Translation of Excerpts from Robert Heinlein's Book, Take Your Government Away - Part 25
Chapter 10 How to Win Elections: Conclusion
Reminder of the last week before the election
During the campaign, your candidate visited more than 3,000 voters at home, and possibly even up to 5,000. (Say it is fantastic? Not at all: I visited 8,000 voters in one of my campaigns at one time). Your campaigners were visited by another 25,000 people, and you, of course, also participated in the polls. Say you didn’t have time? My dear ladies or sir, you must have time for this! I advise you to allocate for visits to voters the afternoon of Tuesday and Thursday, from one in the afternoon to five in the evening. And do not assign anything to this time.
Your campaign may not have been perfect, but still your 20,000 aimed shots have been successful - they have found those who will vote for you. Your well-aimed hits were reinforced by massive artillery bombardment - massive voter coverage by advertising and rallies. However, many of your hits were made quite a long time ago, and now you need to remind voters that the time has come to vote. To do this, you use reminders sent the last week before the election. I advise you to either massively send out postcards in the cent a piece, or send personal letters addressed personally to each voter, and not choose any intermediate option. Because the traditional political advertising is stenciled, addressed to everyone right away, and sent by the third postal class in a chubby, unsealed envelope, Stuffed with a bunch of leaflets with lengthy text, it will be in the trash basket even before reading. The card will be read, because its text is short, and there is a chance that it will not be discarded immediately, but will be saved for several days as a reminder. A personal letter sent by the first postal class is even more likely to be read and remembered by the voter.
However, your postage, even for one postcard, will be at least two hundred dollars, not counting the cost of printing text on them, and (naturally volunteering) the work of filling out the address and affixing a signature to them. Postcards should always be signed by someone, though, and not necessarily on your behalf. Signing and addressing postcards will take many hours, so this work must begin to be done long before the date of distribution. Sending reminders in the last week before the election will be your biggest waste for the entire campaign, and can reach up to a third of all your campaign expenses. You may have to use postcards rather than personal letters to voters based on available time and money resources. But in this case, I would advise you, nevertheless, to consider the possibility of sending personal letters to those of voters,
“Five thousand personal letters?” - you say - “Why, even a professional typist will spend at least four months printing them!” And indeed it is. But not everything is so bad: there is a mechanism invented by a man named Gouven, capable of printing many copies of it from the entered text - a thing like a mechanical piano. You can even insert commands into the sample text, upon meeting which the mechanism pauses, allowing the operator to type in the name, date, personal appeal, and any other additions to the source text, without affecting the printing of the rest of the text. A letter printed by this mechanism cannot be distinguished from a letter printed by a person. Print services using the Gouven mechanism exist in all major cities. If this is not in your city, you can use their services by mail. This printing method is more expensive.
Try to make the text of the letter concise and succinct - for efficiency and cost savings. Here is an example of such a letter:
Dear Mr. Boggles,
I hope you remember my visit to you on April 3 this year, and our discussion with you about the primary elections. The primaries will take place next Tuesday. In nominating myself for the Congressional nomination from the Democratic Republican Party, I hope I can count on your vote. I am enclosing a brief description of my person and my political program.
Regardless of whether you support me or another candidate, I ask you and your family to go vote next Tuesday. The right to vote and civic duty for the good of our country is much more important than the ambitions of the candidates.
In this letter, the name of the voter and the date of the visit to him are the only fields requiring a stop of the Gouven machine so that specific data can be entered. If you use postcards with text printed in the printing house, then you will have to limit yourself to general wording, such as “Dear Dempublican” and “recent visit”. But nevertheless, it is better to send such cards to all voters on your list than to send personal letters, only parts of the voters. Just do not give in to the temptation to send reminders without exception to all voters registered in the district: such mailing will not justify your expenses.
It is advisable for your candidate to flip through ready-made cards to provide at least some of them with postscripts addressed to the voter personally. These postscripts can be attributed by hand to the same person who will sign the cards. For example: “PS Greetings to your puppy - J.Ch.”, or “Your son is quite an adult, I hope for his vote in the 1960 elections” “By the way, write me your opinion about the proposal that we discussed”, and “I hope your husband has already fully recovered. ”
Perhaps some of your campaigners at their own polling station can afford to use the Gouven print service themselves, or be so zealous that they can prepare personal letters manually - by hand, or on a typewriter. This is a lot of work, but on the scale of one polling station it is doable. Or, you can provide your campaigners with postcards with your “trademark” printed on them - a portrait of Mr. Chestnyaga, occupying about a third of the postcard, with the message: “Dear Voter,” and the main text of your reminder to voters. Use a font that mimics the font of a typewriter and leave space for the signature of the agitator.
You may need to ask those of your employees who can afford to chip in postage. Having collected only a few dollars per person, you will collect at least a few hundred dollars into the campaign fund. One of the wonderful qualities of the volunteers is how selflessly they are ready to give all the best while working for the campaign just before the election. While the employees are waiting for everything to be brought to them on a silver platter, including their salary.
