Political strategy: Is it an art or a science?
Many professionals in the industry today agree that political campaigning and strategizing is both a creative and a technical process. While it’s not complicated, new candidates and their teams often don’t know the necessary elements involved in developing a well-thought out, powerful strategy for their political campaign.
If you’re in the thick of the planning stages, working to determine the best political strategy for your candidate’s campaign, here are some essential factors to consider:
- Determine your candidate’s position. The key differences between running as an incumbent and running as a challenger are enormous. For example, challengers sometimes have issues in the fundraising arena, while incumbents tend to have records to run on (or to be attacked on). And, in open seat races, usually anything goes.
- Highlight their background. Is your candidate experienced in politics? Does he or she have personal experience with a particular issue? Does your candidate have a solid, trustworthy and reliable supporter base in a local neighborhood or demographic?
- Check your funds. The best political campaign strategy must also equate to being a realistic one. For example, if your candidate is well connected and wealthy, you’ll probably be able to afford a full time team of helpers. However, if your campaign is underfunded, you may need to rely heavily on volunteers, homegrown campaign marketing materials and grassroots strategies.
- Know your opponents. Are the opponents running as challenger, incumbent or for an open seat? What are their various backgrounds? Are they well connected and/or wealthy? What issues do they tend to focus on?
- Understand the season’s issues. The best campaign strategies tailor their messaging to speak to the most relevant issues – especially those most important to voters.
One you work through the above factors, it will be easier figuring out a strategy that’s right for your candidate’s campaign.
Keep in mind: There is no single “best” campaign strategy. The right strategy will differ for each candidate and for each election. Most importantly, be sure to take the time to think through your political strategy before diving in, headfirst.
At Lincoln Strategy Group, we employ a team of political strategy experts who use a creative approach with sharp electoral focus to effectively employ solid campaign strategy and management.