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How you come to power in a political campaign determines whether you have the power to use it. How you exercise power determines whether you keep it. Some lessons from the statewide and local elections held on November 7 in New Jersey, Virginia, and New York.

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These were the first major elections held since Mr Trump became President. Normally they are dominated by state and local issues. This year they were a referendum on President Trump, and the GOP Congress. Both lost.

It was a referendum on the way President Trump won the election in 2016… an election he won by pitting one tribe against another, fomenting fear of unfamiliar religions, fear of immigrants with unfamiliar customs, and by injecting a toxic virus into the national discourse.


History is filled with people who win that way. But few of those who come to power that way are ever able to use it. Their legacies are little remembered but for the pain they caused and the mess they made.

Proof of what I just said lies in the record of the GOP Congress this past year. Not a single legislative achievement to its name. Not a single promise kept. The party that proved so adept at opposition politics during the Obama years has proven itself inept at getting anything done.

And so, on November 7, voters spoke. Those blue tides we’ve read about were voters who don’t normally vote in local elections. They flocked to the polls to express their contempt for the President and the GOP Congress. They did.

The bad part about democracy is that demagogues can sometimes win by fomenting hatred toward fellow man. The good news is that voters can demand a change in course. On November 7th they did.

If you are running for office, I have good news for you. You can win by offering ideas and ideals higher than hatred and division. You can win by offering a vision that elevates our discourse and advances a worthy cause. On November 7th, lots of candidates did.

I helped more than a dozen candidates win an election last week, and none resorted to gutter politics to do it. If you’d like to know more about how that is done, I invite you to sign up for my free, 5 part video series on how to develop a compelling campaign message. You’ll learn how to ask voters for the power to govern, and win in a way that affords you the power to use it once you have it.

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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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