Root: Five Tactics Your Campaign Can’t Afford to Ignore

Wayne Allyn Root, the 2008 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee and current chairman of the LP National Campaign Committee sent the following message. It lists the five tactics for LP candidates to run successful campaigns.

Newspaper ads, billboards and campaigning on the Internet may be cute, but they don’t win elections. 

You have to make direct personal contact, either in person, on the phone or through the mail, with enough individual votes to collect the number of votes you need to win. 

Campaigns and Elections reminds you of five essential campaign operations you can’t ignore. 

General rule of thumb: Make sure you have the volunteers and resources to knock on the door of every likely voter before you ever do anything else. It’s the most effective form of campaigning and it’s virtually free. 

1. Phone Banks. The use of phones on a campaign is becoming a lost art. Some campaigns believe that texting and mobile apps can replace the old-fashioned volunteer phone call. That’s not the case. Several campaigns that enjoyed the national spotlight last cycle didn’t operate phone banks at all–and they lost handily to opponents who spent less money but made more phone calls. 

The campaign phone bank should be the heart of the voter identification, persuasion and turnout program. The phone bank will help the campaign target its manpower, direct mail and even television and radio buys. A well-organized phone program can win elections, as it allows the campaign to reach thousands of voters each week, track their choice in the election, and then encourage supporters to go vote on Election Day. These are things that email, text messages and mobile applications cannot achieve effectively. 

2. Door-to-door operations. The use of an integrated door-to-door operation has followed the phone banks into obscurity in the campaigns of many first-time candidates. The American campaign style is strongly rooted in retail politics, and nothing is more retail than meeting voters at their door. Most campaigns can reach approximately 40-60 percent of their voters via phone, and significantly less online. This makes knocking on doors the most effective voter contact tactic in a campaign’s arsenal. 

An effective door-to-door program should be incorporated into the phone program. The phone bank will identify clusters of undecided or unidentified voters for volunteers to visit. Delivering a message in-person significantly enhances a volunteer’s persuasiveness. 

3. Early voting/absentee voting programs. Few campaigns get this right, because executing an effective early voting or absentee voting program is difficult to engineer and track. Republicans and Democrats, however, have both notched surprising wins in the past decade that were only possible by running strong early vote and/or absentee voting programs. Many campaigns simply ignore this tactic because it requires a long-term investment of manpower and money. But these programs can be worth up to 2-to-4 points in a tight race–more than enough to win. 

4. Get-Out-The-Vote pushes. The election isn’t won until a campaign gets enough of its voters into the polling station. Each cycle, more than a dozen campaigns come up short on Election Day not because they lost the message war, but because they didn’t execute a solid GOTV program. 

Effective GOTV programs can involve direct mail, phone calls, emails, texts and even door-to-door. That said, some modern campaigns fail to recognize that emails, texts, and even direct mail do not have the effect that calls and personal visits have when conducting GOTV operations–particularly on Election Day. 

5. Planning. With modern campaigns facing so many communication and strategic options, many choose to skip the planning process altogether. These same campaigns often fail to make it over the finish line. Most reliable consultants and long-time operatives will tell you that winning campaigns means being proactive, not reactive. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for a campaign to be anything but reactive if it doesn’t have a plan. Planning doesn’t necessarily mean writing and following a 300-page campaign strategy memo. It does, however, mean thinking through the options, scenarios and environmental conditions of your specific race. That alone can help a campaign devise a superior strategy that will carry it to victory on Election Day. 

Go here to learn more about running for office as a Libertarian. 
 Wayne Allyn Root, Chairman

Libertarian National Campaign Committee

36 thoughts on “Root: Five Tactics Your Campaign Can’t Afford to Ignore

  1. Steven Wilson

    I can appreciate models of advertisement. I like to hear new ideas, but the reason you hire a contractor is because of their own success and accomplishments.

    Root has never held office. The LNCC picked a sour grape in the Indiana thing. Credibility is hard to convey here.

    Face to face direct selling is an art form. GOTV is a pyramid structure. Ron Paul used the Phone banks well to get delegates to county and state.

    Until Root wins a office or the LNCC picks a definite winner, just another theory.

