April 9, 2014. Florida. America’s first-time citizen-candidates may find themselves lost and unsure what to do with their first election campaign. But our opposition political parties have some extremely experienced political campaigners that are here to help. One of those is Danielle Alexandre of the Libertarian Party of Florida. She’s compiled a ten-point list for the LP’s rookie candidates. But it’s so insightful, it applies to all opposition parties and their candidates.
Image courtesy of Lishennair.com
One experienced grassroots campaigner can always tell another because the lessons they teach can only be learned one way - the hard way - in the trenches and in the precincts. That was the impression this author got while reading Danielle’s essay for Libertarian candidates and we felt it was well worth reprinting in Opposition News for everyone.
Read one of the opening statements from Alexandre and tell me this doesn’t sound like your opposition party, regardless of which one it is, ‘There is a difference in a campaign for a Libertarian that most candidates are never prepared for. Running a campaign with no party affiliation is not even the same. Our candidates still have a party to represent. People that they speak for and a structure in place. What they do not have is a party with resources ready and power in mind.’
10 Things every Opposition Candidate should know
The Libertarian Party’s Danielle Alexandre sums up another experience common among all opposition party candidates. ‘No one owns you but everyone is watching,’ she tells first-time candidates, ‘You have to appeal to everyone in the public without compromising your principles. The campaign itself is run different, feels different and has more obstacles. What I find most is that our candidates are not prepared or have misconceptions when they sign their name to run for office.’
How does the Florida LP leader rectify that dilemma? She penned the essay, ‘There are 10 things every Libertarian should know before they decide to take that step’. Below, please find an abbreviated reprint of that list written by Danielle Alexandre, courtesy of 1787Network.com:
1. YOU decide to be a candidate. ‘No one else did this but you,’ she soberly and humorously tells prospective candidates who think it might be fun to run for office, ‘If you are too busy or already have too many other commitments to put in the time and energy needed to be a candidate, then YOU SHOULD NOT RUN.’
2. Volunteers need to be inspired by the candidate. Nobody volunteers for opposition candidates for the jobs, government contracts or power. The author reminds us, ‘Every person who comes on board did so because they saw something in you that made them want to make the sacrifice.’ This point reminds your author of another common mistake. Candidates tend to turn into mini-dictators. Volunteers aren’t your slaves or your employees, don’t treat them like it. Thank them every single day they show up.
3. There are no ready-made donors for your campaign. Unlike the two establishment parties, whose candidates inherit a fortune from party donors the second they lock in their party’s nomination, opposition candidates have absolutely no built-in funding sources. As Alexandre writes, and it applies to candidates from all opposition parties, ‘Every Libertarian is vying for funds from the same group of people. That means you better have a good reason for them to choose you.’ The author goes on to tell candidates they shouldn’t just depend on donors already in the party, but should do their part to bring new donors to the party.
4. If your house isn’t in order, then you are not ready to run for office. ‘No one cares about your work schedule, your financial woes, your home drama or any other part of your personal life,’ the author bluntly writes. She suggests if your house isn’t in order, put off your political ambitions until it is.
5. What you say can, will and should be used against you in public. ‘If you can’t self censor then you are not candidate material,’ Danielle Alexandre writes, ‘The country needs people to tell it like it is, but if you can’t do that without being offensive then you just aren’t right for candidacy.’
6. Every volunteer is worth their weight in gold. This is the point that made us reprint this list in Opposition News. Your author, and apparently the list’s creator, have both lectured candidates before on the value of volunteers and the need to show appreciation. As Danielle concludes, ‘No matter how often you say thank you, it isn’t enough.’
7. You are not only representing yourself as a candidate but your party. ‘Everything you do and say represents EVERY member of the party to the public,’ Alexandre writes, ‘Candidates can be a great way to build a party but they can also be a great way to destroy one.’
8. You need to be involved before you run. This is the only point where we at Opposition News disagree. ‘You can not expect nor will you receive respect if you show up one day and say “vote for me” and “give me your time and money.” It doesn’t work that way,’ the list’s author suggests. But your author here at Opposition News has seen the opposite. In fact, except for repeat candidates, the first-time candidates are usually people the volunteers have never met before. The same goes for the first-time volunteers. It’s the beauty of grassroots democracy, and worth pointing out, a great way to get out of the house and meet wonderful new people.
9. This is not a job interview. ‘I always hear the analogy that your candidate is applying to work for you,’ she writes, ‘That is a bad analogy. Candidates are applying to REPRESENT you.’ Danielle then lets her libertarian side shine when she demands that successfully elected Libertarian office holders represent all the people, not just fellow libertarians, ‘You are there to represent thousands of people who all have different lives, different opinions, different needs and different wants. You have to serve them ALL.’
10. Teams win campaigns, candidates lose them. Alexandre writes, ‘Your team is your support system, you can’t win without them.’ Well-funded establishment candidates don’t need teams. They hire campaign employees. Grassroots candidates need teams. And it’s worth reminding volunteers that 99% of the voters who will vote for your candidate will never meet him or her. They’re going to vote based on the encounter they had with one of the campaign team’s volunteers.
As if her top 10 list weren’t insightful enough, Danielle Alexandre is also right on the money when she tells prospective election candidates, ‘It takes drive, late nights, long days, money and dedication. You will learn more about yourself than you ever wanted to know and in the end, win or lose, it will be worth it.’ She is also correct in her concluding statement, and could be speaking on behalf of every opposition party in America writing, ‘We need you. The country needs you…You will spread the message and educate the people but in most cases you will inspire, motivate and give people hope again.’
Read the full article at 1787Network.com
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