Your Brand

Political strategists often debate the ins and outs of creating a positive brand identity for any candidate for public office. This is more important than appearance, communication or background. What the voters look for is a belief system that can be quantified into a nutshell like “conservative” or liberal” so they know at a glance if they want to know more. As a campaign manager, I know the political landscape is complex requiring specific knowledge of the system and how to convey specific qualities to stir public interest. It is a kind of selling, in effect, not that different from the work that a salesman does with helping their customer with choosing the right vacuum cleaner.

With any product on the market, you want to be clear on the features and all benefits associated with them. It doesn’t matter if the machine has attachments if the user wants an all-in-one device. The vacuum could have an extension cord or six feet—but so irrelevant if the person doing the job has no nearby electrical outlet. When you list a feature such as compact size, low cost, great design, or superior suction, you also ask “so what” at the same time. The answer determines whether the product will be a good or bad choice.

With a political candidate, he or she has certain features like: political party affiliation, state of residency, work history, age, and other common concerns. None of it matters if the person does not share values with the voter. If the individual running for office has no experience or is rather old, it may or may not have bearing on what they believe constitutes the government’s role in policy making. As with a vacuum, the interested party wants to check off certain points on their decision list.

As candidates battle for sound bites, the voters crane their necks to listen for buzz words. While a vacuum cleaner is associated with low noise, light weight, infrequent breakdown, and flexibility, political brand identity revolves around ethics and honesty, voting track record, and basic platform. It all works according to the same psychological mechanism. No one wants a candidate who flip flops their beliefs. Thus, authenticity reigns supreme. Credibility is as important for a manufacturer as a person seeking office. Both a company and a candidate have to “tell it like it is.”

It may be hard to create a brand identity, but there are masters of the science who do it with great ease. They know how to manipulate the media and promote at the same time. The issues of the day will outweigh most other factors. Even vacuum cleaners have them as there are trends that dominate purchase decisions. Now it is all about cordless whereas decades ago it was about an internal plug-in system.

Brand identity with candidates can relate to strong faith and religious values, rejection of government interference, or a bias toward certain goals in society. No matter what it is, there is an art to crafting it and making it known.

We Win!

There are different rewards when you run political campaigns and most revolve around the candidate winning. In the last election, I also happened to get a bonus after helping someone win a state congressional campaign. It gave me the opportunity to decide how to use the money. Most of the time, I spend my income on business, travel or other practical matters. Now it was time to upgrade my kitchen to include the best touchless kitchen faucet. I kid you not. This had become a priority since the old faucet started to malfunction. It was beyond repair so why not replace it with the newest model. Touchless is the latest in a long line of innovations including instant hot and filtered cold water. Faucets are flexible and come in varying finishes and sizes that fit your sink perfectly. You would not buy the same one for a utility sink as for a bathroom or kitchen. A super long neck is an asset as long as you can move it up. It is all about ease and convenience.

I really got into the research and found out all the details of the touchless faucet. Let me tell you blog readers, they are a marvel. Not only do they look amazing with their super modern design, but you can work hands free while performing various kitchen tasks. Anyone who has held a knife in one hand and a bag of frozen peas in another knows what I mean. You no longer have to put things down. Touchless faucets save time and effort for sure. I had to have one. It was easy to select the best in my price range. They have all come down in cost as demand has increased for the novelty. It has now become a requirement for new construction. It is also a plus for home resale.

As for me, it was the simple need to upgrade so as to speed up the cooking process that can take up so much time. I fly through the kitchen. I like to work fast with something in each hand. Kohler, Virtu, Moen, Delta and Franke all had ample choices. There are probably more brands who have jumped on the technological train. Some genius in the R & D department of one of them originated the concept and all followed suit. It is like a grass roots political idea that gains momentum as the public discovers it. What is new often becomes old hat. We are not there yet with the touchless faucet. It still surprises me.

I often wonder how these marvels work. Some have alternate or optional handles, but I prefer the clean lines of the basic model. The whole thing makes for a more hygienic working and cleanup environment. This certainly adds to the value. It is said to be “technology in tune with your every move.” A wave of the hand activates the system. You can even use a utensil or pot. It operates on a precision-designed built-in sensor. The benefits are reliability and no false operation. It is state of the art perfection that goes on in 20 milliseconds. I am impressed.

Big Tobacco vs Public Health

I almost remember a time when people smoked like fiends, or I have heard about it from my parents and grandparents. Smokers were hooked from an early age and no one made a fuss about it. Big tobacco was not yet under attack and continued to advertise in all media. Free samples were given out to college students. Yes, it happened!