    Libertarians often don’t speak of it, but most people don’t want freedom. No matter how you pitch it. No matter your tagline.

  2. George Phillies

    At a sufficiently local level election, this is excellent advice.

    On a Congressional or state scale, these proposals are unlikely to be manageable.

  3. Root Sucks

    A Root column that isn’t an advertisement about himself? Late April fools joke?

  4. Matt Cholko

    This is Campaigning 101 stuff. I guess it is nice that Root is putting it out there, but there is nothing new here. What’s the point of this story?

  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    MC@5,

    Every two years, the LP recruits as many candidates as it can, for as many offices as it can.

    A lot of these candidates are first-time candidates who NEED “Campaign 101” stuff.

    To the extent that Root is attempting to be a party-builder through LNCC, a party “elder statesman” as former VP nominee, and a leader in helping the LP field candidates, this looks like EXACTLY the kind of message he should be sending out to an LNCC list, LP candidate lists, and so forth.

  6. Obviousman

    But not a thing about knowing the local issues (as has been mentioned), strategic publicity, the right swag, or how to present oneself in public, either.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    The piece is called “5 tactics your campaign can’t afford to ignore,” not “The only 5 things you need to know.”

    Jesus Tapdancing Christ, people. I thought I was the hardest one in the world on Root, but some of you … well, if he walked on water, you’d wail that he obviously can’t swim. Lighten the hell up.

  8. Michael H. Wilson

    Tom he forgot to mention campaign buttons, but I do think knowing why you are running is pretty damn important.

  9. Wayne Root

    Thanks Tom.

    But to my critics…

    Everything you need to know about running a good campaign…getting media…and raising money…will be taught at our FREE all day campaign training seminar at Red Rock on Wednesday May 2nd.

    It is FREE because our LNCC is paying for it all. I will give my best advice and media knowledge…and we’ve hired top campaign strategists to teach exactly what they teach to major party candidates aiming to win elections.

    I repeat it is FREE to all LP candidates and staff.

    Wayne

  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    MHW @9,

    Yes, knowing why you are running is important. Essential, even. You shouldn’t BE running if you don’t know why you’re running.

    Knowing why you’re running is not, however, a TACTIC.

    Wayne wrote a short “nuts and bolts” piece. A pretty good one, too.

    I disagree with him on a number of things, both ideologically and tactically, but “if it’s Wayne, he’s wrong” is just not a worthwhile standard of evaluation.

  11. Thomas L. Knapp

    MC@11,

    You may have a point on that.

    Whether the message itself is newsworthy, I agree is debatable.

    However, I think that “LNCC chair begins dispensing ‘nuts and bolts’ advice to 2012 LP candidates” is worth at least a “news note” if someone who reports on LP stuff happens to notice, which seems to have been the case.

  12. jake

    A few points I’d like to make with Root’s.

    – Everything is a campaign event and always have literature or business cards. For candidates I work with I prefer business cards. Going to get ice cream can lead to talking with voters same with going to pizza place or local park.

    – Treat the media as people and you’ll notice your name in the newspaper more often. Too many candidates and campaigns treat the media poorly. Go out to lunch with them, tip them on local news stories or events, have virtual (twitter, etc) conversations or in-person. Get to know them!

    Besides that it was very good campaigning 101

  13. paulie

    Everything you need to know about running a good campaign…getting media…and raising money…will be taught at our FREE all day campaign training seminar at Red Rock on Wednesday May 2nd.

    It is FREE because our LNCC is paying for it all. I will give my best advice and media knowledge…and we’ve hired top campaign strategists to teach exactly what they teach to major party candidates aiming to win elections.

    I repeat it is FREE to all LP candidates and staff.

    Wayne

    Wayne also sent us this video about that which I haven’t figured out how to embed yet but hopefully will

    http://vzaar.com/videos/958054

    Hopefully it will get posted as a separate article later.

  14. paulie

    Thanks for the video

    I’ll post it in IPR comments for now and am forwarding it to all IPR writers to post as an article.

    I may post it as an article myself later but would prefer if someone else at IPR gets to it first.

