OK, pop quiz:
Was it a Democrat or a Republican who said the following in announcing their congressional campaign?
“I am running for Congress because I believe we can fix the serious problems facing Nevada and our country. Our state leads the nation in unemployment and foreclosures and for far too long Washington politicians have been out of touch. Nevada voters have my word that I will work every day to get government out of the business of punishing our job creators and in the business of protecting and preserving Social Security and Medicare for our seniors.”
“We can improve our economy and get people back to work if we send people to Congress who are committed to sound fiscal policy, sensible tax policy and regulatory reform. I am committed to protecting and preserving Social Security and Medicare for our senior citizens and for future generations.”
Time’s up. The answer is:
It doesn’t matter.
This two-paragraph statement says absolutely nothing. It’s so milquetoast that either a Democrat or a Republican could have said it and no one would know the difference. It’s pap. It’s pabulum. A total waste of ink, let alone political opportunity.
Get this straight: Campaigns are all about CONTRAST.
And your announcement is often the best opportunity your campaign will have to contrast yourself with your opponent. First impressions mean a LOT. Why waste it by issuing such a wishy-washy statement?
In EVERY communication from your campaign you should look for ways to contrast yourself, your experience, your philosophy and your record with your opponent and/or your opponent’s party or organization.
More importantly, in this particular case the candidate is a decided underdog. As such, they should be “picking a fight” with the opposition from Day One.
You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Don’t waste the opportunity when you announce your candidacy.
Dr. Chuck Muth
Professor of Psephology