In 2020, someone you know, or know of, will be running for a political office. Obviously, most candidates running for office will not experience Election Day success.
I think anyone seeking public office should be groomed, so to speak. Candidates should be knowledgeable about the important issues in whatever districts, cities, counties or states where their election attempts take place.
Base of knowledge
They should know all applicable campaign laws and procedures. They should be able to recognize qualified political vendors and contractors. They should peruse campaign reports from previous candidates for the targeted office to determine the amount of money spent in the last couple of elections. They should identify who are, or were, the major campaign contributors.
Most of the time, aspiring candidates do none of the above.
Candidates listen to their friends, their coworkers, their congregation members and sometimes their enemies prior to deciding to run for office.
‘I’ll win for you’
Once you announce your candidacy, every political perpetrator, every political charlatan and every political con man or crook will approach you and tell you that they can generate votes for you.
You might hear Black candidates say, “I have a White friend, so I’ll get the White vote,” or White candidates will say, “I support Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the local HBCU, so I’ll get the Black vote!”
Well, if you don’t know, campaigns of today are highly scientific and technological. You have geo-demographic voter targeting and match merging of census data. You have digital media production and targeting and other new-age election techniques.
In politics, as in life, your “friends” will be close to you, the candidate, but your enemies will be closer!
Don’t believe them
At every event a candidate attends, at the reception, at the rally, at the church, at the school, at the political forum and at every other place, someone will pop up out of the blue sky and tell a candidate, “Hire me and I’ll get you all of the votes in this town or in this area.” Don’t believe them.
Your campaign contributors will tell you, “I gave you money, so you should hire my cousin’s girlfriend that wants a job in politics. She’s good.” Don’t believe that, either.
History is the best political teacher. If you want to know if a campaign worker can help you, take a rudimentary look at what politicians the person has helped in the past.
I’m no volunteer
In a recent election cycle, a Black candidate called me and asked me to contribute to his campaign and to share my political resources and knowledge to assist in his victory.
I asked him how many Black political professionals he had hired. He told me all of his campaign money was to pay Whites, and all Blacks could only be volunteers on his campaign.
I wished him well in the election. But I also told him, “I only work on campaigns where if one worker gets paid, all workers get paid!”
How can you consider yourself a superior candidate on one hand and suggest that everybody that looks like you in your district or community is an inferior campaign asset?
Hire a professional
If you don’t know the trips and traps of running for political office, you better ask someone that knows how the political game is successfully played before you get embarrassed on Election Day!
Don’t wait until the last month or the last day to try to put a winning political army together.
If you are considering running for office in 2020, you need to get started as soon as possible. You need to have some money of your own to finance parts of your campaign.
And you’ll need solid political advisers with a history of political success!