It is a billion-dollar industry that produces a product that kills. It took a long time to have smoking banned in restaurants and public places. Laws helped to minimize the impact of second hand cigarette smoke. It was up to everyone to protect his or her health, using tips like these: https://www.nomoresmokesmell.net/minimize-impact-cigarette-smoke/.

There was a time when you could smoke on airplanes, in your hospital room, while reading in the library or watching a movie. If you watched Mad Men, you noticed in horror that pregnant women smoked and also indulged in their kids’ rooms. Times have certainly changed. It is not all settled, however, and politicians must deal with the tobacco industry on various levels. They support campaigns on Facebook and many favored policies. As a huge conglomerate, they need to be recognized for their monetary power. Constituents of these politicians have another story to tell regarding health problems. They either have asthma or know someone who suffers from respiratory ailments. There are definitely both sides of the issue at hand.

Everyone has a right to smoke whether you practice the habit or not. There is no question about that. But they don’t have the right to harm others. I support the laws completely. Political candidates sometimes skirt the issue unless asked point blank. They don’t want to attack big tobacco that might be a supporter financially of their campaigns. They have been known to do this on a widespread basis. It won’t result in a repeal of the laws; I guarantee that. The genie has been let out of the bottle. They do want to incur another type of attack. There is a media campaign afoot about the production of enticing edible products for kids that lead to addiction. God knows what is in these ersatz candies.

I tell the politicians I advise to form a position on all sides of the cigarette/youth question in the event this should arise at a press conference or while running for re-election. I don’t want them to lie but I also don’t want them to jeopardize their popularity with non-smokers. Maybe an evasive response would be satisfactory. Something that shows neutrality. It is a touchy issue and difficult to discuss. The best defense might be to stop receiving funding from the major companies. This is particularly a problem in tobacco-producing states. In these areas, it is all but impossible to avoid association with the industry. Negativity might lose someone an election. You would have to make a strong appeal to non-smokers and there are certainly millions of them

I Met a Prospector Today

Most of the people I met during a political campaign are supporters or candidates. I might be at a news conference, out in the field, or in my office greeting visitors. When I meet someone out of the ordinary, it is a special event. Such was the case when I came across a candidate on the opposing team who billed himself as a “gold prospector.” A what? Are there such animals these days? The gold rush in California is long over. I voiced my thoughts and he promptly laughed. “We still exist,” he offered. “Do you pan for gold in the local creek on weekends,” I said. He didn’t sneer at the sarcasm. “I actually travel to locations known for gold nuggets. They are few and far between, but if you are in the know, you can have some fun, and maybe a bit of profit – enough to pay for your pick, shovel, and gold sluice.” Ha!

I was fascinated and posed innumerable questions. He was an odd duck with more than his share of quirky traits. I could understand why he would choose such an old-fashioned hobby. A million queries ran through my mind. I should have been thinking about his political platform as this was the nature of my job. I didn’t even pay lip service to it as he was willing to continue the conversation in the prospecting direction.

Prospecting has a long history but is known first and foremost for certain gold rush eras: Sacramento California, the Klondike, and Australian. It is an esoteric interest for sure in spite of the fact that gold is always rising in value over time, even when the price experiences a few short-term dips. How does one become a miner of sorts and how is it done?

It is not associating with salespeople calling you on the phone as a lead or sending you messages on Facebook. The word is historically linked to looking for precious metals. If you were early in the game in the gold rush years, you had no doubt of Finding a Fortune. Now it is unlikely to yield much. You might have to travel far and wide and find some untouched obscure mines. If it is for a pastime, you go where you can drive. At the beginner level, you take a pan to a stream and shake it to weed out rocks and silt. At the advanced stage, you may use a gold sluice. You can also use a pick to extract it from hard rock in open pits and underground mines, but to me that seems like a major effort. My new friend has done all types of prospecting and likes them all. He isn’t into modern machine methods that are more effective.

He calls what he does “recreational prospecting” and it is popular around the world from New Zealand and South Africa to Wales and Canada. He is an example of the type that exists in the U.S.

Affecting Change

As a working congressional campaign manager, I stay attuned to new legislation that affects the common man. By supporting the right people in Congress, for example, I have a part in effecting change. Anything that has a wide reach and is beneficial to the public is great in my book. I believe in universal civic duty because when everyone stands together, it impacts the way we live. As one involved in elections, I know how important lawmakers can be. Give them a round of applause! I never discount the role of the government. Take a small example: officials have mandated Energy Star labels on appliances to guide users to make the best purchases. It affects everything from refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers to the old standby—a water heater. One simple piece of legislation matters. There is a huge market out there for these products and money talks.

