Saturday, February 26, 2011
Barack Obama 2012: How to Win Elections. 4. Mikhail Kryzhanovsky
Debates are very important because they offer the only all-national event at which candidates can be judged. You and your opponent will be under huge stress as you both must operate simultaneously at the focus of attention of each other and of all elements of electorate. Debates are, actually, head-to-head confrontations with two main aspects: the pre-debate negotiations over whether there will be a debate, and the post-debate analysis of who did how well. The debates offer nothing new for the public and the basic strategy is to hope your opponent will make a mistake (President Ford made one in 1976, saying that: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” People just didn’t want to hear it. Richard Nixon was very wrong in 1960 trying to debate on substance, while his opponent, John F. Kennedy, concentrated on style and on presenting the correct presidential image).
While preparing for the winning debates you must:
- have a detailed file on your opponent and study all his speeches and statements; ask yourself: “What does he have that I don’t have?”
- train to answer all possible questions
- be ready to demonstrate deep knowledge of issues and your presidential bearing to a nationwide audience
- repeat your message but keep in mind that image is more important than ideas while you debate — people want to see your good looks, good clothes and nice smile.
And here are the debating “Don’ts”:
Don’t attack first — that’s a sign of weakness.
Don’t be over-polite — a little showmanship appeals to voters.
Don’t be too aggressive — it will ruin your image as a future President.
Don’t answer the questions too fast — that implies you are not thinking.
Don’t rush, no negative emotions, no sudden gestures (extra gestures mean that you are not surewhat you are saying is correct).
Don’t touch anything while you talk.
Don’t disappoint people — speak in a clear and simple way.
You restrict your influence if you sit.
Follow the rules :
Avoid anxiety reactions — speech errors, moistening of lips, perspiring, shifting eye movements, body jerks. Gesturing with fingers apart communicates weakness, while gesturing with fingers tightly together communicates power.
Look at your opponent with intense concentration — it gives the attitude of command and comfort of the situation. .
Answer a question you want to answer, no matter what question was asked.
If you give better answers, you are the better candidate.
Immediately after the debates your press officer has to give the media his biased impression and explain why you won the debates. Your pollster has to watch the polls results.
Speaking in Public
First things first - you have to know your own nation well. Here is a popular classification of American voters:
1. Entrepreneurs. Traditional Republicans driven by free enterprise economic concerns.
2. Moralists. Less affluent populist Republicans driven by moral issues, such as abortion.
3. New Dealers. Older traditional Democrats who are pro-government but socially conservative.
4. Sixties Democrats. Mainstream Democrats highly tolerant of varying lifestyles with strong beliefs in social justice.
5. Partisan poor. Low-income, mainly black, who believe in the Democratic Party as a vehicle for social change.
6. Passive poor. The older God-and-Country Democrats who have a strong faith in America and an uncritical attitude toward its institutions but favor social spending.
7. By-standers. Those who are mainly young, white and poorly educated and who show almost no interest in politics.
8. Upbeats. Young, optimistic moderates who lean toward the Republicans.
9. Disaffected. Middle-aged, pessimistic working class who, even though they have Democratic roots, lean toward the Republicans.
10. Seculars. Affluent and highly educated but lacking religious convictions; committed to personal freedom and peace.
11. Followers. Poor, young, uninformed blue-collar workers with little religious commitment and limited interest in politics.
Your aides have to determine the “theme of the day” and brief you about the day’s events and issues. To get elected you must promise economic growth with low inflation and balanced budget no matter how grave the economic situation is.
Don’t be too specific on issues and tell people they elect their way, not a candidate.
Cite the Bible.
Don’t look too intellectual.
State repeatedly that you’re not going to divide the nation into supporters and enemies, Democrats and Republicans, “my voters and other voters” — be a leader to all. (But first, to win the nomination you must appeal to the more liberal sections of your party if you are Democrat, and to more conservative sections if you belong to Republicans).
Don’t talk much; transform your thoughts into examples and slogans.
Never say you want power, even if you want to save the nation in crisis.
Never talk down on big business. Promise federal financing, especially in economic downturns.
Remember: voters are extremely sensitive to tax-cut proposals and which social segment would benefit from them. The middle class brings you victory, so promise tax cuts for these people, with tax increases for the wealthy and high unemployment rates.
Even if the economy is OK, point out the signs of coming crisis and promise to change the situation fast. Keep talking about problems, though it’s hard to win if the incumbent President runs for re-election with balanced budget and economic growth.
You can be liberal on domestic issues, but you have to be conservative on national security (defense and foreign affairs).
What to talk about where
Iowa, New Hampshire - farm problems, energy costs, trade issues
Northern “rustbelt” states - industrial concerns
Southern states - defense and social issues
New York State - unemployment
Use these tactics:
1.“Join the crowd” — this reinforces people’s natural desire to be on the winning side and it is used to convince the audience that your program is an expression of the nation’s desire for change, and it is in their best interest to join;
2. “Provoked disapproval” — persuade a target audience to disapprove your opponent’s message by suggesting that the message is popular with groups hated, feared or held in contempt by the target audience;
3. “Iinevitable victory” — you invite those who did not join majority;
4. “Neuro-linguistic programming” — you will be elected if you can do this better than your opponent and program the whole nation for a positive reaction. People always try to avoid anything and anybody unpleasant; and people are always looking for pleasant things and other pleasant people, somebody they want to meet again and again or at least see on TV. Everybody wants to be a winner; and to be a winner brings pleasure and self respect. Just convey this sense to the nation:
“Vote for me and you win!” or
“Vote for me or you lose!”
“The choice is yours!”
Now, you have to be the first to install this program in the voters’ minds and the other candidate has no chance.