By Lucius Gantt
It’s 2012, another election year, and every Black community in America has candidates that always run for office and those same candidates always lose!
After the election results are posted, my friends and neighbors often run to me and ask, “Lucius why didn’t you help him or her?”, and my answer is usually the same, “Because they didn’t ask me to!”
In this column I’ll try to help them before they waste their time n a losing political effort.
Before any candidate officially enters a political race, he or she should have a plan that will guide them to success. In other words, at some time very early in the race, a candidate should be able to tell you how he will emerge successfully in a race against other political opponents.
My mama told me to run, my boss told me to run or my buddies said they would help me is not a good reason to run for office.
Candidates also need money. No you don’t need to match the political dollars of a Mitt Romney or a Barack Obama but you do need to pay some campaign fees and finance an effort to get word of your candidacy out to registered voters.
Yes, media is somewhat important and should be utilized but there is nothing more influential in most campaigns than direct voter contact via canvassing, direct mail, live phone calls and other ways to take your campaign directly to those than are registered to vote and can vote for you.
The first things losers like to purchase are T-shirts! It’s better to give a voter ten dollars than to give him a $10 T-shirt. If you like shirts, they are cool but in no way should they be a campaign priority. Candidates that have shirts but no yard signs and no money for advertising and no money for professional help will surely lose.
When putting a team together, most candidates seek to work with people they can control. Candidates often times think qualifying for office immediately turns them into campaign experts. The truth is when you have no experience, you don’t really know what it takes to influence voters. With no experience, you can’t go to sleep and dream that you can have good political timing.
There is a time to go door-to-door, a time to send out direct mail, a time to monitor absentee vote requests, a time to call voters, a time to run advertising, etc,. etc..
The main thing I think interested candidates should have is a heart! The voters aren’t as dumb as politicians think! To get the people to vote for you, candidates have to convince voters that they will vote for them!
You tell me, what is the name of the important legislation your elected official spearheaded for you? When government money, projects or jobs has your representative brought home to the district where you live?
Too many black elected officials are happy to just be where they are. They are glad to be called Senator or Councilman but they are scared to stand up and speak out for Black people in the way that Jews jump up and speak for Jewish issues or Cubans stand up for Cuban concerns.
If a Black candidate wants to win, he or she has to be smart, they have to be brave and they have to truly love the people they are seeking to represent.