The Energy Star program is a win-win situation for everyone. The government has taken advantage of its role and the public gets better-quality appliances that save water and energy. The buyer usually get a significant savings on their utility bills. Conservation is what it is all about these days. It is the watchword of our day. We find ourselves often in crisis mode when we think about dwindling resources. Any innovations and updates in utilitarian devices should be geared toward this priority. They are not state of the art if they are not designed for maximum efficiency. A new tankless water heater from https://www.waterheaterwatch.com featuring copper exchangers will use up to forty percent less energy than an old-style version. Tankless technology saves both energy and utility expenses. They operate only when hot water is needed so there is no need to keep reheated existing water. Furthermore, no pilot light (they use an electronic ignition) means minimal energy usage. It is as simple as that.

Let’s give it up for such premium technology. It doesn’t automatically mean higher prices for you as you might expect. You can select the appropriate size to perfectly customize your efficiency. Plus, you might get rebates and tax credits if you buy Energy Star appliances. By conserving natural resources, the new products allow you to stain green with a sustainable choice. Let’s not forget less waste because tankless models last longer (and you don’t have to place whole systems, but just individual parts), and high standards for low CO2 emissions.

The public is jumping on the conservation bandwagon as more attention is drawn to the problem of rampant waste. Local programs are springing up here and there to tackle the matter at the local level. It starts small and can grow. Tell everyone to buy Samsung, GE, LG, and any other brands marked as satisfying the requirements of the Energy Star program that was inaugurated in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a way to identify and support products that are the most energy efficient. Spend your money where it counts.

The Quest for New Office Space

As a campaign manager for congressional candidates, I have a variety of business responsibilities from writing press releases to locating new office space. Of course, I handle all the ins and outs of an election. I have been known to find a black suit at the last minute for a promotional event and have managed events of all kinds. Nothing is beyond my realm or capabilities or I wouldn’t be in this business. It is indeed a privilege as elections and reshaping government are at the heart of a democracy. I can’t say enough about the patriotic duty of voting for your preferred candidate. People who never vote are at the bottom of my admiration scale. I do what I can to turn things around, and it is sometimes a difficult task. Hence this blog in support of the entire process.

My last candidate won his race and he has openly credited me with a great deal of his success. I had done an excellent job of outreach in the community and I had performed miracles, as he put it, to put him in office. I am glowing with pride. Now, it was my job to literally put him in an office—a new one in fact. His old office had shown signs of imminent mold, which we all know is rather unhealthy. I brought in a crew to clean the walls, but he still was hesitant about occupying this afflicted space. An inspector hired by his building manager brought with him a moisture meter. Not only did it detect the cause of the mold, but it also revealed some structural problems.

A moisture meter is a handy gadget in the construction industry and even for at home woodworking and wood floor projects. This type of device is also called a damp meter and the one used for my client was designed with a pinless, non-damaging technology that enables the user to quickly scan or spot check in seconds. This innovative product goes below surface condition for accurate measurements of moisture. It can diagnose various problematic situations in wood. My candidate’s old office had many weaknesses that went beyond normal ambient surface conditions. Other types of moisture meters have insulated pins that are great at detection, but can cause a little damage. Thus, you can use them in only small areas unlike the pinless model that can cover large volumes of wood safely and accurately. If you’re just getting started with woodworking, then you should read this: https://www.woodworknation.com/a-beginners-guide-to-woodworking/. It’ll teach you all of the basics and you’ll be up to speed in no time.

Once his old office was dismissed as a good location for his congressional term, I found him some alternatives nearby. We tested them for moisture, using the usual meter, and determined the space to be moisture free. I was more than pleased since I had gone to great lengths to find an appropriate space. If I get my own meter, I won’t even need to spend money on an inspector any more. You never know when you will need such a tool.

Meeting Constituents

I like to get out there and meet the people. Come campaign time, I am on the trail. As a campaign manager or the candidate herself (actually a congresswoman), you want to encounter a good percentage of the population. You want to travel as far as you can to reach the masses in a sufficient period of time. They want to hear your views on the issues and you want to hear their concerns. Knowing what is in their hearts is the only way to construct appropriate speeches that speak to most everyone. If you live in isolation from the public, you will find yourself getting behind your goal. You never want to make idle promises, but frankly you won’t if you don’t acknowledge and learn about the topics of the day. The art of politics is to present a solution to real, concrete problems. They can be major issues or of minor import. The point is that they mean something to at least some of your constituents.

