06 September 2005

What It Takes to Win an Election

As I have found out in the past, it takes more than a message to win an election. I tried that approach last year, and did shockingly well. Earning six percent in a five-way race is quite a feat! But it wasn't a victory. Lessons learned, indeed.

I spent a sizable amount of money (to me at least), nearly $500 in donations from various friends and my own pocket. The Lions Club Fair in New Palestine, walking the 4-H Parade, participating in candidate forums and various meet-n-greets, walking neighborhoods were all part of trying to get my name out. But I didn't really have a name recognition to everyone in the county. Sure I got some attention from the local paper as a "third-party" candidate. I got attention because I was 23. I got attention because I was forcing the Republicans and Democrats to give my words serious consideration.

Right now, serious and legitimate local Libertarian candidates should start their campaigns (e.g. County Council/Commissioners). Get those fundraisers going. Start knocking on doors. Talk to people about the issues that are affecting them most, then offer them a libertarian solution to the problem. We need to move from a position of promoting the party, to going out and showing people why we should be in office.

Taxes/Budgets - With a Libertarian in office, cutting spending, NOT increasing it is the first order of business. Taxing restaurants an additional 1% is not a good idea, as the town of Fishers has found out. Bond issues would not be a dime a dozen. Spending should be limited to necessities, such as public safety and sewers, not administration buildings that look like college campuses.

Property Rights - A Libertarian would work with local and state bodies to make sure that Kelo v. New London doesn't happen in your backyard. A Libertarian would allow the small business owner to make his own rules in his business, not let the government dictate what can and cannot go on inside said establishment.

Also, when talking to voters, take this bit of advice:

Be Brief - You only have really thirty seconds to a minute to get someone's attention. Remember three key ideas, and hand the voter a palmcard that describes your platform. There is no need to hand them a manifesto the size of a small phonebook. That's just a new doorstop.

Be Polite - Offer a firm handshake and introduce yourself.

Be Memorable - I'm not saying make a mockery of yourself, or show up in a clown suit. I'm saying be professional, be presentable, realize your audience. (Walking the neighborhood: golf shirt and khakis, Fundraiser: shirt and tie minimum)

Find Common Ground (if time permits): In my experience, I got a lot of support because of my neighbors. When I told them of what I was doing, first they asked, "Are you serious??", then asked, "Why?" When I told them, they could relate to what I was talking about.

This is just some ideas from a guy who has been there before, and wants to do it again sometime.

1 comment:

Mike Kole said...

Well said, Chris. Good ideas are not nearly enough to win. If that were the case, Libertarians would have been winning a majority of elections since the 1970s.

Indeed, well-organized bad ideas win the day. That's the bad news. The good news is that Libertarian candidates need only be half as organized as the other parties, and then our good ideas will increasingly win the day.