Lessons for the Green Party: Joe Trippi review, Chapters 1 & 2.

Joe Trippi's Book

Joe Trippi's Book

There are a number of different ways that a fledgling party like the Green Party of Canada can learn how to ‘do’ politics. They can bloody their noses in election after election, learning the ABC’s. They can recruit political hacks from the old line Party’s to teach them. They can also take their opportunity to blend the old, and new by studying the published works of the hacks, and applying their brains to solving the old problems in new ways.
In a sense, that what the now famous Joe Trippi, past Campaign Manager for the Howard Dean campaign did. He took two decades of experience as a democratic Party hack, and tried some new stuff in a sort of a ‘hail mary’ pass, on behalf of a total no-hoper.

I just got back from my 7 year old daughters Tae Kwon Do practice, where I read the first two chapters from Joe Trippi’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. Now that I think about it, the matial arts background to my reading was much like traditional politics with blow and counterblow, defence then attack. Perhaps Judo would be a more appropriate background to studying a new way of ‘doing’ politics?

There are lessons to be learned from Trippi, but I caution my readers that US Presidential politics is a very different beast from Canadian Parliamentary politics. I have heard about, read about, and seen Greens trying to ‘do Trippi’ before. I think that the basic problem is that they have tried to duplicate a message and model that simply doesn’t translate. We don’t have anything comparable to the primary campaign, with thousands of local meetings on the schedule, and a ready made structure to hang a grassroots campaign on. If we try to rote learn Trippi, then once again, we’ll find out that it somehow doesn’t seem to work for us.

There is enormous potential in viral networking, but it is not the whole campaign. What many Greens have failed to grasp is that there needs to be a superstructure to graft that network onto. The Campaign team has to be there, doing what campaign teams do. They craft their message. They put organizations in place on the ground. They plan events to an externally dictated schedule, county by county, state by state, with the primary as the ultimate goal. What Trippi, and Obama have done is to harness the enormous potential of mass, unfiltered communications to recruit many hands and brains to help out. Trippi comes from a background of solid political fieldwork. Door to door canvassing. Organizing at the grassroots level. Fighting campaigns tooth and claw. He knows what he’s doing, but he IS a product of his political environment.

From tonights reading, I drew two useful things. The first thing is encapsulated by the following quotation from Trippi’s book: “Political organizing is all about finding people who think like you and drawing them into your organization any way that gets them involved — everything from canvassing to donating money to simply voting for your candidate — while at the same time trying to get your message out to people who haven’t decided yet.” There it is, in a nutshell. Everything that an organizer does is to serve these ends. GET like minded people INVOLVED! (Remember my posts about the pub nights? Easy, hassle free involvement in politics that’s actually FUN!)

The second was the simple observation that the Internet is a place where an unfiltered message can be communicated. There is no media to distort the intentions, or words presented to the community. A second ‘eworld’ observation is that the Internet enables people with common interests to assemble, and communicate in a community of sorts. The conclusion I draw is that: The mass presentation of an undistorted message enables assembling a community, and empowering this community for political action. Sounds too simple? The most powerful things are, So I’ll leave execution to my next posts.

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The Green Party post election re-canvas.

Hang up the Gloves time?

Hang up the Gloves time?

Here we are, 3 months after the October 14, 2008 election. All those long evenings of door knocking, delivering flyers and pounding the phones are a fast receding memory. You’ve probably hung up the gloves, and are wondering, with a little dread, if you’re going to be out doing it again in another couple of months. Or maybe you’ve been bitten by the bug, and you are starting to think that the Green Party of Canada has an historic role to fulfill, and you’re wondering what can be done to run a really effective campaign next time?

I’ve stressed before that politics needs to be fun, and that retaining and involving people in between elections is the key to your success in the next election. I’ve said before that hosting a regular monthly Pub night is a great way to keep everybody together in between elections. Just the act of sending a regular email to everybody letting them know that somethings going on will be enough to retain a degree of engagement. Many people will never come to a Pub night, until the media starts talking about the next election, then wham, bam, everybody shows up.

