How to Get Non-establishment Candidates Elected
One thing Tea Party and Liberty Action and Citizens for Liberty groups can learn from the 2016 election is that traditional methods of getting non-traditional candidates elected to office do not work. We in Colorado learned that when a wonderful candidate, Darryl Glenn, ran against U.S. Senate incumbent Michael Bennett, a Democrat and a loser, and lost.
Donald Trump was a non-traditional candidate who could afford to run his own campaign his own way and he did it with great skill. He started with Corey Lewandowski, a non-traditional campaign manager. He moved to Paul Manafort, a traditionalist who served as campaign manager for a brief time. He moved on to KellyAnne Conway who has a good balance of the two methodologies, understanding both traditional and non-traditional campaign strategies.
But what about non-traditional candidates who aren’t billionaires able to fund their own political campaigns? They need non-traditional candidate campaign managers who can get them known to voters without spending a lot of money – and they are non-existent. What an opportunity this presents to the Tea Party and other groups to learn about non-traditional candidates and how to get them elected and provide help to future constitutional populist candidates!
What does a non-traditional campaign manager (NTCM) know about getting someone elected that is missing from the handbook of a traditional campaign manager?
First, NTCMs understand they will not have access to Republican funding, especially for primary elections or general elections. RNC money will go to candidates selected and controlled by the RNC or State Republican Party, just as it always has. It’s how the Party controls candidates once elected to office. Traditional campaign managers are used to having access to money for advertising and large staffs. Non-traditional candidates do not have these luxuries. Hillary Clinton spent huge amounts of money on advertising and staff compared to Donald Trump.
Local candidates are not billionaires… and politics at the RNC level haven’t changed just because Donald Trump beat them at their own game. Trump’s ability to fly to campaign gatherings in his own plane was a huge advantage… but candidates for state office don’t have to fly coast to coast. They must drive from city to city. It’s a pain in the neck (butt) and it takes a lot of late night driving and one-night motel stays. But it can be and has been done.
I will keep reminding you that you will never gain any ground at changing the national political mess until you regain control of your local political structure. Actually, you get congrats from me on this topic because Republicans not only have majorities in the House and Senate and a Republican is now in the Executive office in Washington, D.C., they also have 35 governorships and dominate most state legislatures. You’re doing what needs to be done to take back our country from the socialists!
The biggest difficulty non-traditional candidates have is making sure voters who live in the cities in which they campaign know who they are and what their platform is. They need publicity to get their message out so voters can consider them serious candidates. How do you achieve that with limited funds?
1. Most NTCMs assume they will write fabulously interesting press releases and local reporters will publish/broadcast them. WRONG!
First, if your candidate is a Republican you will get no help from the local media most of whom are committed Democrats. Understand this: In America, there are 1,500 newspapers, 1,100 magazines, 9,000 radio stations, 1500 television stations and 2,400 publishers. Almost all of them are owned by these 6 corporations: General Electric, Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS. If you (or a mutual fund in which you are invested) owns stock in any of these companies, you are supporting companies that want to destroy the sovereignty of America.
Second, newspapers and television news are in business to publish… news. The fact that a political candidate comes (or is coming) to town is not necessarily news. Does the candidate have something to say that can be defined as news? Is it something that hasn’t been said and reported before? If so, it may be worth a paragraph or two… but if there’s an accident on the local freeway, that’s where reporters will go. Their job is local news.
All of the wonderful comments traditional campaign managers make in their press releases are viewed by the media as advertising, not news. And they are usually right. If you want to advertise, pay the price (which is what non-traditional candidates can’t afford to do). So what do you do to get your candidate known? How do you get the local newspaper and broadcast news to cover your candidate?
Rather than talking about things, non-traditional candidates must do things. What the candidate does is dependent on his or her issues.
Let’s use Donald Trump as an example. He supports better medical care for our veterans. He could have improved his approval ratings among both Republicans and Democrats had he talked less and… visited VA hospitals and talked with veterans about the care they receive. That’s news. It is worth coverage. It’s important to invite local reporters to accompany the candidate. It is also important to have carefully crafted questions to ask patients as well as VA hospital administrators. Not only does it get coverage, it strikes a chord with voters that this candidate really means what he or she says and is not just spouting words.
Donald Trump visited my Western Colorado home twice during his campaign. We have one of the best VA hospitals in the country. I have never heard a negative comment about it. He could have gained much support nationally by visiting the place for an hour, telling the public he wants to know what this hospital does that makes it so much better than other VA facilities. This kind of detailed communication must exist between the candidate and those working in counties in areas where candidates compete for votes — and publicity.
One of the first things you do once you establish people who volunteer to help your candidate get elected in various cities is create a questionnaire for volunteers to complete. Their answers should tell you about their city… what’s different about it, what government offices are located there, the average age of residents, etc. Pay attention to that information. Schedule publicity events (like visits to a VA Hospital) around those things that are part of the communities you visit. If a town has a large senior community, visit assisted care and hospice facilities, e.g. Talk with people. Ask them questions… ask them how you can help.
