The Candidates

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Here are some (ironic) tips and suggestions, based on the ideas of Marco Althaus, a well-known German consultant in political campaigning and communication:

  1. You have much to say – tell your audience everything you know! Present as many topics as you can.
  2. Always separate the topic from the person. Management skills, energy and sympathy don’t go hand in hand with issues.
  3. Ignore the fact that a person could be a symbol for the people. The people like your party for the organisation that it is, whereas politicians are replaceable.
  4. Leave your opponents alone. Don’t attack them. If you ever beat an opponent – keep calm. He/she would never impart his/her knowledge…
  5. Keep the strategy in your head. Never use a project-plan, on which all others can work.
  6. Don’t carry out an analysis of your district. Only you know where your potential voters live, how many you need for your seat, and on which networks you should concentrate.
  7. Plan your budget exactly – up to the last cent. Leave nothing in reserve for final actions, advertisements or material.
  8. Invest all your money in leaflets, free beer, pens and lighters. Do not give 10 per cent of your budget to (district) polls, consultants and samples of material. External experts are too expensive. YOU should reinvent the wheel! That’s your personal style.
  9. Don’t ask people for money! Only do so if you have enough time during the campaign a few days before the election day. Don’t start too early with the fundraising.
  10. A weak candidate delegates the work. She/he should do all work alone. A campaign will otherwise not work.
  11. Don’t control your employees. Everyone has a task, and is responsible for it. On election day you will see if it was successful…
  12. You don’t need internal communication. Everyone talks to everyone, and lists of contacts, the flow of information, etc. is managed by everyone.
  13. Activists should only learn how to fill out a request form for material. They do not need to be trained for planning, organisation and communication. These issues will merely confuse them…
  14. Your calendar is YOUR calendar. You are the only one who knows where you are and when, and it’s just up to you to decide which appointments you want to make. Or an even better proposal: let more than one person make your appointments. The more, the better: this is the chance for you to show up in as many places as possible.
  15. Please do not use any design guidelines or basic material provided by your party. You are an individual person and you have to create your own style! The main focus should be on colourful material and lots of text. Use your private photos and a home-made video for your website.
  16. On your tour you should talk to your friends and your staff. Don’t talk to journalists or opinion leaders. Stick to the speech you prepared, and leave your audience as soon as possible. The faster you hop in your car, the better.
  17. You don’t need a press officer. YOU are your own press officer. Perhaps you’ve never been to an editorial office and you hate journalists. It is important that you tell them this. Tell the people that all the media are against you and that only politicians tell the truth.
  18. Don’t call your voters. They don’t like it.
  19. Avoid interesting activities and good photo opportunities. Journalists only want to take photos of you shaking hands with other politicians.
  20. Forget the internet. This is an invention by nutcases from America.

[Click here for Best Practice Examples]


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