John Tsarpalas: Yesterday I met with a candidate for state representative in Illinois where I live. We were talking about his campaign and his campaign plans. I realized that he hadn’t factored in the effect of the top of the ticket and the rest of the field into his campaign.
So today on Commonwealthy #61 it’s The Effect of the Rest of the Ticket on Your Political Campaign.
As I was talking to this candidate for office, he was making assumptions, assumptions that Republicans were to going to show up since he was running as a Republican for state rep. I said, “Well, this is July and right now the nominee is going to be Donald Trump. It is different then other years. We are not sure who is showing up for Donald Trump. Are these regular Republicans? Are these people that are Republican leaning independents?”
There has been a lot of talk about that in the news and discussion of different polls. Also, what is the effect of Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket on these lower ballot races? Will Democrats be excited for Hillary? They talk about there is a lot of people who are just not excited.
Democrats do a good job turning out the vote, but will they show up and just vote for her? Or are they just going to say, “Forget it. I am not going to vote,” and Democrat turnout will be low? That is going to effect the rest of their ticket on down.
Here in Illinois, the Democrats have a great Get Out the Vote program and the Republicans have a very weak one. I realize the Republican National Committee is going ramp it up for Donald Trump in terms of being his field operation.
But his own campaign has said they probably will not have much of a field operation. They are going to rely on media and Twitter and things that used in the primary. So this is something we need to be thinking about if we are going to win in a lower ticket race.
The best way to control your fate is to ID voters yourself and have a good, strong Get Out the Vote plan for you. If you are going to rely on people just showing up because they are motivated, you might be making a false assumption.
I don’t know. I am not trying to say anything mean about Donald Trump. I will say lots of mean things about Hillary Clinton. There is no way I would vote for that slime ball crooked Hillary. But I don’t know if the Trump campaign is going to be effective with their form of campaigning. It has never been done before. I am worried about that.
So if you are running in 2016 and you are listening to this in July, what is your plan for voter ID? That means identifying people that are going to be voting for you. How many do you need to identify? Have you set those goals? We have talked about this in earlier podcasts. I will have a list and link to all of those in the show notes at Commonwealthy.com.
Do you know who needs to turnout and how you are going to get them there? And you might have to spend some extra time and some extra money this cycle. What if those Republicans aren’t excited about Donald Trump? I’d be sorry if that happened, but if they aren’t, you’ve got to figure out how to get them excited to show up for you.
I hope people will show up to vote, especially Republicans. And if they are not comfortable with something, skip it. But show up for the rest of the people on the ticket. Because it is all of those down offices that make a difference. Republicans are going to need to hold the Congress. They are going to need to hold those House and Senate seats, governorships, etc.
And locally, county seats. I don’t think there are a lot of local elections happening, but in some places they are. Municipal races and stuff do happen in the big November 2016 election. So all of those different people need to think about what they are going to do to make sure the vote is coming out for them.
Now, that means a whole lot more work. You’ve got to contact the Republicans and you need to be doing that right now. You need to contact the independents. If you are one of those areas that is a Republican area and you are going to win if the Republicans show up, then you need to be working that Republican base and make sure they are going to show up.
You need to at least get some information in front of them about you, your name. And then you need to be pushing them during the early voting period to vote early. And on Election Day for any of those who haven’t voted early, you are going to get out there and motivate them. Call them. Knock on their door. But remind them that this is really important and that you need their vote.
Now if you are in an area that is not heavily Republican, you are going to have to win with independents. So you are going to have to know who those Republicans are. Make sure you are going to get them to the polls. And then you are going to have to work those groups of independents.
People that are ticket splitters, people that aren’t registered with a party or don’t vote a party primary, you are going to have to work them. They are harder to work. They are going to need more persuasion. In an ideal world, you know what issues are important to them.
So when you are calling them, not only are you talking about yourself, but also you are going to ask a couple of issue questions right up front. If it is a local race, “Are you worried about property taxes?” “Are you worried about state taxes,” if you are on that level. Maybe it is schools and educations. You need to kind of narrow it down as to what they are worried about.
So you will have that information to be feeding to them in your mailing to them so that they are reminded that you are in tune with them on that particular issue. If you are not, then you are going to figure out some other way to reach them and motivate them to vote for you.
