Archives for Elections

The Four Rules to Winning an Election

winning an election

Do.  Not.  Get.  Sidetracked.

When it comes to winning an election or organizing for grassroots success, it’s not complicated.  It’s not some secret formula that you need to figure out or pay a lot of money for.

It’s pretty simple and straightforward.  In fact, the rules haven’t changed since this country first started holding elections.

The “rules” were spelled out best by someone who (at the time) was a little known congressman from Illinois who went on to get himself elected President, (shortly before hiring a general who burned my hometown to the ground, but I’ll let it go…).

The four rules to winning an election are:

  1. Obtain a complete list of voters
  2. Determine how they will vote
  3. Contact the favorable voters
  4. Get your voters to the polls

In other words, start with the outer rings of the target and work your way down towards the bulls-eye.  When it comes to summarizing the basics of a get-out-the-vote strategy, you can’t do much better than that.

Of course there are a number of other elements to campaigning, but they don’t really matter very much if you don’t do the basics.  No matter how much modern technology may change “how” things are done, the fundamentals still apply.

These rules don’t just apply to campaigns, but they also apply to successful grassroots political organization in general. You start with those who are registered to vote, identify those who agree with you, provide them with the information they need, and get them to take action when it’s necessary.

Successful campaigns and organizations adopt and apply these rules to effectively mobilize supporters at the local level.

No matter what kind of election or issue-based campaign you’re working on, don’t let yourself get sidetracked.

Do the basics. You’ll be glad you did.


Get more useful grassroots tips in the “Grassroots 101 Training Series

Ten Trump Election Lessons

Donald TrumpThere are always lessons that we can learn from the results any election, but when one is the most stunning upset in US political history we really need to pay attention. Here are the first lessons that come to mind:

1) Money isn’t what it used to be. Trump won spending about five dollars per vote…half of what Hillary spent. That’s not to say that money doesn’t matter. It helps you communicate and organize. But this totally upends what the “smart people” who try to get big donors to waste millions of dollars constantly tell us.

2) Free media matters! And being able to go above the media with your own outlets matters too. (See #1)

3) Being politically incorrect won’t kill you. Hopefully other candidates will learn to take off the political correctness filter. Don’t be so buttoned down and afraid of the media. Channel what your target voters are thinking. And doing so can get you free media. (See #2)

4) Staying on message matters…a lot. Because the “message” matters. This one speaks for itself.

5) Republicans don’t have to pander to win (repeat…Republicans don’t have to pander to win). Note that Trump got a higher percentage of the black, Hispanic and Asian vote than Romney did…using a message that the “smart people” (who showed us how to lose) said would kill us with minorities. A blue-collar, middle-America message appeals across racial lines.

6) Evangelicals are a growth market. Trump got a higher share of evangelicals (81%) than Romney, McCain or Bush…and there are tens of millions more that still don’t vote. It’s the second most loyal demographic – and the largest pool of untapped votes – in American politics. Keep in mind that any real growth that we will ever see among minority groups will come from those sitting in church somewhere on Sunday mornings. That means that religious liberty issues matter.

7) The Rust Belt is the GOP’s presidential future. I’ve been saying this for years. The future of our winning/keeping the presidency lies in combining most of the South with the Rust Belt; meaning blue-collar voters and Catholics (of which Trump won 52% nationally). And they don’t like globalism and open borders.

8) Yes, nationalism can win – and that’s a good thing. And yes, it can “co-exist” with conservatism – especially given the fact that a large percentage of self-identified real world conservatives (not ivory tower egg-heads) also subscribe to an America First (i.e. “nationalist”) message. The pharisaical, legalistic “conservatives” who claim that true conservatism = globalism will lead us to nothing but a further divided, less successful conservative movement and party. (See #7)

9) We can see shadows of realignment. While not a technical electoral realignment by political science standards, this was the leading edge of one, seeing us win states that we haven’t carried since Reagan was on the ballot. This “message” (and even better messengers) can expand that market and bring about a real political realignment for the Republican Party. Not to try would be political malpractice. (See #8)

10) Successful politics is about addition and multiplication. And that starts with unity. Now is our opportunity to bring new people in and build something bigger than what we had.

I’m sure other lessons will become self-evident (or may be right now), but these are some that Republicans should take to heart.  Pass it on!

HOW to Create Your Own Endorsement List

endorsement listHow many times has someone asked who you plan to vote for in any given election? Better yet, how many times have you been asked “who should I vote for?” Probably more than once.

Of course you’re not the only one. People who are truly paying attention to politics tend to get more than just one vote in any given election, since they influence the votes of others around them.

Many people put VERY little thought into which candidates they will vote for when (or if) they go to the polls. Many will vote for the candidates with the highest name recognition, or the last yard sign they saw on the way to the polls. Some vote for the candidate who sent them the slickest mail pieces, or who called them on the phone or maybe even knocked on their door. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they know anything about those candidates that really matters. They just don’t have much else to go on.

That’s where your endorsement comes in. It’s the political equivalent of “word of mouth” advertising.

If you don’t believe it works, just look at the business world. Think about the products you buy, or don’t buy, or the movies you do or don’t see simply because of what someone told you. Or the books or other products you did or didn’t buy because of the reviews that they got on the internet. It’s the same thing with elections.

So why not take things to the next level and anticipate the question? Create an endorsement list and make it easy for people to know exactly who you recommend.

Creating an endorsement list is as simple as 1-2-3.

1) List each position that will be on the ballot and which candidates you support.

If you want, you could even get into “why” you support them with a brief sentence or two about each candidate, or just an overall statement at the beginning of the list about what you look for in candidates and that you feel that these candidates meet that standard.

2) Give it a title and personalize it.

Something like: “Suggested Conservative Candidates for (election year or name of the election)”, or just “Jim’s Campaign Endorsements” (if your name is Jim). You can add your name and a way to reach you if people have any questions and want to get involved in any way.

3) Share it!

Email it to everyone in your address book (that the election applies to). Post if on Facebook. Share a link to it on Twitter. Encourage others to share it. Even better, encourage other solid conservatives that you know to create and share a list of their own.

The point is that YOU have more influence on the people that you know than campaigns do – and many people will vote for a candidate simply because you suggested that they should.

Keep in mind that most people put little thought into their votes beyond the candidates that are at the top of the ticket, (who are probably running the most TV and radio ads). This means that your suggestions carry even more weight in “down ballot” races, (such as state senate and house campaigns, county or city council and school board campaigns). Even more so during special and/or local elections that are held at different times that federal elections.

Don’t make it easy for people to cast an uninformed ballot. Your recommendations can make a difference. Share them!