Monday, August 1, 2016

How to Defend Yourself and Win a Political Campaign

Campaigning: What I Taught Students…
I taught college level Communication in Society for a while, and one section covered political campaigning and defending yourself politically—which today you should find both amusing and troubling how little has changed since I taught this. Amazing, both major parties run a "how to win a campaign" school, I will include the links later. Here are a few tips on campaigning.

First decide what the issues are, but note that it has to be an existing and well-known issue. Campaign time is not the time to bring up a new issue or establish a new need because it wastes your campaign money on educating the public. The campaign should build your image—good person, dedicated, hard-working, etc.—and reinforce the existing issues (such as immigration, defense, healthcare, education, etc.)

Rules for addressing an issue.
  1. There must be an existing need at issue (such as we need money for education)
  2. If need is at issue, avoid the issue (the need must already be established).
  3. Where need is already established, occupy ground (scream about it loud, scream long, scream first).
  4. Don't put forth a plan unless forced to do so, and then only if your plan is foolproof (because any plan will certainly be attacked by the other campaign).
  5. If you put forth a plan and are attacked, you can't back down without looking weak, indecisive or stupid (you must defend your plan no matter what, see rule #4).
Attacking an issue.
Keep pointing to the need for your opponent to address the issue. Force your opposition to put forth a plan, then attack their plan. Question if their plan will work or cause more problems than it fixes.

Four Steps to Defend Yourself Politically
There are four steps to defending yourself politically, if you do all four steps and it doesn't work, keep repeating them in order until it does. Note that political attacks that use personal issues can produce a smear campaign that doesn't look like a smear campaign (after all, we're just telling you the truth). It has been said that President Nixon followed these four steps exactly:
  1. Defense of facts:
    A. I did not do it. ("I did not have sex with that woman")
    B. How could we have done anything if nobody knew it was a problem?
  2. Defense by definition: 
    A. It is not a bribe, it is a gift. (It depends on how you define "is")
    B. It was a national security issue, we couldn't tell the truth without tipping off the enemy.
  3. Defense by justification:
    A. Yes we did it, but national defense was at stake.
    B. Somebody had to do something, so that's what we did.
  4. Defense by procedure:
    A. Right or wrong, we must protect the Presidency
    B. Executive privilege, nobody else has the right to know about it.
We also taught about a system that took a candidate from 12th place up to 2nd place in just a few weeks. It was shocking that for this system to work, it required the candidate to listen and respond to a broad range of constituents.

Here are some links on the campaigning schools and info:

Republican campaign school: This one appears to be operated by the Republican party directly. 

This one appears to be operated by consultants whose client list is all liberal/progressives.

Campaign planning manual: Claims to be for any campaign across the globe, you decide.