Insanity: Doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results is insanity. What must change for progressives to experience successful election results?
Reimagine: Conducting community assessments is a proven tool for reimagining how things might be. The data provides content for messages that connect with the people of each county. Assessments include random samples of all voters in each county and district. I have found interviewing grocery store and pharmacy patrons offers valuable information for tailored approaches in each county.
Chart a New Course: Traditionally progressives have not been as cutthroat as Republicans. In 2010 Democrats continued to use gerrymandering to protect incumbents rather than as a tool to gain a majority they couldn’t otherwise gain. Republicans focused on creating districts with voting advantages for years to come.
A new course offering a gerrymandering disarmament plan based on the notion of fair play would appeal to most voters. Neither party should be allowed to draw districts that favor one party over the other for partisan gain. I have yet to hear progressives’ position on the subject, nor have I seen a strategy to counter punch the GOP. It is time to chart a new course for more successful outcomes.
Connect: Research shows people vote based on passions of fear and anger. Successful candidates connect with voters when creating messages that tap into these passions. In mid-term elections Democrats and the unaffiliated traditionally vote in smaller numbers. Messages must appeal to voter anger and anxiety. Focus groups and community surveys provide the basis for such messaging.
Coordinated efforts to create a comprehensive strategy defining wedge issues, put in the hours every month for 24 months to engage and energize disillusioned voters, win the unaffiliated vote and get voters to the polls in 2022 can lead to greater success. Republicans have used social engineering wedge issues such as sanctity of marriage. What wedge issues can progressives offer to connect with voters in 2022?
Inspire: It goes without saying that identifying and exploiting opponent weak spots is critical. Many candidates fail to aggressively attack their opponent while their opponent attacks with both facts and fiction. Madison Cawthorn turned Moe Davis into a socialist, Thom Tillis hammered Cal Cunningham with wasting money and indiscretions while Lindsey Graham hammered Jamie Harrison with being bought by corporate America. What was the message attacking each of these three?
Both offense and defense are part of any messaging strategy inspiring voters to vote for a candidate. Creating awareness of opponent vulnerabilities is as important as educating voters to candidate qualities if you wish to inspire voters to vote for you.
Party responsibilities for inspiring success include assessing community sentiment, creating tested messages and providing capable volunteers and financial resources for candidates. No longer should candidates be left on their own to sink or swim based on their own organizational and fundraising abilities. Candidate’s responsibilities focus on messaging and delivering the messages, offense and defense, while the party and volunteers provide infrastructure.
These thoughts are based on my experience delivering online coaching for business owners and leaders to achieve business success in these turbulent times. So, passionate progressives, isn’t it time to stop the insanity and change the way you pursue change? If you agree, request party chairs at the county, district, state and national level who unsuccessfully coordinated elections to step down. Then create new, innovative and competitive organizations.
Ron Robinson is an author, speaker and business advisor. He lives in Sylva.