There is something extremely effective that can be done immediately that will have a great impact. I was taught about this by an old school Liberal, from whom I learned many things, some great, and others simply shockingly wicked. First of all, is the Candidate in your riding really committed to helping build the EDA? Perhaps your’ candidate has ambitions for the next municipal elections? Perhaps your’ EDA is consciously tag teaming between Federal and Provincial campaigns to build the supporter databases? Above all, is the candidate willing to invest a little time for an outstanding return? If you have any supporters lists at all, then this is the time to re-canvass the riding.

The Candidates Task

The Candidates Task

You’re probably thinking; ” Is blueblogger nuts?. We just got finished with a campaign, and he wants us out there canvassing again!” Well it’s not as daunting as it sounds. The job to get done is to straighten out all of the supporter lists that were generated in the campaign. You need to get every identified supporter into a poll by poll database, whether on a spreadsheet, or a more sophisticated database. Sort the identified supporters by street addresses, and get your’ ducks in a row. The Candidate will be going to the doors of all identified supporters in order to thank them personally for their support in the election. While at the door, the Candidate will ask them to continue their support in the future, and invite them to include their name, and email address in the pub night invitation list. Have something as a leave behind flyer, with the regular date and time of the Pub Night printed on it, and suggest they come along, and bring a friend for a purely social get together with some local Greens. For those who sound interested, have them join the Green Party. A piece of cake, and unless you have 10,000 I.D’d supporters, this will be doable over a couple of weeks.

No matter how big your’ EDA is, this is a fantastic tactic for growing the EDA. It’s not like you have to canvass huge numbers of people, because you’re only going after those supporters that you have already identified. I absolutely guarantee you that your’ canvass will be memorable for everybody that you talk to. You will have locked in many voters as Greens for life. Don’t cheap out and do this by telephone. That will have a marginal impact. You will need to get on it fairly quickly as well. If you wait until the spring, then many supporters will have forgotten that they ever promised to vote Green, and the impact will be greatly diminished. If we do end up having an early election, then you will be very fresh in their minds when you make your first telephone canvas to get signs and volunteers in place.

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Green Party: How to Campaign on a tiny budget.

green-party-signThe Green Party of Canada has a few strong riding associations, a few dozen weak, but capable ridings, and hundreds of vanishingly small EDA’s. There are a sprinkling of Greens with real election experience spread across the country. Often the genesis of a middling, or strong EDA was one or two people who knew what they were doing two or three elections ago. Without having an organization to work with, they set out to build their lists and membership by using the blast of interest and publicity that an election brings to the Party. I want to help the vast majority of EDA’s with a little advice on what you can do to prepare for, and capitalize on the next election.

A strong Campaign team will have a number of functions, that are co-ordinated by a Campaign Manger. The different functions would normally be headed up by the various ‘Chairs’ and I will list them as follows:

  • Fundraising Chair
  • Events Chair
  • Canvassing Chair
  • Telephone Canvassing Chair
  • Signs Chair
  • Communications Chair
  • Candidates Canvass
  • Volunteer Co-Ordinator
  • Campaign Office Manager
  • Financial Agent
  • Election Day Chair
  • Candidates Advisor (Normally lawyer who forms link between campaign and candidate)

The Candidate is missing! That’s deliberate folks. The candidate should be much too busy canvassing the critical polls, attending and speaking at the events, making the key fundraising calls, etc. to be distracted by the actual running and planning of a campaign! The Candidate will be converting votes all over the place, provided they are out there meeting new people constantly.

If you’re understaffed, underfunded, and under experienced like most Green Party of Canada Campaigns, then some of these functionaries will wear multiple hats, and some of these things simply won’t get done. The functions that simply must be made to happen are dependent upon the skills present in the campaign.

Without the big team envisaged above, you will have to figure out how to reach out and touch the

Wholesale Politics!

