September 12, 2014

Today is the aftermath. Expect to get the blowback, if any. The feeding frenzy in the media will slow to as the news is digested.

The strategy of today is to revise the platform, read through the budget, set a list of topics and draft out position papers, pull and salvage old political stuff for recycling where possible, and create a list for the press and supporters to ensure mailing.

A platform serves as a basic document of the campaign. It needs to be clear, simple, thoughtful, and true to the candidate. If you don’t believe it, you can’t defend it, and you will always get caught off base. For most candidates, the best advice is to write your own documents. It is pretty hard not to remember what you wrote down and it is difficult to trip you up if you know what you wrote. Sounds simple. It is.

It is always a great idea to be familiar with the documents that you will need to promulgate as a candidate. Get a copy of these documents. Learn them and they will be an asset, especially in a debate situation when you show a command of what has been happening. Also, you may find a fact or two which will slip up the opponent.

Too often there is not much thought by the actual candidate. This is where they are dependent on their staff. The more dependent on the staff, the less they personally know. Work on obscure, yet relevant, portions of the opponent’s platform. Their lack of knowledge, especially of their own documents, is their Achilles heel.

The fractious nature of the electorate needs to be addressed. It is time to point out that the two staunchly opposed giants are both wrong and that they are dividing rather than unifying. This split is always available, but in certain cases, the split is large. That split will allow for a third party candidate to work on the middle instead of the fringes.

There are always two edges, but the answer is often not found on either end. Work to fashion a workable compromise that doesn’t defy common sense. An example would be the issue of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

Think about the topic. List the arguments for and against. You will quickly see that the true answer to the issue lies in the middle. Here’s the example:

Pros
Documents drivers in case of accident
Provides authorities with database
Gets the illegal immigrant out of the shadows

Cons

Provides an illegal immigrant with legal identification
Creates a potential hit list for deportation authorities
Gives a legal status for flaunting immigration laws

By looking at the pros and cons, there are obvious overlaps. An astute politician looks at this and sees that he or she can raise money and support by division. Support the pro side, get pro money. Support the con side, get con money. In real world politics, money is indeed the mother’s milk. The idea is to take a side and rake in the cash and support.
This is probably the biggest problem with politics. The divide is good for fund raising, but not so good for making public policy.

Think about it, the best policy would be to document drivers to ensure control, but to do so, you would have to provide a form of identity which rewards the illegal entry into the United States. It is obviously a good idea to have drivers licensed and responsible, but it is also ridiculous to allow parity with those who are legal citizens in that it thwarts national sovereignty.
The answer is in the middle. Documents, not licenses, should be issued. It actually solves the problem. It provides identification in accidents, allows for transportation safety, yet falls short of giving a valid identification similar to those issued. While the argument would then turn to how the “different license” would automatically call attention to their illegal immigration status, this could be overcome by issuing them international driving permits, not identifying them or their immigration status.

Hmmm. Sound logical, right? Well the beauty of being a third party candidate is that you can see this logical solution and you are in a position to exploit it. In this campaign, the divide provides funding for both of the opponents. Finding a solution to the problem means not motivating the base.

Democrats have taken the position with the illegal immigrants. Republicans have taken the position of national sovereignty. Both get money and support for their defense of equally ridiculous positions. Neither is interested in solving the problem.
By providing a logical, common sense approach as a third party candidate is almost a no-brainer in that it speaks to both sides and takes the best points from both sides of the argument. Having a logical intelligent than your opponent (especially where carrying other’s water means you have to defend even the most inane positions).

LESSON FOUR – Recognize where your opponent has a committed position based on funding of the opponent’s campaign. You are free to fashion the logical solution where they cannot. Exploit this in position papers and in any public appearance when you are with the opponent. They need to protect their cash cows and so they will almost always take the bait. Also, with a common sense solution at hand, they are put on the defensive.

It seems obvious that almost any issue can be put through this analysis. In crafting a solution, you look far better than an entrenched candidate in that you are respected for your solution, get to exploit the opponent’s myopia, and have little downside.

Never avoid conflict but always have a logical solution (or be prepared to make such an analysis on the spot). The lack of money in your campaign is the trade off for taking alienating positions. If you don’t use your inherent strength, you will suffer from their abundance of campaign funding.

A logical common sense solution can always be defended by citing the glaring absurdities of the other extreme. There will always be entrenched opposition, but they can be rendered impotent by just highlighting the extreme arguments of the other side.

For example, if Raimondo states she wishes to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, you simply ask, “What about the fact that there was a violation of the law on immigration that is being ignored?”. If Fung states he is against any licensing of illegal immigrants, the question is “So, if a person is in an accident with an unlicensed driver, what happens?”. It is a win-win.
When you are accused of straddling the fence on the issue, remind people of the logic of your position and the illogical parts of not doing what you advocate. It is difficult to lose these types of arguments. The die-hards from either side may never agree, but most people want a solution instead of a fight that fails to finally address a problem.

If you need to see a more complex use of this, check out the analysis in my writings related to immigration reform in which I propose the use of an X-Visa. (Although this is largely a federal issue, my thoughts on an X-Visa are found on this site in a position paper).

Enough of strategy, it is time to turn to organization. The first piece of advice is to create a daily to-do list. Listing of daily obligations helps the organization. Having a list makes it less likely that you will forget to make a call back, send some information to a request, or just know when you will have a few moments for self time.

Today’s list for me includes a compilation of a media contact list, determination of several issues that will require a written draft, finalize the computerization of the campaign, and work on other matters so as to clear the deck for the remainder of the campaign.

Years ago I would simply compile the list out of the telephone book. This is now an outdated option, and, probably never was the best method. Contact is always number one. Make an effort to reach out directly to each member of the media. They may have questions and at the very least you can stroke their ego in that you are personally asking them to verify their contact information. Don’t waste the opportunity.

Final thought of the day is that not everyone will be “with you”. Don’t let bad coverage ruin your life. Think along the lines of, “when given lemons, make lemonade”. News cycles are brief. Don’t let them derail you.

Oh yeah, another thought, don’t let bad coverage influence your decisions as to where your position papers get distributed. Treat all media fairly and never make an attempt to ostracize your nay sayers. They may not like you, but they should always be informed as to your position. If you have a good position, let them attack it in that you can defend it.

And, never forget to return a phone call. This is just plain rude, shows disrespect or fear, and creates a bad impression. If you have a good reason, then it needs to be expressed when you call with your apology. The only reason to avoid calls would be to use the time to think about an issue that is evolving. It is better to wait, formulate a reply or position, then call a bit late. Very few matters are of such an importance that you cannot think for an hour or two. Calling with the position “Let me think about this” is of no use. Avoid it. Reporters are doing a job. Useless phone conversations are not appreciated.

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