Take my last campaign on behalf of the congresswoman in my state. I enjoyed meeting a variety of people and sometimes I got immediate results. For example, I was asked to visit with a welder’s union of considerable size. They had a spokesman who was very clear on their needs. They wanted their union boss to focus more on personal safety on construction sites. As a result of injuries that were higher than the average for the country, the members were requesting a change in required gear. This meant their helmets in particular. They were old and of a previous style. At one time they were no doubt sufficient, but their day had come and gone. New designs are available if the powers that be make a decision to underwrite the expense. They showed me an example of the best auto darkening welding helmet. It always comes down to the issue of expense. Of course, on the union’s side was the fact that most manufacturers offer a discount for a bulk order.

One type, they tell me, features a solar-powered variable lens which is just as effective as a rechargeable battery-operated unit. They really got into describing their desired helmet and its lightweight nylon construction that offers superior protection and comfort. Imagine yourself welding outside all day. These benefits are meaningful. The union rep mentioned that it is important to reduce fatigue and improve balance. The ideal helmet will maintain its strength and durability for a decade. The shape is specially designed for proper ventilation, a full range of head movement, and to adequately accommodate a standard half-mask respirator. They really love the auto-darkening filtered shade.

I passed on the word to the congresswoman who did the best she could to mandate new helmets for the state welding union. She was able to influence the creation of next year’s budget that will allow every member to have an auto-darkening welding helmet. The union rep was a pretty happy camper and sent an effusive thank you note.

Is Your Water Good for Teeth? Thank a Member of Congress!

We expect that our government officials are looking after us citizens as an automatic part of their jobs. It is a noble calling to be elected to office at any level from the municipal or state on up to the national tier. We feel protected by our lawmakers and we hope we are correct to take this stance. If one violates our trust, he or she will be voted out of office. My town is a microcosm of a larger sphere so let’s use it as an example. In my community, we have had water issues. They aren’t always a matter of scarcity and conservation. Sometimes it has to do with high levels of lead or other unwanted pollutants. Our problem was of a different nature. An outspoken group of parents felt that valuable fluoride was disappearing from our water due to reverse osmosis filtration. They quoted from a web site called Home Water Health. This reverse osmosis process is known to work wonders on dozens of unwanted elements, but should fluoride be one of them? Children need it as they grow up to protect their teeth. Or is that right? It’s not something that can be resolved with a poll on a Facebook page.

The local politicians joined together to state that toothpaste nowadays contains enough fluoride and that water doesn’t have to bear the entire burden of eliminating tooth decay. The first question you must ask is whether fluoride is necessary as an additive in water. Next, do carbon filters (commonly used) or reverse osmosis systems deprive local residents of something they should have. Should there be mandatory state laws regarding this issue of public health? If you live in an area where the laws are on your side regarding fluoride. You can thank your congressman. Here’s just another reason why they are revered. But not everyone is in agreement.

A blog cannot answer all these questions definitively. There isn’t enough space, nor am I an expert. They are here as food for thought. As for me, I believe what the experts say: fluoride has been around for a long time and has been proven to be safe. You do not have to worry about excess levels such that public water needs filtration. Not only is this element safe, but it has also been proven to decrease the incidence of cavities in children. If you don’t believe it and want to make your own decision, you can install an over or under counter unit, or a faucet reverse osmosis system. You can even eliminate fluoride from your showers. You can set one up in the refrigerator. If purity is what you want, you can get it. You may be kidding yourself, but filtered water certainly can’t hurt you.

It is your choice, even if the government has mandated a solution one way or another. You can buy water containing fluoride or move to another town. It shouldn’t be a crisis situation. I personally don’t blame our congressmen wherever they stand. There are good points on all sides.

Sometimes Bad Press is Actually Bad

You hear all the time that any publicity is good publicity. People in show business, politics, the arts, and even in the non-profits will repeat it like a mantra. It’s one of those things that turns into an idea that ‘everyone knows.’ Be suspicious of the ideas that ‘everyone knows.’

Is bad press good sometimes? Yes. Bad press is good when you’re really obscure. When you’re really obscure, any press really is good press, because you need all of the attention that you can get. If no one is paying attention to what you sell or what you do or your message, getting people to interact with you at all really is great.