Wholesale Politics!

largest amount of people possible, with minimal human resources. That means ‘broadcast’ type communications. Make contact with the local press, and keep them informed about your’ campaign. Don’t be shy about asking them for publicity. They expect you to, and they can reach more people than you can with your message. Try your’ damnedest to get your signs in high traffic, and high visibility locations. Plan high visibility events. Main-street in busy pedestrian areas. Do flyer drops across whole areas of the riding. Just make sure that every single message hammers home the theme that people should get in touch with you! If you cannot go to them, then get them to come to you. That is why a website is sooo important. It will be able to gather in the volunteers, money, and build your mailing lists that will allow you to make a much stronger showing in the NEXT election. Your volunteers job when doing high visibility stuff is to drive volumes of people to the campaign website.

The Green Party of Canada website generates a huge amount of traffic, and many people from your’ riding will decide to join the Party, and volunteer their services online during an election. The cardinal rule of volunteer co-ordination is to have useful and interesting tasks ready to hand immediately. If somebody volunteers online, and gets a phone call a few hours later from a local Green asking them to help out with a specific task, they will be happy to help out. If you fail to engage the new volunteer immediately, you will probably lose them, and may even leave them disenchanted with the Green Party.

You must fundraise. Every member, past supporter, past member, and sign taker on your’ EDA’s lists must be approached, and asked for $400 – $1,100. Not everybody will give, but you will be pleasantly surprised how many people will simply pony up the cash to support what they believe in. Without money, you will be able to achieve little.

You will need a signs team. They will be needed to get out there and place election signs, as well as keep tabs on damaged and vandalized signs for replacement during the Campaign. If you expect to place 100 signs, one person can do it on a pretty casual basis. If your target is 1,000 signs, then you will need a few people, and somebody will be out every night placing new, and replacing old signs.

The Canvass is problematic. You need to be out there ID’ing the vote, but it takes a lot of feet on the pavement to contact tens of thousands of people. If you have the technical skills on the team, then you can populate a database with phone numbers. {I have heard rumours that some people can write scripts to pull thousands of phone numbers from online phone directories. ;-) }. By telephone canvassing, you can reach a lot more people in a short amount of time, and you can target main streets for example for an arterial sign canvass. Make sure you conduct an analysis of past election results, and try to canvas the polls with the most green voters in them. Remember that home owners vote twice as often as renters, so try to go for home owners foremost. That’s the low hanging fruit that you need to ID.

Your’ communications MUST develop a website, and make sure that any brochures, signs, and literature has a consistent theme and message to visit it. Make sure that you are able to collect the names and addresses of voters online. Every voter who identifies themself has saved about one hour of volunteer time.

There will definitely be some events that need planning. There will be the kick off meeting, and victory party at a minimum. The kick off should be a combination of social and business. Get all your membership in one room for a nice get-together. Make sure there’s food and drink. Have the Campaign manager lay out the basic plan, and then immediately ask for volunteers for the specific functions, and ask for donations please. If out of 10 or 15 people 2 or 3 write a cheque out for $400, or $1,100, everybody will pull out their cheque books, and you will graduate from a broke campaign to one with thousands of dollars. If someone jumps up and lays a $20 bill on the table, you are in trouble. (hint hint) During the campaign, you should have one social fundraiser at least, and you will need to plan for all candidates debates, and other public invitations to the candidate. Make sure there are socializing opportunities along the way, so that people don’t forget to have fun while they’re at it.

The election day chair (EDC) is probably redundant to the low budget campaign. In the traditional campaign, the EDC takes over the whole campaign apparatus on advanced poll days for the dry run, and on the actual E-Day. Their job is to staff the polls with scrutineers, set up the runners to bring in the lists of who voted, arrange transportation to the polls for elderly and infirm supporters, and generally run the Poll by Poll GOTV machine. The low budget campaign will probably be limited to picking up the phone, and calling everybody to go and vote at the advanced polls, and then again on E-Day. This still must be done. Every vote counts, and you will have a better idea of what you’re doing when the next election comes along.