2. Spend your limited funds on things important to your base, not to you. For example, purchase (at a very low cost per copy) copies of the Constitution and pass them out at your campaign gatherings. By doing so, you make a statement about yourself that sticks with people.
Conservatives have three things in common: 1) They are constitutionalists; 2) They make decisions based on truth/facts; and 3) They support the Rule of Law that flows from the Constitution. They will love getting a copy of the Constitution to carry in their pockets or purses – especially if it has a brief message on page one from a political candidate.
3. Establish volunteers as committee chairmen and have them recruit four or five people to sit on those committees. What committees? What are your candidate’s issues? Use them pro-actively by establishing committees, one per issue.
top talking about the shameful Veterans Administration Hospitals and begin doing something about it. One suggestion was made above, but what else can you do?
Start with an 800 telephone number where vets in the state your candidate is running for office can call when they are not getting the quality care they have earned. Invite those who have received quality care to call, too. Create a questionnaire and have your Veterans committee volunteers contact those people having problems. Gather data (on computer). Report on results periodically. This is a very inexpensive exercise run by volunteers and offers maximum results. You will need a tech person to put it all together. Find a volunteer techie.
It is action rather than words. It is newsworthy. It gets your candidate known. Even more important, it positions your candidate as a person who takes action and makes it possible to reference your opposition as someone who talks but does nothing… takes no action on promises made.
If you are a law and order candidate (most conservatives are), recruit people who are known by the public to support the rule of law. You are surrounded by talent that can be put into action when you manage the campaign of a law and order candidate.
Have your law and order candidate coordinate volunteers in each county to answer an 800 number where all people of all races can report police abuse. Also invite those who have positive experiences with law enforcement to report what happened. This can be promoted on television and radio as public service announcements. Promise to look into negative incidents. Have volunteers contact those who make negative reports and create a questionnaire that will give your campaign information. Again, this is newsworthy. It gets your candidate known and is viewed positively by all members of the public, particularly minorities.
Does the candidate oppose gun control?
Establish a committee to coordinate a program with the National Rifle Association (if it has endorsed your candidate) to install an 800 number that accepts reports from people who have successfully used a firearm in self defense. Offer to share gathered data with the NRA.
Guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self defense. They are used 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than they are to kill or injure others. That word is not getting out to the people and it needs to be publicized. This is newsworthy and it provides information voters will appreciate.
Does the candidate support responsible spending?
Establish a committee and an 800 number where people can call and give their experiences with irresponsible government spending. Instead of writing press releases about what a wonderful candidate you are, have a release written about the input you’re getting from those who have experienced negligent over-spending.
Do you get the drift? There are a lot of issues (energy, debt, regulations, medical care, Medicare, elder abuse, banking, etc.) that provide positive ways to get publicity and which portray candidates as do-ers rather than talkers. There are a lot of positive, inexpensive ways to get publicity for a candidate and they strike a positive note with voters who read about it.
Voters like candidates who do rather than talk. Each committee is announced at different times (several stories about a candidate’s establishment of a committee is better than one story that announces all of the committees at once). And, reporting the information provided to the committees by the public also generates good publicity.
The final element in running a campaign to elect a non-traditional candidate involves email, Twitter and social media like FaceBook and LinkedIn. If you’re planning on running against an elected politician in 2018, you need to start now. If you want your Tea Party or Liberty Action or Citizens For Liberty group to be involved in getting good candidates elected, you should have started doing what I suggest herein two years ago.
Get lists of names of people who are likely to support you during a Primary election… that would include all registered Republicans and, depending on your issues, Libertarians. Your first investment should be the purchase of lists of registered voters likely to vote for you. Your volunteers’ first phone call to them should be to ask if they would like to receive your email updates and Twitters about the election, get their addresses, and ask for their help.
Get one or two supporters to have a give-away contest that is promoted via email and Twitter. Give away a good gun or ammunition. When people register, you will automatically get their email addresses if the contest is promoted via email. Give away a training class for conceal carry (please note that the gifts are on topics of interest to conservatives). Get a local restaurant to give a Friday night special dinner to those who register for it… email address required. Use your imagination, but get started gathering Twitter and email addresses.
And that’s how you get non-traditional conservative candidates elected to office. I would suggest you make sure the candidate is really conservative… Colorado Tea Party groups supported Corey Gardner and we got a neo-conservative who is half liberal. How to do that? That’s another article.
At the end of Part1(last week) I said Part 2 would be about getting non-traditional candidates elected and why it’s good news that Hillary Clinton did not become our first female U.S. President. I was more thorough in this material than I intended to be… so I hope you enjoy Part 3: Hillary and the Electoral College (and the idiot protesters). Hopefully I’ll get it done by next Sunday.
© 2016 Marilyn M. Barnewall – All Rights Reserved