    I still have only a very slow shared computer in the lobby of my motel which is for the use of all guests here for my internet access, and my job here in ND has been extended, so I have been managing my internet time by generally not posting articles myself but asking other IPR people to do that instead (I made some exceptions on April Fools Day).

    I have a lot of articles I would like to post all the time so it is best for me if I don’t start at all. As Blake Shelton says in a song “if I have one I have thirteen and there ain’t no in between”

    ? 3:42? 3:42
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3MGfJ3eMGA

  15. Eric Sundwall

    I think this list has limited value if you are a third party candidate. Here’s my five;

    1. Know your donors – this will determine what and how you can do things. Volunteers might show up, donors make it so some things can get done.

    2. Earned Media: Find a sympathetic radio host, do something worthy of coverage, smaller publications always need a man bites dog story, work your way up the media food chain.

    3. Social Media: Start a webpage, find a forum, get a Facebook page. The latter is especially important. A couple dozen or hundred followers can make a big difference for planned events etc.

    4. Find a pollster – not so important in local races that don’t get polled, but in a Congressional or statewide race it can mean alot. A sympathetic pollster might put you in a poll. Even a 1-5% result can gain some advantage in the process.

    5. Get r done – get those signatures. Get on the ballot. Be ready to lawyer up, there are no guarantees.

    Just say’n.

  16. paulie

    I think the discussion is valuable.

    IMO LPers and other alt partiers don’t spend enough time learning and doing nuts and bolts politics.

  17. Carol Moore

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=root Root is both a slang word for penis and in AussieLand a word used for fucking – or getting fucked over? And Johnson, well we all know what that’s slang for, too. Barr = rod = penis?? OI, the penile fixation is just too too much… And then in Italian Montoni means RAMS – or sheep and some of them are “castrati”. http://en.dicios.com/iten/montoni Not violent intercourse of the Ramming kind, evidently, though concept obviously unrelated. MOORE – that’s how much I wanted in my younger days. Isn’t LIBERTY FUN???

  18. Carol Moore

    Sorry,to correct above: obviously ramming IS a slang word for intercourse that makes the analogy of Montonis, I mean rams, ramming away in the act. If sheep go BAAAA what do Rams do???

  19. Carol Moore

    But seriously folks, even though someone else probably wrote that for Root, at least he’s doing SOMETHING constructive. The big problem remains he’s fraudulently passing off LNCC as the Libertarian National Campaign Committee and frankly I think we’re looking a really big fine and even possible jail time if some snitch snitches to the FEC about the illegal and fraudulent name change for fundraising purposes. Listening Wayne??

  20. Steve

    If your race is local enough, make sure all your friends/family/neighbors/acquaintances know you’re running. It sounds obvious, but a friend of mine lost a 4-way primary in 2010. He told me later that if everyone who came up to him after the fact and said, “hey, I would have voted for you” had known he was on the ballot he’d have won.

    Another thing I see from first time candidates is unwillingness to raise money. Either learn how to do it or be prepared to self-finance.

  21. Carol Moore

    Enough griping in private circles about this issue. Just sent out this email:

    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: Fraudulent and illegal renaming of LNCC??
    Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2012 12:15:42 -0400
    From: Carol Moore
    To: Mark Hinkle , Bill Redpath
    CC: Wayne Allyn Root , “Reg Rep. \”James W. Lark, III\”” , Reg Alternate Marakay Rogers , Grassroots Libertarians Caucus , LP Radicals , Susan Hogarth

    I’m no FEC attorney, but it doesn’t take a gambling whiz to realize that
    some snitch (and there are all sorts of statist ones out there) would
    love to nail the LNC, the LNCC and Wayne Root on his fraudulently
    passing off LNCC as the Libertarian National Campaign Committee and
    fundraising for it when it is called under the FEC regulations the
    “Libertarian National Congressional Committee.” Someone else alerted me
    to this issue and it has been festering for a few months but finally I
    feel motivated to take action and write you all, cc and bcc. other
    concerned libertarians.