The last person to consider is the Candidate. Public speaking ability is an asset. If the candidate joins toastmasters, then he or she can get a little experience in delivering to a group. Really, really try to get a candidate who can devote some time to canvassing. There is a technique colloquially called power canvassing. This is where a small team canvasses with the candidate by going ahead of him/her, and holding people at the door. This way, the candidate can rush from door to door, and not have to wait for people to come to the door. You can develop signals so that the candidate is made aware of what issue the elector is interested in. Maybe point to a part

Running for Office Shoes

Running for Office Shoes

of the campaign flyer while introducing the elector to the candidate. The candidate can then deliver a ‘canned pitch’ in 30 seconds. Ask, ‘Can I count on your vote on election day?’ then ‘Can we put up a sign on your lawn tonight?’. Mark off the supporters name on your list, and run to the next elector talking to another team member at the next doorstep. A team like this can canvas quite a few thousands of people, and the candidate will win a lot of wavering voters just by showing up and shaking their hand. Make damn bloody sure you wear comfortable shoes! Dressy running shoes are the best, and the campaign should be ready to buy a new pair when you’ve worn them out. We’re a young Party, so you can literally ‘run for office’, and put the old Party’s to shame!

Above all else, always have one cardinal rule you follow. Make Politics FUN! If all of your team works their buns off, but has a great time, then your campaign team will grow and grow. When the next Campaign comes along, the pro’s will be looking forward to it, and the team will be much bigger, and better funded because of your efforts in the previous campaign.

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Alarming Poll Results for Green Party of Canada

Green Party Canada trend

Green Party Canada trend

I’m not one to slavishly follow public opinion polls. Generally speaking the public ones don’t have large enough sample sizes, or are on-the-cheap online polls. The January 7’th Nanos Poll was a proper telephone interview with a large sample size. This poll showed the Green Party’s support dropping rom 10% nationally in December to 7%. The January 14’th Strategic Counsel Poll showed Green Party suport steady at 8% between Dec. 3 2008, and Jan. 14. The sample size was 1000 by telephone interview. The Jan. 15’th Angus Reid online poll showed Green Party support dropping from 8% nationally on Dec. 12, 2008 to 5%. I don’t 100% trust the Angus Reid methodology, despite it’s remarkable success, and I remain convinced that they will be caught out big-time when voter behaviour changes, but all three polls will have exercised consistent methodology over the 1 month period discussed. I guess that the news is that, in my opinion, the Green Party support is being eroded below a level I would have considered base support 6 months ago.

If you follow my Blog, you’ll know that I am not surprised at all by the Ignatieff Liberals big comeback. I think he’ll build on it in fact. What really worries me is that the Liberals have not done a thing to target the Green Party, but the Green Party of Canada support level has fallen pretty dramatically when compared to most intra-election polls from the past two years.

Yes, I know that the Green Party of Canada got roughly 7% of the vote in the election. These polls show around 7% GPC support amongst the electorate right? Well the difference is that a large chunk of the whole electorate doesn’t vote. The Green Party of Canada gains a disproportionate number of it’s supporters from Canadians who don’t expect to vote. Ipsos Reid has been pretty good at publishing this kind of analysis in the past, but it’s not isolated to Ipsos results. Other pollsters have shown the same thing. I do not know the methodology that Nanos uses to adjust for this factor, and they certainly predicted pretty accurately for the 2008 election, but remember folks that our support levels are really only a smidgin above 2006 levels, and next time around we won’t have the Liberal Party leadership pulling for us.

So what’s the message for the Green Party here? In a word, TROUBLE. The lack of strategic direction in Elizabeth May’s, ‘anything but the Conservatives’ message is coming home to roost. The Green Party is not really differentiated in the eyes of the electorate, because over the past two years they have not been staking out any ground of their own. “Anything but the Conservatives” now means “Vote for Ignatieff and the Liberals”. Make no mistake, the Liberal Party is not blind, and they know as well as anybody that they must bury the Green Party if they ever want to form a majority. When they actually start their machine rolling, they will craft the most telling positive message they can think of to appeal to Green Party supporters. I genuinely fear what impact this will have on the GPC in the next Federal Election.

It’s not a foregone conclusion though. Elizabeth May still has some cachet left, and if she spends her considerable talents promoting a positive message all about the Green Party, then she can possible forestall the slide. She must NOT forget that we need to appeal to Progressive Conservatives no less than Liberals, so a return to the neither left, nor right, but forward message would do very nicely thank you. Let the other Party’s bash each other while we stand above the fray. Continue to build the pressure by growing our tranche of habitual supporters across the spectrum. It’s worked for 4 years without a really visible spokesperson, so why wouldn’t it work when we actually have national media coverage?

