Welcome back to the weekly Nuts & Bolts Guide to small campaigns! Midterm elections are stressful. Democratic Party candidates and infrastructure feel the stress of holding on to majorities in the U.S. Senate and House in order to keep Joe Biden’s agenda moving forward and especially to make sure that President Biden’s court and administration nominations are successfully approved. While the pressure may be on for campaigns, there are some basic guidelines that are true for campaigns in every cycle: Do not campaign on religious high holidays, as you will turn off more potential voters while burning out your volunteers.
With Easter occurring this weekend and Passover spanning from April 15 to April 23, campaigns get to sit back and look at how they utilize their resources. Significant Jewish, Islamic, and Christian holidays deserve respect and an acknowledgement that many will not want to be bothered during this time period. Your campaign has numerous functions you can undertake without putting pressure on volunteers to take time away from important events in their family, and without annoying voters.
You earn respect by giving respect
In order to get voters to decide you are worthy of their vote, they have to decide if you are someone they respect enough to believe that you will make good decisions when elected. If you are actively campaigning during holidays, it leads to some people questioning your ability to show respect for their traditions and beliefs. Many holidays are opportunities for campaigns to walk in a parade or make an appearance. The fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day as good examples. Actively campaigning, or asking for volunteers during religious holidays? Prepare for the pushback to be real.
This doesn’t just mean no door-knocking.
The respect provided to religious events or social events isn’t just limited to going up and knocking on someone’s door. While many think that is the most invasive way of interrupting family events that can occur around the holidays, phone calls and texts from a campaign are just not helpful. People are hoping to spend their time with their families and friends.
Phone calls, texts, and, in my opinion, emails can come across as unwanted interruptions or disrespect to important, well-known dates. People are okay with receiving information on their birthdays, anniversaries, or other internal family events because they know that information isn’t something that a campaign can plan their strategy around. Major holidays? That’s a no.
Acknowledge the importance of the holidays
You do not have to be a practitioner of any particular faith to make it known that you respect the followers of that religion in your district. When you acknowledge the social importance of these events, it shows that you understand your district and that you show respect to the voters and their beliefs. For Democratic campaigns it is especially important, because the Republican rhetoric is to paint Democratic candidates as the representatives of a political party that disrespects their beliefs. Last week and this week, I wanted to cover how we better integrate our party with one that can overcome these kind of attacks:
Take time off. Show respect for your district and be careful with how you operate on high religious holidays. Your campaign may not be 100% shut down, and there may be commitments to fulfill and work you can do. Your campaign can still accomplish a lot of important work during these time periods without causing negatives within your district.
The news never stops
While your campaign may not be out knocking doors or making phone calls, it does not mean that your candidate stops discussing issues or responding to important social events as they happen. That may include events in Ukraine, any major happening inside of your own district that requires a response, or any matter that is a news-related response. Your campaign communication team does not go dormant at any point. You can never be assured that nothing negative will happen, and that could mean anything from a mass shooting to the passing of a beloved community member.
Understand what respect looks like to your district and your voters. If you keep that in mind, you have the opportunity to build a strong relationship with your volunteers, interns, and voters.
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