The campaign is reaching a critical mass. It is not there yet, but it is moving closer and closer.
The election is roughly four weeks away. The attention of the public is beginning to focus on the races and the candidates. This is a most treacherous period in that mistakes can prove costly.
Spot battles will be waged to take small hills as the forces amass to a few greater clashes on that will usually commence within the last two weeks of the campaign. Plan accordingly. The rah-rah glory of a campaign will be tested.
Hone your skills and stay loose. A mindset will be need shortly, but not at this moment. There is simply movement along the front.
Having small testing spats over issues is just a manner of determining the strength of the opponent.
While the tendency to release large barrages is tempting, it may be better to hold back one’s heavy materials. Wait for the opponent to commit to a vulnerable position. It is a small game of waiting patiently yet intently.
If you plan to have an explosive issue, the best method of determining its usefulness is to play it out in a small audience. Talk about the issue, but do not use it all. It will come in quite useful in a debate, especially if the opponent steps into an uncomfortable place.
Having test flown the idea will give you a sense of confidence when presenting it. You will have an internal sense of how it flew. Don’t think it will work the same with a general audience if you have only exposed it to those sympathetic with your viewpoint.
By this time you should have vetted your opponents and you should know their capabilities. Do not enter into a routine pattern at this time. Randomness is a good tool to a third party or independent candidate.
All campaigns leak water and there are always people who will report information. Consider using disinformation, especially if you think someone is acting as a double agent. Similarly, take any incoming information with a higher degree of skepticism.
Attempt to keep the campaign relevant and to hold your place in the public discussion, but do so with even more aforethought.
Third party and independent candidates, adequately armed, have a distinct advantage in public debate in that they are largely speaking with a more realistic and sincere message. It can be heard above the din of the party .
Exploit opponent’s missteps, not to necessarily win a round, but to keep the opponent focused away from where you are planning to strike.
Since you are operating a moneyless campaign, attempt to defuse issues before they explode. For example, you know that in the last ten days of a major campaign, if you have made inroads, you will be hit with an extensive negative ad campaign. Do not underestimate paid ads. They work.
Without funds to retaliate you will be rendered impotent, that is, unless you have established a base of supporters who will personally address the issues they have raised against you and unless you have been beating the drum to warn people of what to expect.
Negative ads can be rendered useless if before they run, you have warned people sufficiently of this tactic to be used by the opponent. It costs you nothing to add the line “and my opponents will counter my threat through negative ads, which will probably work”.
You know they are more than likely to use this tactic, given their funds, and it will still work, but it will only work on less of the population. Additionally, when they do run, you can take an ‘I told you they would make this desperate move’ position. You have put them in a bind. To not run them would be beneficial to you. To run them would be beneficial to you.
Having been warned to watch for them, the public will not only see through them, they will find a certain pride in recognizing that they are being conned.
The bottom line is that strategy doesn’t just materialize. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Often you will find yourself asking why you waited so long before making a move. The bottom line is that you have planned your campaign wisely, do not take it personally if you fail. At the very least, you had a plan.