But you do not want to be calling these independents if you don’t know they are going to vote for you because they probably are going to vote against you if they are unknown. So you are not reminding them for Turn Out the Vote. For Get Out the Vote, you want to remind people that you have identified as voting for you.
You’ve got that big job of trying to figure out who those independents are and those ticket splitters that are voting for you.
So when you are doing your early precinct analysis, and again we’ve had a podcast in the show notes that you can go back to, you should have figured out what precincts are fortress precincts, precincts that are heavily Republican that are going to vote for you and precincts that are heavily independent or ticket splitting.
It might be a different analysis for ticket splitting than it is for independents. It is a different analysis, not might be. It is a different analysis.
You want to find out where people tend to vote and go in different directions during a general election. One year they voted for Democrats and another year they voted for Republicans. The ticket splitters are the ones you are going to look at where you see the president went for a Democrat, but the congressman went for a Republican.
I used to live in a ticket splitter area. We were able to split the ticket through hard work as Republicans. We convinced moderates and liberals to cross over for our congressional candidate or our state rep candidate.
So you are going to have look at those precincts for ticket splitters. You are going to rank them and you are going to work the ones with the most independents in it first and the most ticket splitters first.
You are going to figure out how many of those numbers are. If there are a lot more that are independents than are ticket splitters, well work the independents first. You are going to go to those areas first that give you the most possible potential.
So you need to do this analysis if you haven’t done it. And you need to be working on that now. You need to be making calls, knocking doors, and mailing to those people with that independent thought and mind. You are not mailing the same piece that you are mailing to the Republicans to the independents.
You can in fact get into personalized mail. Mail programs such as the one done by ExtendedData.com, where you are mailing to a whole precinct, but every piece you are mailing out says, “Hi, John.” And then it puts in information about a particular issue that you know that person is interested in.
It literally can change the background on the piece and the addresses and make it look very targeted and very personal for that voter so that they know that you are in sync with them and you are only talking to them about that particular issue with that particular background. It looks like you really know their neighborhood.
That is something you can look at, something like that. That works very well for that situation. But you’ve got to get that nailed down now. This is July I am talking to you.
Now, if we are getting into 2017 and the off year election, which are more local, more municipal, again you need to do some analysis and some thought on what else is happening on the ballot. A lot of you guys live in initiative and referendum states. Is there going to be an initiative or a referendum on the ballot that is going to be a hot button?
Often it is about bond issues for schools. You are running for school board and they are also trying to float a bond to borrow money to build a new school or spend a lot of money on school district for some reason or whatever body that wants to raise money.
Just remember that in that situation, those people with the vested interest in that money are going to be working that election. They are going to be working it hard. They are going to be voter Id-ing people that are in support of it. And they are going to be turning them out.
You need to then figure out who you could be targeting for your campaign or that they are in sympathy with your campaign if your campaign is opposed to a tax hike or a bond referendum. You need to think about those different situations about initiatives and referendums.
If there is going to be things on there for term limits or things on there for a tax caps in the state or stop over spending ballot initiatives, all of those things are affecting you because all of those different situations are affecting how these organizations are approaching the voters and who they are pushing to the polls or not pushing to the polls. So you need to factor that in to what you are doing in your campaign plan.
I hope this is going to help. I hope you have already given it some thought. I hope you are giving it some more thought because this is going to be important. 2016 is going to be a very unusual year.
We can look back in hindsight. After the election, we will know more. But if you want to control your fate right now, you need to voter ID-ing on your own, having a great database, and keeping everything in your database. And then on Election Day or in that early voting period, you are pushing everybody to show up to vote for you.
As usual, if you’ve got questions for me, I am at email@example.com. I am also available on Twitter at @JTsarpalas. I can help you. Let me know.
I offer free half hour consultation the first time I talk with you. I am happy to review your campaign plan, chat, and see if I can help you in any way if there is something I can coach you on. I do a lot of coaching for people in the fundraising area.
I also coach people on how to improve their stump speeches or do debate prep. I do a lot of that via Skype with people. People feel much more comfortable when they are getting up and giving that first speech if we have worked on it. And they find that they win votes. You need to look like a leader. A leader is someone who can get up and give a fairly good stump speech.
So feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, we all love to talk about politics, but talk is cheap. We need to win some elections. Let’s win some elections.