March 24, 2007
Back to the future
By Bill Kraus
As long as candidates believe they need money to win political office they will do whatever needs to be done to get the money they believe they need. And, thanks to the advice they get from the campaign management industry and its co-conspirators the TV station owners, candidates believe they need lots of money.
Scolding, regulating, threatening, all of those things and more are not going to change these beliefs.
Losing would. But that depends on voters being turned off by excessive spending or some kind of scandal. There is scant evidence that large numbers of voters are paying enough attention or care to notice that their votes are being bought. And even scandals don’t seem to have the effect they once did.
Perhaps a better route to getting candidates out of the begging business (which they must hate) and to avoid becoming a victim of scandals themselves would be to show them how to win without flirting with fiscal and/or moral bankruptcy.
The trick is to design a TV-less campaign.
What TV does, at its best, is get widespread name identification at the very least, and a thumbnail characterization of what the candidate will do if elected.
Billboards are both better and cheaper than TV at name identification.
People are better and cheaper and much more targeted than TV at characterization and explanation.
Politics used to be labor intensive. Friends and neighbors went door to door, made calls, sent postcards, carried the campaigns' messages and had the extra added benefit of endorsing both the candidates and the messages in the bargain.
It’s hard work putting a campaign organization together, but it is a campaign system that comes without strings. The only promise candidates have to make is to not disappoint all those people who did all that work to get them elected.
Better than being beholden to the factions and the money?
And it has the desirable side effect of bringing large numbers of people back into politics and to regaining its reputation as an honorable trade practiced by superior people.
post a letter about this blog »