Educate your political campaign strategy – read it up!
To develop an effective political campaign strategy, you need to understand the landscape in which your campaign is operating. Speaking to voters is always the best way to learn about the topics that are driving your community (and the larger American voters). Books are another great resource for educating your approach to politics. Below are five readings that I recommend to any politician running, working on, or volunteering for a political campaign.
1. Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Struggle for the Importance of America (John Sides, Michael Tesler and Lynn Vavreck)
After the senseless brutality of the police, the people in our country are calling for an end to systemic, institutionalized racism. Political scientists John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck wouldn’t be surprised to see Liberals largely driving this conversation forward. In their book, Identity Crisis, they discuss how Trump’s campaign and presidency have shifted American public opinion to more favorable views on racial, ethnic, and religious minorities – a trend driven primarily by the left. Trump’s appeals to implicit prejudice, in other words, have both empowered bigots and compelled anti-racists to act, which serves as one of the main drivers of division in our country. As you design your political campaigning strategy, remember that your campaign can help shape the conversation in your community. As these political scientists aptly put it:
“Political leaders … can refer to someone as un-American or a ‘son of a bitch’ or ‘unfortunate’. You can call someone’s country a “shit hole”. They can tell us to “beat up” someone they don’t agree with. You can also ask us to welcome others, find common ground, and even heal the land. These decisions helped build the identity crisis in American politics. You can also help take it apart. ”
2. Why we are polarized (Ezra Klein)
Vox co-founder and editor Ezra Klein’s 2020 book argues that our American political system works exactly as it was designed – as an amplifier of partisan polarization. When developing your political campaign strategy, consider Klein’s attitude towards psychology. It gives a helpful overview of the realignment of our electorate in the course of the Civil Rights Act, followed by a deep insight into the factors that further strengthen our ideological anchoring across the corridor. Understanding how people think and form opinions (as this book will help you) will help you convince them to support your candidate or your cause. As Klein says:
“Our political identities have become mega-identities. Merging the identities means that when you activate an identity, often you activate all of them. Every time they are activated they get stronger. ”
3. Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber (Mike Isaac)
You don’t need to limit your search for politics lessons to books on political campaigning. About the rise and fall of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Super Pumped shares insights every politician should consider when developing a political campaigning strategy. The moral of this story is that one good idea is never enough to bring about change. A toxic culture born of a great idea can and should unravel a promising endeavor. Work on creating campaigns that are inspirational, inclusive, and adaptable. Your people are at the heart of your campaign – appreciate them if you hope to build the better world you envision.
4. The righteous spirit (Jonathan Haidt)
Feelings shape our moral judgments, which in turn determine the lens through which we respond to politics and the world around us. I’m a big believer in Jonathan Haidt’s claim that we need to understand the moral framework that drives the people we know and love. The theory of moral foundations holds great promise in finding ways to overcome party political identity and convince the other side. The fact is, conservatives do better to use different frameworks to appeal to a wider range of voters. As you design your political campaign strategy, think about how you can involve people who may not immediately agree with your worldview.
5. Fear and Loathing on the ’72 Campaign Path (Hunter S. Thompson)
Hunter Thompson’s lively, voluminous account of the 1972 election is infinitely entertaining in its scathing criticism of Nixon and the list of Democrats who are ready to challenge his re-election bid. The Gonzo journalist complains that too often candidates do not offer voters a real choice, leading them to vote against someone instead of voting for someone. This book was ahead of its time – remember its wisdom to make sure your campaign knows exactly what it stands for.
Do you have any other book recommendations for people shaping their political campaigning strategy? How about books that give politicians a much-needed break from our fast-paced world? Please write us a message.