Helping Conservative Candidates Gain a Competitive Edge

Today a tribute to the civil rights leader of our time; a woman who has done more to advance the cause of civil rights than anyone since the days of Martin Luther King.

Her name is Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, and a hero to the thousands of parents, and students who have a better shot at the American dream because of her leadership.

Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools in New York and THE Civil Right Leader of Our Time

Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools

In this video—What she has done. How she did it. And a shout-out to a woman who has fearlessly advanced her cause, forcefully stood down the critics threatened by her success, and afforded thousands of minority students on the lower rung of the economic ladder the freedom to chart a better destiny.

May her example be an inspiration to us all.

 

Have something you’d like to share?…examples of how you or someone you saw rose to the occasion and did something extraordinary? Please share it.

And if you think one of your friends might benefit from seeing this video? Again, please share it.

 


 

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Today a story. About a man who made a split second decision, stood down his fear, and gave a 5 minute speech that forever changed the course of a city.

It is also a story about you. Your purpose. Your passion.

 

It was April 4. 1968. The State of Indiana.

New York Senator Robert Kennedy was campaigning for President. Upon landing in Indianapolis, he was met by an aide who told him that Dr Martin Luther King had been assassinated. He was then handed a phone, and the Mayor of Indianapolis told Kennedy that there was violence in every major City in America—burning, looting, rioting—and asked that Kennedy cancel his public appearances and remain secluded in the safety of his hotel room… Kennedy refused.

Instead he went to what was then the ghetto of Indianapolis. Surrounded by a sea of angry African Americans, Kennedy mounted the back of a flatbed truck and began to speak. Kennedy talked about the pain of losing his brother to an assassin’s bullet. He asked that the people of Indianapolis not respond to violence with violence, but to instead go to their homes and churches to peacefully honor, remember and celebrate the life of Dr. King.

Robert Kennedy's finest hours. His talk left a legacy that endures, not just a monument where he stood, but a city that to this day remains a shining example of peace and racial harmony.

Robert Kennedy. April 4. 1968. The State of Indiana.

He spoke for less than five minutes, ending his speech with the words of Aeschylus, “Even in our sleep, pain which we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom, through the awful grace of God.”

There was no violence that night in Indianapolis. Thousands of people quietly joined hands and went to their homes and churches to pray.

It was one of Robert Kennedy’s finest hours. His talk left a legacy that endures, not just a monument where he stood, but a city that to this day remains a shining example of peace and racial harmony.

In that moment, Robert Kennedy answered a call. In that moment, he summoned a passion within. In that moment, Kennedy faced his own fear, summoned the courage to scale a mountain, and do something only he could have done, unique to him and fitted to his talent.

His words that day affected an entire nation.

 

The most important day in your life is the day you were born. The second most important is the day you discovered why–the day you learned what you were put on earth to do–the day you learned what your passion is.

The great tragedy of our time is not that we die, it is that too few of us ever live, instead passing through life and leaving this earth never having answered our call.

If you have a passion…If you know why you were born and what you were put on earth to do, waste no time. GO LIVE IT! Answer the voice in your head that is begging you to shine. Live fully the only life you will ever have.

And remember the words of the great Winston Churchill

“There comes a time in every person’s life when they are tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing…unique to them and fitted to their talent.”

Let not that moment find you unqualified or ill-prepared.

And today my words for you: Embrace your fear and make it your friend. Answer the voice in your head begging you to shine. Shed that burden of guilt about what you have not done. Embark on a new journey down an unfamiliar path. And fully live an abundant life – one that has your name on it.

 

Have something you’d like to share? Examples of how you or someone you saw rose to the occasion and did something extraordinary?

Please share it. And if you think one of your friends might benefit from seeing this video, by all means, hit the share button.

 


 

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Magnetic charisma. You’ve seen it. That moment when someone enters a room and suddenly everybody takes notice.

You have it, too, though you may not know it.