This is one of the reasons why a lot of the content on the Internet seems to be made entirely for shock value. Everyone is not just obscure on the Internet but painfully obscure. They really do need all of the help that they can get, and that often means pandering to as many people as possible and in every way. That’s how you succeed in a marketplace that is several crowded marketplaces in one.

However, if you’re already popular, bad press is actually bad. In fact, it’s enough to sink a lot of people’s careers in some cases. Many people who have already managed to capture the public’s imagination managed to fail shortly afterward purely because they attracted enough bad press to make it happen. Even a little bit of bad press can ruin the careers of politicians.

It should be noted that the line between good and bad press can be complicated these days, especially since many people are in a situation in which they’re separating the media truths from the media lies. It’s difficult for people to be able to find anything reliable in a world where everything is about the shock value and it feels like almost everything that people do is about click bait and trying to get as much vulgar attention as possible. In short, in this world, it feels like all press is bad press anyway, and it can be hard to determine where the line should be drawn.

However, people need to avoid the generalizations about the press. You really are more likely to hurt your reputation with a lot of the press that people receive today. The bad press is going to spread like wildfire on the Internet. The flames of a wildfire on the Internet really do burn forever. Things that people said twenty years ago can haunt people when they resurface on the Internet, and this sort of thing happens all the time. If it’s not twenty years ago but was, in fact, twenty seconds ago, it’s even worse.

All of the bad press is going to be all over social media. People on social media will spend hours and hours doing nothing but talking about it. The bad press is going to be over every single Internet news channel and station. Basically, if bad press is really bad, you’re going to get the Internet going after you, and that’s just the sort of thing that can cause you to retreat forever.

It should also be noted that even for the obscure people, bad press could still be bad. Maybe you’ll get a few moments of infamy disguised as fame, but then people will move onto the next bout of outrage for the day. Hatred can be eternal on the Internet. It can also be very fleeting, and it will be more fleeting the more obscure that you were initially.

Life on the Trail

life-on-the-trail

What is life on the trail like? I get this question all the time. All I can say is that it’s busy. You really don’t have much time to stop and reflect on it until it is over, and that is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to get yourself in the zone in the first place. You really wonder when life on the trail is going to end.

You’re basically traveling from place to place while the politician in question gives speeches, attends fundraisers, or lots of other events. It’s lots of events, lots of preparation, and lots of traveling. All of this can wear at you a little bit. However, you still love every moment of it at some level.

There’s a lot of buildup to life on the trail. When politicians are in office, they’re thinking about all of this all the time. When they’re actually running whatever they’re running, they’re constantly trying to devise their triumphant return. There’s an extent to which life on the trail is the real life for a politician since getting elected is the most clear-cut of the politician’s victories.

Politicians do a lot of important work, but most of their victories, while they are actually in office, are going to be modest and clerical in nature. They will often have to achieve a lot of their victories gradually if they achieve them at all. Getting elected is straightforward, immediate, and undeniable. There is something emotionally satisfying about that. There is also the fact that no on can call you a loser if you get elected, no matter what you do when you are actually in office. They might not like your policies, but they can all agree on one thing: you won. If there’s a reason politicians spend so much time thinking about life on the trail, that is part of it.

What the State Legislature Can Do For You

Lots of people don’t even think about the state legislature. They vote for the president of the United States and that’s all, and a lot of people don’t even bother to vote in the primaries in the presidential elections. Then, the same people wonder why the election keeps on getting decided for them and they don’t understand how they ended up with this particular person in charge. If you don’t vote in the state elections, I have less sympathy for you.

Too many people think of the United States as being a federation. It is one, but this is really not a country that is the same in every state. International visitors make that mistake all the time, thinking that the culture of the American South, or possibly Los Angeles and New York, represent the whole of the United States. Every state is like its own country in many ways, with many different unique laws and many different unique customs, even if a few federal laws unite the states.

The fight over healthcare over the course of the last decade has been devastating, and yet people in certain states have had healthcare the whole time. Gay marriage is now the law of the land, but it was the law of the land in some states for years. Fireworks are misdemeanors or worse in some states, and they are completely legal in others. Marijuana is a prison sentence in some states and a legal and encouraging health aid in others.

Do you ever wish that you could at least carve out a space where people agree with you politically and let you live the life that you choose, even if you can’t make it happen for the hundreds of millions of people in the United States? That’s the whole point of the state legislature. We help people decide how they want to live locally, knowing that getting everyone in this disparate country to agree on everything is really difficult. You have your sandbox and they have theirs. We’re the people in charge of how much sand you want in your particular sandbox, and that’s more than enough.