    Not only could this illegal renaming result in big fines that
    libertarian contributors would have to pay, but worse for poor Wayne and
    any co-conspirators to this fraudulent re-naming. If some LNC or LNCC
    attorney has determined that somehow this is NOT fraudulent this should
    be stated on all the below named relevant pages, including the FEC one:

    EVIDENCE

    A search of
    “Libertarian National Congressional Committee” and fec.gov turns up:
    http://fec-political-committees.findthedata.org/l/13634/Libertarian-National-Congressional-Committee-Inc

    A search of
    “Libertarian National Campaign Committee” fec.gov turns up nothing of
    the kind.

    But it does turn up two claims that the “Libertarian National
    Congressional Committee” is in “compliance” with FEC regulations:
    http://www.lncc.org/privacy-policy/

    “Libertarian National Campaign Committee” phrase is used in pages below:
    *http://www.lncc.org/
    *http://www.lncc.org/tag/libertarian-national-campaign-committee/
    *http://www.lncc.org/about-us/

    The LNC is complicit in this because LP.org has printed the phrase
    “Libertarian National Campaign Committee” multiple times:
    *http://www.lp.org/blogs/wayne-allyn-root/libertarian-wayne-root-joins-forbescom-as-columnist
    *http://www.lp.org/blogs/wayne-allyn-root/wayne-root-is-the-busiest-libertarian-in-usa-for-holiday-season
    *http://www.lp.org/blog?page=2
    *Plus four more times in today’s google.com search

    A response would be appreciated and will be distributed.

    Thanks.

    Carol Moore
    Washington DC
    $25 dollar current dues paying member

  22. Brian Holtz

    IIRC, the one is a subsidiary of the other. If so, that’s not the same thing as a rename. But hey, why skip an opportunity to deny fellow Libertarians the benefit of the doubt?

  23. Aaron Starr

    Hello Carol,

    Thank you for your concern.

    Libertarian National Congressional Committee, Inc., which is incorporated in D.C., is the name of the entity that files with the FEC.

    Libertarian National Congressional Committee, Inc. filed a Trade Name application with the Corporations Division of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in D.C. to use the name Libertarian National Campaign Committee.

    In some states a Trade Name might be referred to as a “dba” or “fictitious business name.”

    Anyway, I’m certain you’ll be much relieved to learn that we received advice from our FEC consultant in advance of filing our trade name application that it is perfectly legal to operate this way.

    Have a wonderful day.

  24. ATBAFT

    Buttons, stickers, lawn signs, billboards?
    I’d rather use the money to buy op-ed advertising space in local newspapers. We ain’t going to win anything significant anytime soon so let’s concentrate on using our campaigns to put attractive and compelling libertarian ideas in front of as many eyes and ears as possible.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    25 bh: why skip an opportunity to deny fellow Libertarians the benefit of the doubt?

    me: Have some compassion, Brian. Some people’s raison d’etre is to serve as prosecutor, judge and jury by just making wild accusations…

  26. Michael H. Wilson

    re TK @ 12 Knowing why you are running, that is the issues, helps in developing a campaign strategy.

    Having gone door to door for my own campaigns once or twice I quickly found out the value of being able to answer the question; “Why are you running?” or “Why should I vote for you?”.

  27. Carol Moore

    Thanks to Aaron for the clarification for several people who were wondering. Will pass it along…

  28. Jack

    I agree with the approaches laid-out in Roots message. Though, he is missing two key components:

    1. A single hand-out clearly defining your platform.
    2. A clean and accessible website.

    I have been learning and refining what I call “Fundamental Campaigning” for the last 7-months as I volunteered on the Ron Paul campaign. I have talked about it in a number of articles:

    http://freeindependentsun.com/republic/free-speech-how-to-overcome-money-in-politics/

    http://freeindependentsun.com/republic/the-golden-state-standard-how-ron-paul-activists-can-win-california/

  29. paulie

    1. A single hand-out clearly defining your platform.
    2. A clean and accessible website.

    I have been learning and refining what I call “Fundamental Campaigning” for the last 7-months as I volunteered on the Ron Paul campaign. I have talked about it in a number of articles:

    http://freeindependentsun.com/republic/free-speech-how-to-overcome-money-in-politics/

    http://freeindependentsun.com/republic/the-golden-state-standard-how-ron-paul-activists-can-win-california/

    Thanks!

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