In Political Campaigns, Focus on What Matters and Ignore the Rest

It’s a situation I’ve seen in countless local races: a candidate has a good game plan, but he just can’t stop worrying about what the other guy is doing.

political campaign strategy“What’s my opponent doing this week?” he asks. “Where is he knocking on doors? When is he having his fundraiser? What is he telling people about me?”

He worries, and he stews, and he snoops, and he watches. Pretty soon, that candidate with a good game plan is paying more attention to his opponent than he is to his own campaign.

I have a simple response to every candidate who wants to know exactly what their opponent is doing, at every moment: who the heck cares?

If you’ve done your homework, put together a killer campaign plan, and have the determination to work hard, then it really doesn’t matter what your opponent is doing. Sure, if you’re running for governor or president of the United States, you’re going to have to respond to some of your candidate’s tactics. But in the vast majority of political campaigns, paying close attention to your opponent’s every action is a monumental waste of time.

Let me tell you what wins an election: good fund raising, good grassroots work, good message, good voter outreach and good get-out-the-vote efforts. “Good snooping” isn’t a part of that equation.

If you’re working as hard as you possibly can to make your campaign a success, then there’s little your opponent can do to thwart your efforts, anyway. Every moment you spend trying to find out what the other guy is doing equals one less door knocked on, one less phone call made, one less dollar raised.

Here’s the thing, though: gossiping and worrying about black helicopters is a heck of a lot easier than actually knocking on doors and making phone calls. The lazy candidate tries to find out how other people think he’s doing; the hard-working candidate gets out there and makes sure he’s doing well.

Don’t be the lazy candidate. Don’t worry about what the other guy is doing; instead, worry about what you are doing. Worry about meeting your campaign goals. Worry about winning on election election day.

And remember: if you work hard enough, it’s your opponent who will end up worrying about what you’re up to.

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