A political cookbook. How fun.
A Recipe for getting elected as a progressive in Newburyport, MA.
1) Don’t tell anyone that you are a progressive. Keep that a deep dark secret (especially in Wards 4, 5 and 6). Wait until after you are elected and then work on initiating your progressive agenda.
After the election for the school override this Tuesday, one can surmise that Newburyport has conservative as well as centrist tendencies (even in Wards 1 and 3).
2) Don’t ask anyone to spend money by raising their taxes, no matter how worthy the cause. It appears that after Tuesday’s election that that one could be a very hard sell.
3) Don’t accuse any other candidate of secretly campaigning against the CPA (Community Preservation Act). Most folks are now well aware that messing in any way with the CPA would not be a good way to win friends, much less actually get elected.
4) Go out and meet people. Let them get to know you. Given the choice between voting for someone they know and like and voting for someone they don’t know, or worse they don’t like, folks will almost always vote for the friendly human being.
5) Talk about the weather, people’s pets, their grandchildren, their children, their garden. Talk about them. People want to be known on a human level and be heard and listened to. Don’t talk about yourself. For goodness sakes, never make it all about you.
6) Make sure the folks on your campaign are open and friendly. If someone doesn’t agree with you as a candidate, make sure the folks on your campaign are gracious, and thank them for caring about the community. It might even win hearts and change minds.
7) Believe it or not, most folks really aren’t that interested in issues. Sorry. And most folks are pretty astute. One look and they know what you basically stand for. Progressives seem to have a certain “aura” and it usually is pretty evident.
8) Be vague on issues. People will project what they want to believe about you. When they find out later that you’re a flaming progressive, they will be shocked.
9) Ask people for their vote. Or at least tell them that you hope that they will vote for you in November. People actually like this and they remember the invitation.
10) Don’t get too worked up about the debates. Mostly only people working on campaigns show up at debates. The biggest thing is to come across as likeable and believe it or not, not too bright. For some reason a display of brash braininess and vast competence appears to be seen as arrogant. Go figure, but in Newburyport, MA, it appears to be true.
So if you are competent and really, really smart, or are under the illusion that you might be competent and really, really smart, most definitely play it down. You may think that this is tongue in cheek, but actually, I’m not kidding here.
11) Enjoy yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. People are drawn to candidates who have a certain “joy of life.”
12) And finally, for the last tidbit, that last dash of salt, shake of pepper, be gracious in victory, and be gracious in defeat. And remember that if you send your friendly local blogger a not so nice email or vaguely attack your friendly local Newburyport blogger in print, it could, maybe, perhaps, possibly, perchance, conceivably be referenced on the Newburyport Blog.