The Persuasion Game

Kumar Barve’s campaign manager, Seth Maiman, gets the star treatment in the Washington Jewish Week today. The life of the campaign operative is indeed a glamorous one.

a sit-down interview at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, where Maiman serves as executive vice president, he says in an unmistakable Brooklyn accent, “campaigns are about persuading voters for a long period of time, and over the course of persuading voters, you identify who your voters are, and at the end — literally in the last few days — you turn your campaign into one get-out-the-vote machine.”

But the nuts and bolts of that persuasive offensive takes time and considerable funds, particularly in a race with five, potentially six, other candidates.
“You have to communicate, you have to raise money, you have to have organization, paid media, free media, go out to the events,” said Maiman.

I’ve known Seth for a good while - we belong to the same synagogue and he’s as sharp as they come in this business. Plus a genuinely nice guy.

As the article notes Seth’s been around politics for a long time. While things have changed in some ways, the same fundamentals still hold true.

Maiman said that getting out the vote is more complicated than it was back then “because you have 10 days of early voting at multiple sites a couple of days before you actually have the election, so a lot of the old ‘get-out-the-vote’ mechanics are now supplemented by this whole early-voting thing.”

Paid media and social media are more prevalent than ever before. The candidates have websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. In a crowded race where a candidate could win with “certainly less than 50 percent and more like 30” percent of the vote, chasing down every vote is an imperative, but with a larger electorate comes new challenges.
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“In order to compete on a congressional level — because you just have that many more voters and that more of a national play coming in in terms of fundraising and support — the larger the electorate the less the candidate has the ability to meet everyone and meet everyone individually and the more they have to rely on paid media,” said Maiman.

Van Hollen ISO FOs

This just came across my Google Alert for all you job seekers out there. Looks like somebody has some money to spend.

The Van Hollen for Senate campaign is hiring Field Organizers for the 2016 primary election. Field Organizers are responsible for recruiting, training and managing regional volunteer teams, coordinating phone banks and canvasses and organizing local grassroots trainings. The chosen candidates will be directly responsible for delivering the margin of victory in their region.

Campaign Basics

Or, as Neal Carter would say, Campaign 101. As the Senate and House races take shape and candidates get to work, I’m going to try to post interesting articles on the nuts and bolts of various aspects of a good - or not so good - campaign machine. Yesterday, I saw this piece on avoiding your blast emails being trapped in spam hell. The fancy term is “deliverability.” Worth a read for the hard core campaign nerds out there.

Deliverability is an issue affecting nearly every campaign to some degree. Still, many candidates go through their races having no idea there’s even a problem with their mass email communication. Without recognizing the issue, they aren’t able to defend against it.

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If your email program breaks out statistics by Internet service provider (ISP), you can see if there’s a problem from a sudden drop off in deliverability. But in general, you can keep an eye on overall open and click rates, and pay attention if they suddenly nose dive. If you haven’t done a list cleaning in a while (or ever), or if you have had poor opt-in email practices, it’s a good bet that you have a deliverability problem now with one or more ISPs. The good news is that there are ways to fix this.

I particularly like the last of the nine suggestions. Bigger is not better as to email lists - bad practices turn a poorly managed list into spam very quickly.

It’s better to have a smaller list of engaged supporters than a large list that isn’t even receiving your messages, because they’re going directly to the spam folder. Cutting your list can seem scary, but it can translate to more votes, volunteers, and money if done right.


You’re Doing It Wrong

And when I say you, I mean “not me.” As those who have worked with me can tell you, I am not a coffee drinker. Maybe a cup or two a month, and even then only when absolutely necessary. I prefer my caffeine cold, and usually not until later in the day. According to this Washington Post article and the video below, the scientifically worst time to drink coffee is when you first wake up. So to all you bedraggled morning coffee drinkers, get your science right, start pounding coffee in the late morning or mid-afternoon, and leave us non-coffee addicts in peace. You’re welcome.