I mentioned last week that I had purchased Winning Elections by Ron Faucheux. It contains 600+ pages of the best political advice from Campaigns & Elections, the magazine that, until recently, Faucheux edited and published.
One of the articles in the book was written by Joseph Napolitan, a long time Democrat political consultant. We may disagree politically, but I certainly respect him. He is a very good consultant.
I want to list some of his lessons that he writes about. Get the article or the book to read the lessons in detail. But, keep Dean in mind. These aren’t all of the lessons. In fact, Dean has done quite well with a number of them (there are over 100). But, I think the things he has messed up could have been avoided. Hindsight is 20-20 and, to some degree, these lessons are seen in hindsight. But, as a political consultant, they are things I keep in mind, though have never put on paper like Napolitan did. The numbers are mine. Napolitan has them in a different order, i.e. my number one below is his number 8. I will not write out all of his (just ten that stood out in my mind), but I do highlight a few for your consideration.
1. Never underestimate the intelligence of voters, nor overestimate the amount of knowledge at their disposal.
2. Negative attacks are better handled by third parties in paid media.
3. Perception is more important than reality.
4. Do not complicate the campaign.
5. What you hear in Peoria can be heard in Pasadena.
6. Try not to self-destruct.
7. Do not create exaggerated expectations — especially if you are likely to win.
8. Establish your own candidate’s credibility before you launch a negative campaign.
9. Restrain impassioned amateurs.
10. Use the newest technology — but don’t let it rule your campaign.
Okay, so those are very selected and aimed toward Dean’s campaign. There is a lot Dean is doing right, like using endorsements, harnessing the negativity of the incumbent (at least for the Dems), etc.
But, you do have to wonder about some of his missteps.