It starts with the way you look and begins before a word is ever spoken.

Watch this brief video with tips on how to fill a room with your magnetic charisma.

 

Stay tuned for more on the art of being a good candidate for public office:

Click here for past videos on the art of being a good candidate.


 

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Recently, I was asked by an aspiring young candidate in Romania what books he should read to better understand the art of political combat…books that inform, inspire and motivate.

In this brief video, I review a few that are essential readings for any candidate considering a run for Public office. From classics like ‘Art of War’ by Sun Tzu and ‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli to more modern books about political figures that profoundly affected the way we live.

Click on Covers for Book Descriptions and Reviews








Click on Covers for Book Descriptions and Reviews

Feel free to email me at Jay@JayTownsend.com to share your own ideas on books that you have enjoyed, or if you’d like additional suggestions from my library.

Stay tuned for more on the art of being a good candidate for public office:

Click here for past videos on the art of being a good candidate.


 

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This video is a word about that campaign message. As in your message, your slogan, your rationale, or whatever you want to call it.

Great technology, fancy micro-targeting and targeted internet ads are not going to save a campaign with a meaningless or incoherent message. Before going crazy with all the bells and whistles available in the political marketplace, make sure your message is clear, compelling, memorable and worth repeating.

Watch this brief video to learn how to construct a compelling message. It’s easier said than done which is why so few candidates do it well.

Stay tuned for more on the art of being a good candidate for public office:

Click here for past videos on the art of being a good candidate.


 

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Get Your Free Copy of My Book: The 10 Worst Mistakes That Candidates Make. Enter email below and it will be sent to your mailbox.

 

 

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For those who may be running not in 2016, but in 2015. The lessons of election year 2014, what we learned, and what it portends.

If you’ve kept a copy of the 2014 playbook, put it on the shelf and let it draw dust. Very little of it will apply to the 2015 election year and only the stupid will use it.

Why?

The mistake that many candidates and their consultants make is they assume the next election will play out just like the last election. It won’t. It never does.

Watch this brief Campaign tip video for more insight and time honored tasks that must be performed in preparation for a 2015 race, tasks that are essential in any election.

Stay tuned for more on the art of being a good candidate for public office.


 

Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for Campaign Tips & Candidate Training Instructional Videos.

Get Your Free Copy of My Book: The 10 Worst Mistakes That Candidates Make. Enter email below and it will be sent to your mailbox.

 

 

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Guest column by Steven Moore, Managing Director of Campaign Grid, one of the nation’s leading on-line advertising companies.

Guest Column by Steven Moore, Managing Director of Campaign Grid

This past fall I called a client to let him know that his principal opponent had just made a heavy investment in on-line advertising. “That’s a waste of money,” my client responded, despite my efforts to convince him otherwise. He lost by a handful of votes.

On-line advertising is here to stay, and those who ignore it are destined for the loser’s circle. Today a guest column by Steven Moore, Managing Director of Campaign Grid, one of the nation’s leading on-line advertising companies. Steve and his partner Jordan Lieberman are some of the brightest people I know, and their company is breaking new ground every day.

Six Reasons to Start Using Digital Advertising on Your Next Campaign

By Steven Moore, Managing Director, CampaignGrid

The campaign world is going digital, because voters are increasingly consuming information digitally. You don’t want to be left behind. Here are six reasons to add a digital arrow to your campaign quiver.

1) A majority of voters no longer watch broadcast TV.

A February 2014 survey sponsored by Google and conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies and Global Strategy Group showed that less than half of voters say broadcast TV is their primary means of consuming video. Other than live sports, 30% of voters said they did not watch live TV in the preceding week.

If you are spending all your money on broadcast TV and nothing on digital, you are not communicating with a significant portion of the electorate.

2) Those who vote most are online.

Older Americans are among the most likely to vote, and in this last election, seniors were among the fastest growing demographic online.

