Political strategy and tactics are important. There’s nothing wrong, or dirty, or shameful about knowing how to win an election. I spent a decade as a professional political consultant and manager, and have spent an even longer amount of time trying to teach people how to win elections through Local Victory. Knowing how to run a campaign the right way is important.
That being said, too often, those of us on the inside of the political game forget that what is most important – in fact, what makes the strategy and tactics worthwhile – is standing up for what you believe in. Without a solid core of beliefs and a willingness to stake your success on them, no campaign plan, fundraising strategy, or message work, can make your campaign anything more than the wishy-washy “anything to get elected” effort the public has come to (rightly) despise.
Beliefs Matter at Every Level
I don’t care what your role is in politics – whether you’re a candidate, a campaign manager, a committee or legislative staffer, a consultant, a volunteer… you have to stand up for what you believe in. I can’t tell you how many consultants I have worked with who are repulsed by the core positions of the candidate they are working for… and yet plug along anyway, trying to get him or her elected.
Now, I’m not saying a consultant or staffer should argue with a candidate / campaign, or resign, based on every little policy difference. If that was the case, there wouldn’t be anyone left in the profession. But when the candidate, party, or issue advocacy group you are working with takes a stand that is diametrically opposed to your core beliefs on the biggest issues in the political sphere… how can you be quiet? How can you continue to try and get this person elected, when core values are at stake?
Too many people involved in politics refuse to stand up and be heard, for fear of losing clients, missing out on promotions, having to move into a new line of work… or simply because they don’t want to make waves.
If you’re in politics because you are working for a better city, county, state, or country… and that’s why most people get involved in politics, because they want to make a difference… then it’s time to start making some waves. Stand up for what you believe in.