Throughout the history of humankind great Empires and Democracies have faced perilous times. In this video, why some crumbled; how others survived.

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There are occasions when it is useful to step back from running for office and the hard edged rhetoric of our time, turn off the news, silence the iPhone, and read some history.

Last week I afforded myself a short holiday from political consulting, and today will share with you some lessons learned from two books I read, How Democracies Die, and The Storm before the Storm, about events that precipitated the fall of the Roman Empire.

I commend both books to you, in addition to my new website about running for office that you’ll find at

If you read the books, this is what you’ll learn: Great Empires don’t fall suddenly. They decline gradually, then suddenly.

When voters grow impatient with the checks and balances of democratic rule, they often elevate to positions of power highly authoritarian figures. Autocratic rulers who are quick to defile their opponents, debase the national discourse, and deny the legitimacy of those who attempt to check their power. Often those autocrats seek to divide on the basis of ethnicity, race or religion, fomenting fear of unfamiliar cultures in their never ending quest to bend and upend the rule of law.

Throughout the history of humankind, many democracies and empires have stared into this abyss. Those that crumbled, did so because opponents of the autocrats resorted to the same vile invective, demagogic discourse, and hate filled rhetoric they professed to oppose.

Empires that survived, opted for different direction, led by candidates and political figures who offered not hate, but hope, inspiration, tolerance, compassion, respect for the rule of law; candidates who appealed to the better angels of the human spirit.

If you would like some help constructing that kind of message as you are running for office, please visit my website at

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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.

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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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