boards and commissions and volunteering. Do more. Building relationships is key to success. Don’t be a wallflower – make your voice heard on the issues. Get out there and become an authoritative voice on the important issues of the day. There’s plenty you can do between the day after Election Day and the filing deadline for your next race to build a stronger foundation for your next run.
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