Running for election person diving into water

Running in an election for political office is a series. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Running For the Right Reasons

Having the proper motivation is imperative. It is easier to motivate voters if you can connect with them. You will have to choose the message you want the voters to hear. Passion will drive a campaign, and it can fuel the race, but you will need substance. Know your audience and show them why they should vote for you.

If your message is in conflict with the majority of voters you have two possible outcomes. Either you are going to lose or convince them to your way of thinking. I always choose the latter.

Issues are your opportunity to sway voters. Realize that there are some issues we will never agree on, it is human nature. Where common ground lies are those of living wage, healthcare, education, environment. You should use those as a foundation to build a bridge to reach voters who are undecided.

How you plan to fund these programs, and most importantly, how is it going to impact their wallets?

The candidate that focuses on these common issues is the candidate that will be elected. Always remember it is about the people, not the party. Pushing a partisan agenda is one of many divisive tactics used today.  The people want representation, not representation of Wall St.

Your campaign staff should develop the strategy you want as your platform.

Are your reasons good enough for voters?

There are the “single issue” voters that are lost. Let them go. Voters who stand on a single issue like abortion, gun control, legalization of marijuana — or whatever the issue, and they do not agree with your position, are a waste of time. It does not matter if they agree with 99% of your platform. Even if you support universal healthcare and have the solution to reverse reverse climate change, if you are not on the right side of gun control, it is a lost voter. While not all single-issue voters are crazy, the crazies are often single issue voters. Campaigns have some casualties, learn to let the crazies go.

Show the voters that the party does not define you. Illuminate that it is the voters that define the party. The midterm election of 2018 is a perfect example of that belief. The people have spoken. It is clear the issues won the day and not the party. One thing is still very clear. With the largest voter turnout in recent history, only 50% of eligible voters let their voice be heard. There is a message there.

Only half of eligible voters across America determined the government we would have to enact our laws. There is room for vast improvement.

To that half of the voting population that abstained, impart the message that a revolution is built in to our Constitution. It is called the vote. If you can convince more people to vote, your chances of winning your election increase. The power of the people is stronger than the people in power. Elected officials work for them.

Running for Office: Take nothing for granted

One thing will happen to you during your campaign you aren’t going to like. People will lie to you. If you feel confident in what you are told, you can fall victim to over-confidence. People will tell you they liked what you had to say and they are going to cast their ballot for you. Do not take that to the bank. Continue to work hard for every vote. Some people will need to be contacted a few times.

Others need to feel important. Multiple contacts within a certain group makes them feel like they matter and are not just campaign pawns. Following through on promises made during those contacts. It is crucial you do so.

Staying up to date on current events and how it impacts voters is also important. When speaking to voters on the issues, it is imperative to impart how current events impacts their well-being, and that of their communities. Because you reside in the district, show how the issue affects you as well. This personalizes your campaign and offers a solution to the problems of the day.

Running for Office: What everyone can relate to

Family is the one thing that tugs at the heartstrings. Even the candidate that comes from foster care had someone to raise them and look after their well-being. Every voter has someone they consider to be Dad, Mom, brother or sister.

Make sure your reason for running includes supporting individual families. You understand not everyone comes from the same way of life. You understand not everyone has the same opportunities, blessings, abilities or skills that others have. None of us do, we are all different. In that difference we find commonality, a way to come together and unify.

Most importantly, as adults, we choose our family, and that is where we have the opportunity to exemplify the best in what you have been shown. Discard that what you know is detrimental, and harmful so you can embrace that which is nurturing.

This is the message every single voter can relate to. Are you able to convey it?

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Gene Smith

Gene Smith is a Chief Campaign Strategist living in Arizona. He is a Juris Doctor, Democratic Campaign Strategist, Elected Precinct Committee person, and Democratic State Committee Member. Currently, Gene serves on the Environmental Caucus.

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