A recent Pew Internet poll showed that 59% of Americans over the age of 65 currently use the Internet. That number is even higher among demographics more likely to vote. Nearly 80% of American seniors with household incomes of more than $30,000 annually are online. Among college educated seniors, that number is 87%.

What are seniors doing online? Social networking is among the most popular pastimes for Internet surfing seniors. Nearly half of seniors who use the Internet report using social networking sites.

Make sure you are in their newsfeed with your candidate’s message.

3) Digital advertising is highly targetable.

You can now target online any demographic you are targeting with conventional forms of voter contact.

If your polling shows that independent Hispanic women between the ages of 45 and 65 who voted in four of the last four general elections are most receptive to your candidate’s message, we can reach that group online.

Have you ever gone to REI.com, looked at a pair of hiking boots then noticed that pair of hiking boots following you around the Internet no matter which website you happened to go to? You can target your voters in exactly the same fashion.

However, make sure that your digital ad vendor is using data-driven advertising. If your vendor does not have data backing up the buy, then you are doing the digital equivalent of sending out a piece of mail to everyone who has a mailbox.

Or worse, your vendor may be selling you “remnant advertising.” Scroll down to the bottom of your local newspaper’s website. See the ad on the bottom of the page? That is not where you want your ad dollars going.

If your vendor is selling you advertising cheap, there is a reason.

4) Digital advertising complements and amplifies conventional forms of voter outreach.

CampaignGrid research shows that adding online ads to mail is a powerful combination. In the 2014 Arkansas primary, we conducted an experiment. We divided voters into three groups for a GOTV effort – a control group with which we did not communicate, a group that received mail only and a group that received mail and CampaignGrid’s data driven online ads. The message was “What if your friends in Arkansas knew you did not vote in the May 20 election?”

The mail-only group had an 8% lift in turnout over the control group, while the mail + online group showed a 14% increase in turnout.

The multi-channel amplification effect is apparent within digital advertising as well. An aggregation of analyses for several thousand Audience Partners campaigns shows the interaction rate for display and mobile is 126% that of display alone. The interaction rate for display, mobile and video combined is 281% that of display only.

Don’t stop mail. Start digital.

5) Digital advertising is very affordable.

You can have a big impact for not a lot of money. For the price of an average piece of mail, you can show a voter a digital ad about 36 times. Make no mistake, a piece of mail is a very rich impression, but it is only one impression, and you don’t know if the person who picked it up from the mailbox is the voter, her husband or her teenage son.

CampaignGrid allows you to target voters, individually on their desktops, tablets or mobile devices. And if a voter sees your candidate’s ad 36 times over the course of a week, that is going to get their attention.

The 2015 cycle is going to see a lot of low-budget municipal elections. A perfect time to see just how cost-effective digital advertising can be.

6) Digital advertising is easy.

While seniors are rapidly joining the online community, among the 41% who are not yet online, three quarters said they felt they would need assistance from someone else in getting online.

Coincidentally, this sentiment mirrors CampaignGrid’s experience among political consultants.

The good news for campaign professionals not currently online, CampaignGrid has made it very easy to learn how to target voters on the Internet.

CampaignGrid Direct is a self-serve platform that allows even the smallest campaigns to target voters with the same precision as a multi-million dollar super PAC.

Go to the site. Check it out. With CampaignGrid Direct, incorporating online ads into your next campaign is slightly more complex than buying something on Amazon.

Steven Moore is Managing Director at CampaignGrid, and has been a user of their services since 2007. In addition to serving for 7 1/2 years as chief of staff to a Member of House Leadership, Moore has fought the resurgence of communism in Eastern Europe in the nineties, debated the finer (and more blunt) points of US foreign policy with Islamic extremists in Indonesia and, in Iraq, adapted public opinion research techniques for use in free fire zones. He can be reached via email steven@campaigngrid.com or at 202.544.5471.

