If you are running for office, or plan to someday, you will encounter four difficult pressure points in your campaign: The press, interest groups, donors, and voters.
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How you respond to those pressure points is often the difference between victory and defeat.
In a minute I’ll tell you why.
The Press is constantly badgering candidates to talk about things that are important to the media, but not necessarily the voters. Which is why we often see candidates being asked about global warming even though very few voters say it is their top concern.
The press will also badger you about things you’d rather not discuss, like when you plan to release your tax returns. If you let reporters throw you off message voters will never hear your message.
Likewise, important interest groups expect candidates to toe the line on their agenda, and are quick to howl when candidates don’t. Need proof? Look at the howling from elements of the conservative religious community about Donald Trump. Or imagine how unionized teachers would react if Hillary Clinton said something nice about charter schools. Don’t hold your breath on that one.
Donors exert pressure. They invest money to buy access and influence, or because of deeply held beliefs. Donald Trump is seeing that first hand now. Despite his promise to self fund, he now says he can’t foot the bill for a billion dollar campaign. He is now learning that many in the Republican donor class don’t agree with his ban on Muslims, or his trade policies, or his pledge to deport people from Mexico.
Many from the donor class vow to sit on their checkbooks if Mr. Trump doesn’t change his tune. Stay tuned on that one.
Finally, there are the voters. They decide the election, and they are very quick to spot a phony, or someone who is a wholly owned mouthpiece of a special interest group, or candidates who bend their principles to appease campaign contributors.
In your journey running for office, you will not be immune to pressure from the press, interest groups, donors and voters.
As you juggle their competing and often conflicting demands, you may have to make some very difficult judgment calls. Are you willing to bend on your principles for campaign cash? Alter your position to appease a special interest group? Backtrack on a campaign promise to appease the media?
There is often a silent source of pressure on your journey as a candidate. Your moral compass. Your integrity. Your notion of right and wrong. As long as you live, you’ll be seeing your face when you look in the mirror. Make sure it’s a face you are never ashamed to see.
Have Questions? Call me at 845-458-1210. Or email me at Jay@JayTownsend.com.
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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