Politics is all about strategy. Every move is, or at least should be, well thought out. Strategy could prove to be the difference in taking office, maintaining office or going home. From the office of president all the way down to city council, candidates take different approaches to earn the trust of the voting public.
The strategic process begins with developing a platform. This course of action allows prospective constituents the opportunity to learn how a candidate feels about specific issues. Obvious platform choices include taxes, making changes or “righting a wrong”.
Once a platform has been established, candidates can either devote time and energy to the chosen platform or expend equal or more time and energy focusing on an opponent. The latter is nothing new. It is a strategy that can be seen in every level of politics, especially in the current landscape. A candidate who chooses this method, in my opinion becomes their own worst enemy. Every minute spent bashing, bad-mouthing and disputing an opponent is precious time lost in promoting yourself and your own platform.
Obviously, candidates need to learn who their opponent(s) are, what they stand for and their beliefs. It is crucial, because if one individual is inconsistent or outright lies to the public, those facts need to be revealed. However, if a candidate gets caught up in their opponent, that individual deprives voters from getting to know who they are, what they stand for and their beliefs. As cliché as it may sound, focusing more on an opponent is the equivalent of “shooting yourself in the foot”.
These thoughts are not directed at any particular candidate in any particular race. This is an opinion I have held since I cast my first ballot more than 20 years ago. If you feel the need to spend more time throwing fiery arrows than allowing me the chance to learn who you are, how you can make a difference and what you stand for, than I cannot, in good conscience, trust you with my vote and feel you are going to do what is in the best interest of my family, my community, my country. And sadly, in some races, at different levels, there are no candidates worthy of my vote. Why? It’s simple. I am not in junior high and could care less about the drama and idiocy that has become more and more prevalent during each campaign season. In some races, it seems as if some candidates would be well served to hire counselors and referees to help moderate the childish behavior that has become center stage.
The media is a guilty party in the insanity surrounding the election process. Print, radio and television outlets for the most part, seem to thrive more on the Jerry Springer-esque aspect of what should be a serious process than focusing on the issues that affect the average citizen. Is it good for ratings and readership? Obviously. If it weren’t, the issues and not the entertainment value would prove to be most important.
Locally and nationally, there are many qualified to lead and represent. This fact was evident during Thursday night’s Brown County Republican forum. We have all developed opinions, or are in the process of doing so, regarding national leadership as well, based on debates, forums and interviews.
One of the biggest blessings of being an American is the privilege of openly offering opinions. This is mine. When I begin the elimination process of choosing a candidate in each race on the ballot, my first action will be to remember who presented the most clear and concise strategy.
Rick Phelps is the news director at KOXE-KBWD radio and a former staff writer for the Brownwood Bulletin. Comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.