During a trip to the Clinton Library in Arkansas, we found this, the 1982 Arkansas Republican Party campaign manual:
But inside, you'll find the three basic "laws" of campaign communications, which are amazing and are as follows:
Here they are in all their glory:
1. Truth is what the people believe.
It has very little to do with fact. So base your communications strategy in the firm footing of attitudes within your district. You can change people's perceptions of what you stand for, but you cannot, at least in the context of a campaign, change what they stand for.
2. Greed is the only consistent human characteristic.
Nobody does something for nothing, in the final sense. The payback may not always be physical or monetary, it can be spiritual, ethical, or biological. But somehow, if you are going to get someone to vote for you, you have to offer him something in return. And, given that most people do not care nearly as much about politics as those of us who work in it full time, the more specific that something can be, the more related to his own personal needs, goals, and aspirations, the more likely it is to serve as a motivation for him to do what you want him to do — vote for you.
3. There are three kinds of people who are susceptible to flattery: men, women, and children.
We Republicans are very good at the technical aspects of campaigning, probably better overall than our opponents. But we are often miserable at the people aspects. Volunteers must be thanked, not just after the campaign, but during it, too. Flattery also works on people with whom the candidate comes into contact within his day-to-day campaigning — his goal in a handshaking tour should be to have everyone he shakes hands with get the impression that he has been wading through all those other people just to get to him. Flattery is also important when considering the constituency as a whole. Never insult the people by telling them how bad off they are — a frequent Republican mistake because we think that by following such a statement with an accusation blaming the situation on the incumbent Democrats we can win votes. It doesn't work. Attack your opponent, yes. But flatter the people at all times.
Also, the party outlines the four ways to defend yourself in a campaign:
In general, there are four types of defense; in descending order of effectiveness, they are:
"I didn't do it."
"I did it, but it's not like you think."
"I did it, but I promise not to do it again."
"The person who says I did it is a scoundrel."
Here's the full manual:
Ilan Ben-Meir is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ilan Ben-Meir at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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