I represent me. No one speaks for me. I do not have a p/r manager. I send out my own tweets. I maintain two websites, one for my business and one for explaining who I am. I am solely responsible for what I write, speak, and print.
In a recent campaign I was involved with, the opponent had a variety of websites, Facebook pages and a letter writing campaign with absolutely no disclosure of who was responsible for the malicious and insidious things that were said. The opponent was then able to say ‘I had nothing to do with any of that’… hands washed of any impropriety. Even though, slanderous and despicable things were posted.
How does one address valid issues among the vile and hateful things that are said? First step: Do not ignore the lies, entirely. You can’t afford to let things that are sent out as political mass mailings not be addressed. This happened in a campaign I was working on. Our committee decided no one would believe such outrageous and clearly false statements. That proved to be deadly to the campaign. Once the idea has been planted and not refuted it is allowed to thrive.
The next campaign where this tactic was employed the campaign remained focused on the facts. While the temptation was there to ‘give back’ what we were receiving, we tried to be detached from the anger while always being professional and polite. Remember, this is where your networking, public service and volunteerism will allow you to shine. When your opponent is hiding behind nameless, faceless, shadow people who lie and throw mud, the people that know you won’t be swayed by the lies. The problem lies in the voters that do not know you.
It is the candidates responsibility to get their message out. Make it as accessible as possible for those voters who want to know more about you. It is also the voters responsibility to get to know their candidate. Look at their record. Call and talk to them. Beware of those unwilling or unable to answer your questions. Find out what experience they have that qualifies them to be your public servant. Yes, experience matters! As does passion for the position. This may be the most essential. We call it the ‘Fire in the Belly’.
More on this topic later. Thank you so much for reading!