Monday Musing: A Million Little Things Add Up to Election Win

lavarr policy insightsThis pre-convention period in the election season is crazy for major contested campaigns. Campaign staffs and candidates are running themselves ragged, concentrating on myriad details and activities.

It’s worse than drinking out of the proverbial fire hose. Here are some of the tasks that must be executed:

Churning out daily email messages and mailers to delegates, scheduling and executing myriad meet-and-greet events with delegates and other key groups, making fundraising calls and holding fundraising events, preparing for debates, planning and executing numerous county convention appearances with a team of supporters at each of them, planning for and gearing up for the state convention, running an aggressive social media campaign, building coalitions and running campaigns within those coalitions, responding to media requests and issuing press releases, developing a grassroots network of supporters in every voting precinct, developing positions on issues and preparing white papers and issues briefs, conducting and analyzing survey research, reviewing strategy and messaging and making course corrections.

The list goes on and on. Running a campaign is not for those who lack multi-tasking skills. A major political campaign is a complicated enterprise in which multiple elements must be executed simultaneously.

The problem is, a lot of these tasks are terribly boring and tedious. Myriad details must be taken care of, and sometimes campaign workers question whether doing all these little things is really very important, or will make a difference in the end.

Sure, it’s fun to be out doing the big, glamorous, exciting things, like engaging in high-profile debates, filming television spots, holding high-level strategy meetings and visiting editorial boards.

But those things won’t win an election unless they are supported by a solid foundation built through a lot of attention to detail, detail, detail—all the little, boring things that ultimately add up to success: developing lists and crunching political data, stuffing envelopes, printing and production, responding to calls, e-mails, and letters, building a volunteer team, following up with donor prospects, proofreading direct mail, recruiting and training grassroots workers, posting several times daily on social media, putting up lawn signs, walking door-to-door, building relationships, and so forth.

Election success usually results from a million little things coming together at the right time. Each of those million little things seems unimportant. But, all together, they add up to a win.

A campaign is hour after excruciating hour of work and more work, with plenty of wondering if you’re making any headway, especially if your opponent is getting more headlines. But if you’re working smart, executing every phase of the campaign, and getting the fundamentals done right, then it will all culminate in a big win at the end.