The page below is an old version of my Business Plan for a New Political Party. Due to popular demand, I have updated the Plan considerably and put it into Kindle Format. You can buy it here.
Yes, it costs a bit of money. But the return on investment is enormous if you are serious about starting a political party.
Are you serious?
Part 2. Working Within the Constraints
Consider the case of an untrained chess player, one who has spent many hours playing chess with other untrained players. Such a player may be very good at seeing what moves are on the board, designing combinations to take an opponentís pieces, looking ahead several moves and so forth. Yet such a player can be easily crushed by an otherwise inferior player who understands the theory of chess openings.
The untrained player may open a game with rook pawn moves or moving nights to the rook rows. Or he may deploy one piece and move it about the board. Meanwhile, our trained player knows the importance of controlling center, and of getting as many pieces in play as possible before advancing to the next tactical stages. Within a dozen moves, our untrained amateur is outgunned and hemmed in, having few, if any, good moves to choose from while our trained inferior player has many good options. Barring outright sloppy play, it is hard for the trained player to lose in this situation.
On the other hand, the untrained amateur could be taught the theory of chess openings in a few hours, which would then allow him to use his tactical skills productively.
The same is true for third party politics. A third party can gain a great deal of hard won institutional experience with FEC rules, getting ballot access, writing press releases, crafting sound bites, etc. and still be trounced on a regular basis. Meanwhile, there are a few fairly simple rules, which can be learned in a few hours or less, which could allow that same party to get on the path of massive growth of both votes and support base.
The basic rules of strategy and positioning are easy to learn. The nitty-gritty details of running a political party or a political campaign are difficult. Given the choice, I will take the former. You can apply the basic strategic rules in a sloppy fashion and grow a party faster and bigger than by masterfully implementing the nitty-gritty while the underlying strategy is flawed.
So, without further ado, here are three easy to learn (but possibly hard to accept) rules of success in American Politics.
Observation 1: You have to win!
Yet, by themselves all these goals are utterly worthless!
The United States does not elect its legislatures using proportional representation. It has district elections, and most of these districts are single-member. This means that it is possible to win 20% of the vote overall and not win a single seat. This means that a party that wins only 5% of the vote overall is extremely unlikely to win a single seat.
The Green, Libertarian, and Constitution parties operate as if the U.S. had proportional representation. It does not. To obtain a seat at the table, you have to win somewhere. In a single-member district race there is no prize for second or third place. Itís win or be irrelevant.
This is a very simple observation, trivial to verify. Yet time and time again, activists and strategists within third parties go into denial and try to rationalize around this fact. While this is an easy to understand fact, it can be hard to accept. It is an inconvenient truth.
(There are some proportional representation races in this country, especially at the local level. Third parties have done better there. But most of these races are non-partisan, so why have third parties for such races?)
Copyright 2007, Carl S. Milsted, Jr. All rights reserved.