For political campaign junkies like myself, the kickoff of election season is much like the Superbowl for sports fans. While there’s no shortage of political stories and commentaries throughout the year, actual political campaign news–analysis of the tactics, strategies and science of campaigning–is tough to find until election season hits.
I enjoy reading political punditry and opinion as much as the next person, but as an elected official and former campaign consultant, it’s the meat-and-potatoes stories from the campaign trail trenches that really pique my interest. And while we all have a tendency to root for one side or another, those of us who watch other campaigns for teachable moments have learned to dissect election results with the same fervor regardless of who wins the race.
If you’re a political office holder, candidate, consultant, or even a volunteer, you should learn to keep up-to-date on political campaign news, as well. It’s fine to read the political opinion columns and editorials every day, but if you only follow partisan coverage you’re not going to learn much about the actual art and science of political campaigning.
In addition to the political news that you ingest every day, make a habit of trying to find objective media sources that comment on what works–and what doesn’t–in political campaigns across the country. These types of campaign-centered blogs, websites and publications aren’t hard to find, and you’ll probably be surprised how many sources you discover just by searching for “political campaigning” on your favorite online search engine.
Additionally, start making a habit of watching how political campaigns and candidates operate with a careful eye on what strategy and tactics they might be employing. Start visiting some of the many political polling websites that can be found online and watch how the opinions of voters fluctuate as the political environment changes. Take note of what works, what doesn’t work, and what you’d like to employ in your own campaign someday.
Although it’s a bit more difficult to find objective political campaign news before election season hits, there are plenty of sources both online and offline that can add to your accentuate your campaigning education every day. By looking at political news with the eye of a professional campaign manager, you can develop a sort of “sixth sense” for the best strategies to make your particular campaign successful on election day.