I believe that we can actually turn the tables on the Liberals, and grow again at their expense. The

I meant to do that!

Elizabeth May: I meant to do that!

Conservatives will be vulnerable amongst their progressive supporters. We can so easily double our support levels over the next year. This pre-supposes that Elizabeth is paying attention, and won’t simply shrug this off as the vagaries of public polling. This is a wakeup call for Elizabeth May.

The Green Party elected Elizabeth May as leader for the simple reason that she would be capableof bringing much needed publicity, and increased membership to the Party. I personally convinced hundreds of members, and EDA executives to support her leadership bid for these very pragmatic reasons. Given that her popularity is sliding fast amongst her own membership and the electorate. Given that membership levels are not increasing. Given that the media is starting to back away from their previous adulation, Elizabeth May is approaching some rocky shoals. There are no magic bullets to turn it around. The Green Party of Canada must begin a systematic campaign to win members, volunteers, organize, and make a mark in the public mind. We might yet be hearing Elizabeth May say: “I meant to do that”

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Elizabeth May’s By-Election promise: Will fortune favour the bold?

Elizabeth By-Election Bound?

Elizabeth By-Election Bound?

According to an interview given to the Canadian Press by Elizabeth May, and published in the Westcoaster.ca, Elizabeth May promised to run at the earliest By-election opportunity, anywhere in the country. I think that’s rather a bold promise, given that actuarial mortality tables, and the vagaries of politics will govern precisely where the next by-election will be called. A similar promise was made by Elizabeth May when she was elected Leader two years ago, and that didn’t turn out as well as it might have. Now I must confess that I counseled against Elizabeth May’s London North-Centre by-election run in 2007. I suggested that it was an unlikely spot to elect Elizabeth, and that failing in a By-Election would cripple her credibility. Elizabeth was adamant about running, because she had made a public commitment to run at the earliest opportunity. I was pleasantly surprised by the flood of volunteers and cash that ensued. If it weren’t for the badly mis-managed campaign, Elizabeth May would have had a seat in Parliament. Even more pleasantly surprising was the media’s willingness to accept the spin that a strong second place was a victory of sorts. Still, I would have thought that Elizabeth had learned her lesson about promising to run a race in a location yet to be determined.

There are no By-Elections on the immediate horizon, but the first intimations of a possibility now exist. CBC reported on January 13’th that Independent MP Bill Casey won’t be seeking re-election. That isn’t to say that Casey will resign, but he has indicated pretty certainly that he is seeking to pursue another career. I may be wrong, but it sounds like the very popular MP will be leaving if the right offer comes his way.

It doesn’t take a ‘rocket surgeon’ to figure out that Elizabeth really, really wants to win a seat next to her hometown. She wanted to work from home so badly, she was willing to delude herself that the double dealing Peter Mackay was vulnerable in Central Nova. She genuinely believed that she had a chance there in the 2008 general election. Since Bill Casey currently represents Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, which is the riding adjacent to Central Nova, Elizabeth will really, really want to believe in winning there. Will her belief be correct?

To answer, let us have an objective look at Casey’s riding. Since it was created it has been very damn solidly Progressive Conservative, with the exception being the annihilation of the

Bill Casey Independent

Bill Casey Independent

Conservatives when Mulroney fled politics. Bill Casey was able to take it independent after being kicked out of the Conservative caucus in 2007 over the budget vote. He is very popular, and it can be fairly argued that he bore the Progressive Conservative banner more truly than does today’s Conservative Party. I think it’s fair to say that, like much of Nova Scotia, this riding is as Progressive Conservative as it gets. Certainly far more consistently so than Alberta, for example. Other than the above noted exception, the PC’s always out polled the next two party’s combined. In 8 out of the last 13 elections, they won an outright majority. The rest of the time they merely beat the crap out of their Liberal foes. There is more to be said against Elizabeth’s Chances, but the best argument against is that a close split in the vote simply doesn’t exist.

