Tuesday, May 27, 2008

PSA: Campaigns

Because we are a week away from the Primary and campaigns are preparing their who’s or what will get blamed or take credit for their victory or defeat, let’s review some basics to see through the spin:

Labor does not run candidate campaigns

They can run IE campaign on behalf of candidates and issues but they are not the “campaigns.” Those belong to the candidate, their consultants, and staff. Regardless of what the other side would have you believe, Labor does not dictate to candidates how to run their campaigns.

The Democratic Party does not run candidate campaigns
Here, the other side gives the Dems too much credit. The purpose of the local party is to assist, though volunteers and the media, their endorsed candidates and causes. They do not operate candidate campaigns nor to they, like Labor, order campaigns to bow to their wishes.

Consultants run candidate campaigns
Ever notice how the local press goes to the consultant first, then the campaign manager? These hired guns are called in to give the campaign the oversight, direction, and keep said campaigns on course. They can tell campaigns what to do and can clue them into resources that these campaigns would otherwise not have.

Candidates run campaigns
The final nail of accountability goes to the name at the top of the letterhead. It is seen as a reflection of their abilities in being able to hire (and fire) the right people and to get elected. Some campaigns operate more independently of their consultant than others, but it is up to the candidate and their manager, chosen to be the right hand, to decide what is the best course of action. At the end of the day, it is the candidate who accepts responsibility for what has happened no matter who was at fault.

Unless there was some boneheaded move by a staffer, consultant or volunteer that gets press time, these are the tiers of responsibility.

So when consultants start blaming the “party” or “labor”, just remember that neither of these two can run the shop for the campaign. That’s why there is a campaign manager and consultant in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Because you always hear them thank labor or the party if they win; rarely do they publicly thank the consultant. But you're right - if they lose, it is "never their fault" or the consultant's fault...

Anonymous said...

They thank the party and the unions, and then pay the consultants.