At the bottom of this post are links to several articles on why some won, some lost, plus first class behind-the-scenes reporting from journalists allowed inside campaigns. They are well done, well written, entertaining, and an accurate picture of the ugly side of politics.

In this post I write about what has largely been ignored.

Two Seminal Events behind the Rout in the 2014 Midterm Elections

 

Harry Reid had sown the seeds for a Democratic disaster a long time ago when he chose to make the Democratic Senate a do nothing Senate.

Harry Reid’s Democratic Senate, a do nothing Senate.

The seeds of the Democratic disaster were sewn by Harry Reid a long time ago when he chose to make the Democratic Senate a do nothing Senate.

The Senate went three years without passing a budget. There were no votes to fix, mend or fine-tune Obamacare despite the disastrous rollout. The House sent the Senate 340 bills, including several passed with bi-partisan support. Reid stubbornly sat on them. There was no energy bill. Not even a feeble attempt to fix the tax code. No votes on the Keystone pipeline. Nothing to jolt an economy that isn’t working for a lot of the 99%. (Obama can cite all the stats he wants. But if Americans don’t feel a ‘recovering’ economy, good stats are irrelevant.) Too much of the floor debate time was spent haranguing about the Koch brothers instead of conducting the nation’s business.

Thus, when Democrats running in red states desperately needed proof that they had deviated and differed from the unpopular policies of an unpopular President they had none. Nearly every incumbent Democrat had to defend voting with the President 97%+ of the time because Reid never gave them the opportunity to separate themselves from the Administration.

Which brings up the second seminal event of the season. The President uttered a profoundly stupid comment in a Chicago speech in early October, and his one line nationalized the election. Although he claimed to have been taken out of context, the press reported Obama’s words as “Make no mistake. My Policies are on the ballot.”

Obama: I'm not on the ballot this Fall. But make no mistake about it, my policies are.

That line was in the ads of Republican candidates within 24 hours. What Obama said crystallized the choice facing the nation. The breeze that grew to a gale began the minute those words left the President’s mouth.

Article: What comes of the opportunity the GOP has been given is now up to the GOP.

Next week. Why framing the debate will always be more important than those fancy GOTV toys.

 

In the meantime, below links to some of the best articles about the election, the hopeless challenge faced by Democrats, the limits of technology, and a few other brilliant pieces of first class journalism. If you are a political junkie grab a coffee, click the links and enjoy the next hour.

Yup, It Was a Wave
Battle for the Senate: How the GOP did it
How the Democrats Lost the Senate
Why the Democrats Lost
Chastened Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game
For Midterms, Betting on Feet and Good Apps
Tech tally: What campaigns learned in 2014
G.O.P. Ads Chase Voters at Home and on the Go
Democrats Learn Tough Tech Lesson
What Happened to that Democratic Turnout Machine
Teachers Unions Flunked Their Midterms
Inside Mitch McConnell’s War
The Colorado GOP Mailed It In-But Won
How Larry Hogan won in Maryland
Wendy Davis Lost Badly. Here’s How it Happened

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What the Hell Do We Do Now?

John Boehner speaker of the house US Congress Mitch McConnell US Senate Minority Leadere

 

On Monday morning, October 27 The Wall Street Journal had a headline story, “GOP Targets More House Seats.” Judging from the money moving around it has become apparent the GOP is investing in democratically held seats. Democrats are pulling out of challenger races and using their resources to protect vulnerable incumbents.

At this time of year, if you really want to know what the polls are saying, follow the money. The only question that remains is whether the much ballyhooed advance in the GOP ground operation will match the better ground operation Democrats had in 2012. (“Republicans, outflanked by a superior Democratic turnout operation in the past two presidential elections, have been spending tens of millions of dollars to improve data collection to achieve a rough parity.” NYT 10-26-14.)

What the GOP does with its expected majority in the House and Senate will determine who is elected President in 2016.

