I spend a lot of time teaching candidates how to win campaigns. Today, I thought it might be fun to tell you how NOT to win elections. So without further ado, here are the top 5 ways NOT to win election campaigns:

1. Throw Targeting Out the Window

You know all about targeting? Well forget it… who needs it? If you want to lose your campaign, instead of targeting where you will spend your campaign’s time and money, go ahead and spread your resources around. Put away the precinct maps and the prior voting history of the district, and just send out direct mail and go door to door wherever looks good.

2. Let Other People Do Your Fundraising For You

What’s that, you tell me? You’re running for office, and some consultant told you to spend 50% or more of your time fundraising? Where’s the fun in that? I know you want to be out giving speeches and writing policy papers, with a couple of win and cheese events thrown in, so go ahead. If you don’t want to win, then rely on other people to do your fundraising for you… you’ve got more important (and more enjoyable) things to do.

3. Polling Schmoling… You Know What’s Important to the Voters!

If you’re trying to not win election campaigns… then this is a big one: whatever you do, don’t use polls. You see, all polls do is tell you what issues are at the front of people’s minds… what they want most to talk about this cycle. You don’t need a poll to tell you that! You know what the people want, so toss the polls (and the pollsters) aside, and go with your gut. You probably won’t be right, but hey… you’re trying to LOSE, remember?

4. Skimp on Political Design

There are a ton of professional political designers out there… mail shops that know what types of direct mail work, media consultants that have decades of experience developing campaign ads, and political web developers that can bring your message to life on the Internet. But you don’t need them. If you’re trying not to win election campaigns, you should use your uncle Bob, who draws really well, and had an internship at that marketing company a couple of decades ago, before he got into insurance sales. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper!

5. Take Weekends… and Evenings… Off

Politics can sometimes be such a hectic world. So many events to attend, and hands to shake. If you really want to lose, your best bet is to turn in early. Get to bed by 9pm, and don’t rush to get to the office. 10 in the morning is plenty early to get there. Saturdays and Sundays? Take in a ballgame, see a good movie. Campaigning is hard work! You need your rest.