Lots of people don’t think that it counts unless it is national. However, all this means is that you’re letting people in Texas decide how people in Massachusetts are going to live. People in New York already want to live differently from people in Utah in most cases, and the laws that they have enacted have proven that over and over again. It is that much more important for people to remember that it is actually possible to remedy this situation.

You might not like the president. You might think that every single presidential election represents the battle between a rock and a hard place. Maybe you’ll even think that about state legislature. However, if you at least let your vote count in the context of the state legislature, you will at least be able to make sure that you tried to carve out a space in the country that you’re going to like.

Fundraising Gala

fundraising-gala

Holding a fundraising gala is definitely one of the best parts of actually being on the campaign trail. Yes, you’re there to work. Yes, you’re there to network. Yes, putting the whole thing together in the first place was a great deal of work for everyone involved and it will be for you as well. However, it is that much more important for people to be able to actually have some fun with the campaign trail at this stage in the game. You can actually do that at a fundraising gala.

Putting the thing together in the first place is so exhausting that there is going to be a big voice in your head that is practically begging you at all times to give it up and somehow use the money in a more ‘constructive’ way, which means a way that is going to be easier for you to arrange. However, you press on, you end up with a bunch of wealthy donors that are there and that are going to actually give you huge portions of the money that you need to actually get ahead.

One night with these wealthy donors can mean more than hours and hours of phone banking. Phone banking is great and you need someone who is going to be able to finance you even in a small way. Getting a bunch of people to contribute small amounts of money is more realistic than getting a large number of people to contribute large amounts of money, even though the latter is obviously better. Getting small numbers of people to contribute large amounts of money is also more realistic, and the two approaches have to be combined.

It seems like asking fifty people to give you a dollar might be a more difficult way to make fifty bucks than asking one person to give you fifty bucks. However, if we’re talking about fifty thousand dollars, finding one person to give you the fifty thousand is often going to be harder than asking for the money from a bunch of different people, all of whom are going to give you varying amounts of money and many of whom are going to give you enough to justify the phone call. However, it is frustrating to do that while still having to keep in mind that one person giving you the fifty thousand dollars would be more than enough to end all of this and that one wealthy donor could stop it all right there. That’s where the fundraising gala comes into play.

You can really have some fun at the event. It is still going to be a glamorous evening in some cases. You know that this is the sort of evening that you always picture when you start working as someone’s campaign manager. You picture yourself in the suit going around to different events and schmoozing with all of the potential donors that are there.

On The Road Again

on-the-road-again

I love being on the road when it comes to a campaign. People act like the traveling is the hard part a lot of the time. It’s not. It’s the downtime. It’s the bus that you take to school the day before final exams. You want to savor the proverbial bus ride because before long, you’re going to have real challenges and real difficulties ahead of you and you don’t know how it’s going to go for you or whomever you’re managing.

I like being on the road and seeing the United States. That’s actually one of the best parts about being anyone’s campaign manager. You actually get to see big portions of the country that you’re trying to run. You can really get the chance to experience the ways in which the United States is different all over. People still try to talk about how the US is really just ‘us.’ If there’s one thing that I can tell you about being a campaign manager, it is that this is not the case.

The US looks different everywhere. The customs and personalities of the people that you are likely to meet will be different everywhere. Everything about this place is completely different from one area to the next, and that is what people are going to have to realize if they are actually interested in finding a way to succeed in elections. The US is a lot of different cultures in one. It always has been. It always will be. You will see it for yourself when you are on the road again, transitioning from the endless forests of the Pacific Northwest and New England to the endless Great Plains of the Midwest to the lake towns to the deserts and to the mountains. You’ll see it in the different campaign issues that people will bring up, and you’ll see it as you try to convince your electorate of different things in different areas.

One of the great things about local government is that this is less of a problem. You’re still going to have to deal with disparate cultures, since even in a state, people are going to be different from one another in a lot of very real ways. People who live in cities and people who live in the suburbs have a very different cultural experience. People who live in the country, if applicable, are even more different still. There is no way of getting around the fact that running a campaign means trying to appeal to a lot of different people at once, and they don’t act like a fluid and solid electorate even when all of you live within the same state lines.

However, once again, it is exciting to see your home state. It’s cool to see the different ways that so many different people can experience the same area. From there, you can start to see things from their perspective a little bit more. You can get a sense of how they live their lives. We all see the same sky at night and during the day, but you have to see it from their corner. I think that this is one of the benefits of actually traveling from place to place during a campaign and that this is one of the things that we’ll lose if the campaigns of the future go online entirely.