The GOP, having concentrated its efforts the last six years on blocking the Obama agenda, needs to prove it can be a governing party. It will need to put a few of its own ideas on the table, and be prepared to defend its policy initiatives. What’s the alternative? Remain little more than an obstructionist Congress–which will become the rallying cry of whoever the Democrats nominate in 2016.

Everybody knows the immigration system is broken. A GOP immigration bill needs to be more than building a fence at the border.

The tax code is an embarrassment to the Republic. Companies are moving overseas, and sitting on trillions in overseas banks accounts that are not being invested in the U.S. because of a punitive tax code. The Tax Code is seven times longer than the Bible and harder to understand than the Old Testament.

Health care reform needs to be more than repealing Obamacare. Certain provisions of it are very popular. The GOP can and should pass a bill that has the reforms their candidates have promised: Giving patients the options to buy health insurance policies they actually like; Giving patients more say in their choices of doctors and hospitals; Allowing consumers to buy policies from other states; Expanding tax protected health savings accounts; Tort reform.

Practically every GOP candidate this year talked about the regulatory nightmare of the Obama years. Devise something that makes sense of the regulatory climate in Washington — a simpler, more transparent process that small business owners can understand and live with.

And if the GOP really wants to be ambitious, it can tackle entitlements and the trillions in deficits that have been tossed onto the backs of young Americans. It isn’t that hard: Index the retirement age to the increase in longevity; Encourage older Americans, many who will remain healthy into their 80’s, to remain in the workforce.

And get real about Medicare. The boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day. Many will run out of money before they run out of life. Unless the nation provides greater incentives for boomers to help pay for the health care they will need as they approach their final years, the Medicare system as it is currently financed will go belly up.

And Obama? Let him veto every bill sent him by the Congress. Worry not about Democrats that vote against it. Most will. What matters is that the GOP will be the party trying to solve a few problems – and acting like a party that can govern.

Disagree? Weigh in. Think there are other things the GOP should do? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section.

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Politics is a game of expectations.

Come from behind and win a race you are expected to lose and you’ll be called a genius.

Lose a close race you are expected to win and you’ll be called something else.

Politics is a game of expectations.This past week, both parties have been playing expectations games. Republicans (named and unnamed) are leaking news of good polls, money raised, and spreading the scent of a coming landslide to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and through opinion columns. (This is designed to pry money from beltway and K-Street bigwigs. They fear offending Harry Reid if they give to Republicans. They also fear being on the wrong side if Republicans win.)

Some unnamed Democrats echo the Republican leakers. (This is done to scare unions and democratic funders and black leaders into get-out-the-vote efforts and more money for last minute media buys.)

What is the truth? Obama is a drag on Democrats. Harry Reid and his party are paying a price for a do-nothing Senate. The Republicans still have no message other than ‘we hate Obama too.’ We have the makings of a low turnout election. If the ‘wave’ crests at just the right time, Republicans will win more seats than expected, and declare they have a mandate to oppose Obama. (They have not asked for a mandate to do anything else.) If the wave crests too early, Democrats may do better than expected and they will declare victory even if they lose the Senate.

Another Truth. At this point two years ago, the ruling consultant class, and the Republican smart boys were saying (and also honestly believed) that Romney would win. We know how that turned out.

A Final Truth: Play the expectations game at your own peril. Those who play it are often forced to wear egg on their face. Usually those in the know about the inner workings of a campaign don’t talk. Smart campaign operatives are too smart to believe the spin they see in newspapers. Smart candidates use their ink, tv, radio time to drive home the contrast with their opponent rather than spinning polls. It’s never over until it’s over and if you take your foot off the pedal because of what you see the spin doctors say you deserve to lose.

Campaign & Communication Tips:

How to Handle Sticky Issues on the Campaign Trail & Staying Focused on Issues That Help You Get Votes

Principles Are Not Policy Prescriptions.

How to Win An Election With the Right Campaign Strategy

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