The arguments in favour of Elizabeth May running in Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley are fourfold. Firstly, this is Elizabeth’s stomping grounds. She has a pretty good network of friends and supporters in the area, and is the quintessential neighbourhood activist. That will translate into volunteers. Secondly, the long standing incumbent, currently independent Bill Casey has demonstrated that loyalty to the new and improved Conservative Party brand is pretty thin. With a popular incumbent retiring, long standing loyalties will be disturbed, and this represents an opportunity to capture progressives amongst the Progressive Conservative camp. Thirdly, it’s a By-Election, and so nobody much gives a damn. There will be an opportunity to appeal to Nova Scotian’s fair mindedness, and invite them to allow 1,000,000 Canadian Green Party voters to have at least one representative in Parliament. Since the National Government will not be at stake, people might just toss Elizabeth May their vote. Fourthly, there is unquestionably a ‘leaders premium’ that Elizabeth would earn with the electorate.

If we compare Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley to Central Nova, I guess that the chances for a seat in a by-election are pretty good. It will depend upon the other contenders, and will require a real-to-goodness campaign manager though. My arguments in favour were compelling enough that I changed the title of this post from ‘look before you leap’ to ‘will fortune favour the bold?’ It’ll certainly be much better than keeping her promise to run in Central Nova a second time, and holding the seat next door will be an excellent excuse to break her vow to run against Mackay in un-winnable Central Nova in the next general election. Elizabeth Mat must be cautious now. If she runs again, and fails, she risks more than just being held up for ridicule by the press. Her own Party wants and needs better organizing skills at the centre.

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Green Party of Canada and the Campaign Plan for 2009

Is Elizabeth Mays message on target?

Is Elizabeth Mays message on target?

Yesterday I was browsing through the Green Party of Canada blogs, and ran across an interesting thread. It was pretty encouraging, because it began to address one of the fundamental weaknesses of the Green Party of Canada. The lack of a War Room, and the corresponding strategic void in election planning. In this thread, some GPC types were arguing about the hows and whys of developing an election slogan. (meaning Campaign Theme).

I believe that the Green Party of Canada exists for the purpose of contesting elections, and driving our message home to the electorate. We are not a club, or an NGO. We are attempting to become a GO, in order to directly, and indirectly influence public policy. We aren’t in this to make a quick buck. We are in it because we care, and have decided that the best way to bring about the required changes in public policy is through direct political action. The question remains as to HOW we can do this.
In order to help out the debate, which deals with concepts new and foreign to many Greens, Ikinsellaswarroom thought I would throw up a quick summary of some elements of a book I read a little while ago. The book is entitled ‘The War Room’ by Warren Kinsella. Kinsella is a pretty sharp Liberal, (Chretien brand) hack who has joined the Ignatieff team. The book is not stellar, but it can certainly do no harm, (except to your’ pocketbook!). My bet is that Kinsella will run the Liberal War room in the next election, so his modus operandi should be required reading for the GPC election readiness people.
The Campaign theme is the very last step in the development of the Campaign Plan. The plan, (In Kinsella’s view) consists of 10 elements:

  1. Money: How much, and when?
  2. Campaign Structure: Who does what and where.
  3. Campaign Calendar: Bluegreenblogger works on the basic 36 day election calendar.
  4. Know your Candidate: Summary of your’ Candidates Strength Weakness Opportunity Threats.
  5. Know Your Opposition: Same as for your’ own candidate.
  6. Target Audience: What do they think today, and where do you want to move them to?
  7. Key Messages: What you will say to your target audience, and how you will deliver the message.
  8. Campaign Context: What people are, or may be thinking about from ‘away’. (Like, is there an economic crisis looming that will change EVERYTHING?)
  9. Geography: The physical geographic parameters of the campaign.
  10. Campaign Strategic Theme: The front door pitch. (And incidentally the slogan)

These things don’t happen in sequence. They happen more or less in conjunction with one another. The key is that the Campaign Strategy is data, and fact driven. The tactics are of secondary importance. Strategy is static, and shouldn’t change one iota. Tactics can, and should be devised to adapt to changing campaign context, and incidents.

Target audience, and key messages are the hand, and the glove. Here’s an illustration. The strategic objective is to double support in the election, while gaining official party status in Parliament. You need to decide which electors you need to persuade to vote for you to achieve this goal, and the messages that will suffice to do the persuading. Start with an issues based analysis of the electorate, and determine what strong Green Party issues resonate with which demographic. How strongly will these issues influence the voting decision? Where are the target groups located geographically? For the ridings you are targeting to win, how will you assemble a plurality of voters on election day? This will require a large telephone survey of the electorate. It will require long interviews with a lot of people to gather this type of intelligence. This will provide unarguable FACTS to work with. Yes it costs money, but if you don’t do it, you will piss away far more in the next election, delivering the wrong message to the wrong people.

When you have determined your’ target audience, and the issues, you need to develop the key messages. Have the campaign team start preparing messages, and policy statements. The Green Party is rife with great policy. We cannot pitch each and every line to every voter, so start focusing on those that will do the most good to our cause.

When you have assembled a good looking platform, it’s time to go back to the electorate with your test messages, and see if they’re strong enough to do the job. The more important the target audience, the larger your survey sample sizes need to be. When you have PROVEN that your key messages are effective, and can get the job done, THEN you prepare your Campaign Theme. (ie. Your slogan). Test this again, both with focus groups, and by survey.

With this kind of electoral intelligence in hand, the Campaign plan will all fall into place, with the vast amount of organizing required to plan the who and how to deliver the message having actual targets to focus on. I have not revealed any great secrets here. Just about every published Campaign strategist, or political consultant in the democratic world will lay out a comparable planning process. It in no way goes against green principles to find out exactly how we are going to achieve our political objectives. It hurts me to see Greens floundering with the basics, when they should be sharpening their skills, and gathering the resources needed to achieve great things in the next election. It is so totally doable! Lets go and get that Official Party status!

If you liked this post, and want to help publicize it, why not click the facebook, or another link here?

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The Liberal Gift to the Green Party of Canada.

liberal_logoI know I have been blogging a lot on the Liberal party lately. That is because I think that the re-vitalization of the Liberals will pose the biggest threat to the Green Party of Canada in the next Election. The threat the Liberals pose to the Conservatives, and NDP is greater though, because Stephan Dion presented an enormous gift to the GPC. Ignatieff will shortly add a bow and ribbon to it. That gift goes by the name of ; ‘The Green Shift’.

Most of my readers will remember that a Green Tax shift, and the use of market mechanisms to

Green Party Concept

Green Party Concept

fight pollution have been an integral part of Green Party policy for years now. Having studied neo-classical economics, this is in fact the main policy plank that prompted me to join the party in 2004. I was astounded that somebody had the balls to propose a revenue neutral tax on a seriously bad externality, in order to address the root causes. Now that’s good public policy, and has won thousands of volunteer hours from me.

As we all know, Stephan Dion championed a flawed version of this most excellent policy in the 2008 election. It is not hyperbole to state that he failed miserably to sell the package to the electorate. What he did do though, is catch the attention of millions of Canadians, and there is no doubt that there are millions of Canadians with whom the message resonated, even if the messenger earned a bullet.

Ignatieff Burying Dion

Ignatieff Burying Dion

In the process of re-casting the Liberal Party in his own image, Michael Ignatieff will almost certainly hide the green tax shift in the deepest hole he can find. That is the Green Party’s great opportunity. An awful lot of thoughtful Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, and moderate apolitical Canadians will not want to see this great Tax Credit plan disappear, so it is time for the Green Party to really work the issue. After all, there is just no way to claim that Tax Shifting is fringe policy anymore.

So, in a nutshell this is the Liberal Party’s gift to the Green Party of Canada. They borrowed one of our main policy planks. They spent millions of dollars, and tens of millions worth of free publicity to promote a flawed version of our policy to the electorate. Now they will hand it back to us saying, ‘It’s broken, you can have it.’ My response is ‘Thank you very much’. Now we can re-polish it as a tax relief plan, and scoop up those Progressive Conservative, and Liberal voters who actually care about good policy. Just like you and me.

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