Particular attention should be paid to unregistered voters, whom Mr. Chestnyaga and your agitators found during the campaign and who can vote for you. After all, you regularly received reports from your employees about the unregistered voters they found, whose names you passed on to the registrar of voters, with whom, of course, you maintain friendly relations. These votes are yours if you carefully ask their owners to vote. They can reach up to several thousand, which is enough to turn an unfortunate defeat into a difficult victory. These are the very voices that Thomas Dewey did not have in the 1944 election - the voices of the "sleeping" voters. Pay particular attention to reminders sent to them and patronize them on election day. You can use more individualized texts in reminders for them,
The entire packet of reminders must be sorted into individual constituencies, and sent to the post office no later than the afternoon of Friday before the election (which will be held on Tuesday).
The election campaign is almost over; only the final spurt remains, which requires careful preparation. The ideal option for organizing elections is as follows: each quarter of the city is patronized by a separate employee of the campaign headquarters, a group of employees is led by a group leader, over which the unit commander stands. In Nagotov, you have a detachment of cars sent from headquarters to polling stations, skillfully coordinating their actions by telephone, your employees are at the polling stations. In case of gross provocations from the opposition, there is a detachment of physically strong people and groups of lawyers ready for more difficult situations. All this is organized and works as clearly as the command of a warship going into battle.
But you will not have such an ideal organization. And you will not see anything like it anywhere, with the exception of some organizations in large cities in the Mississippi, but even there they will not be so ideal. The ideal of your organization, which at best you will achieve by 80%, is three field officers at each polling station, one at each polling station, one on the phone, one with the car at the ready, group commanders available by phone, if necessary, leaving for the right place in the territory entrusted to them, a phone, a group of your personal assistants, and two lawyers in touch, immediately leaving for the place in case of problems. For pressure, you manage your group of assistants, hoping that even the most unscrupulous policemen will not allow lawlessness, if they know that their actions are watched by a lawyer. Mr. Chestnyaga will spend this day driving around the sites and inspiring local employees.
To create such an organization on election day, you will need several times more employees than you have in the club of agitators. But to create such an organization for one day is not so difficult, provided that all your unit commanders work actively and energetically. This can not be said about some of them, so correctly prioritize, and, first of all, do the following important tasks:
- In areas that your candidate personally visited, take care of every voter he visits, even if for this you have to withdraw your best volunteers to these areas, leaving their own areas without guardianship.
- Try to cover those areas where you yourself bypassed the voters.
- Do not send employees to sites that your employees didn’t go around during the campaign, unless you have an obvious surplus of employees. In this case, you can send the most inexperienced volunteers to these sites to distribute leaflets to voters. Remember to instruct your campaigners how close they are to handing out flyers according to local laws, and warn them not to get involved in any disputes.
- If only one employee works on your site, then he or she can do almost as much as three people would do according to the following schedule: on the evening before the election and from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the election day, the employee should call as many voters as will be able. Those voters who need to be brought to the polling station should be scheduled to meet from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., pick them up at the appointed time, and take the whole group to the polling station. After lunch, an employee travels to the polling station to see who has already voted by deleting them from their lists. And after that - it's time to get to work with those who have not yet voted, appointing them a meeting time from 4 to 6 pm to take them to vote.
At 6 o’clock in the evening you need to look at the voter lists, and select those who have not yet voted, and then start delivering them to the polling station, paying attention to both the current contacts on your list and the list of inactive voters. As soon as the polling stations are closed, after a quick dinner, it's time to go to the polling station to monitor the counting of votes, not forgetting to inform the chairman of the precinct election commission about this. When the vote count is completed, your employee will report the results of the count to headquarters, and then can go to the post-election party. Thus, the employee is busy with work all day, but spending in such a way all day is not at all difficult for a peppy healthy person.
- If there are two employees at the polling station, then the work can be distributed between them, however, making sure that the polling station does not remain unattended by any of them, even after the close of the vote, until the votes are counted.
- If you have three employees on the polling station, one of them may be involved in the selection of votes on the way to the polling station, providing the distance required by law to the place of voting. (In most states, the law allows election observers to also campaign, provided that they do not do so directly at the polling station. Thus, by providing information to your car assistants about who has not yet voted, your employee campaigns at the same time from your car, a mobile propaganda center, having covered the car with an advertisement for your candidate, and handing out leaflets reminding everyone that Jonathan Chestnyaga was participating in the elections). If local authorities, contrary to laws, do not welcome such agitation, then the police may complain about your volunteer.
Therefore, you better take care to prevent such situations in advance by sending the best lawyer from your staff so that he speaks to the head of the local police in advance, explains your intentions to him, and finds out what exactly you are allowed on election day (without downloading the rights, but speaking humanly). If the head of the police forbids you what you have the right to and does not backtrack, hint to him that you will contact the higher police: on this score, the Supreme Court once issued a decision capable of appealing to local authorities, especially when they see that you know your rights.
The presence of a second employee at the polling station is very desirable for campaigning voters on the way to the polling station, because the polling station can usually be approached from two sides.
- Employees to coordinate your actions on the phone can be found among your supporters, or the wives of your agitators, those who are at home with children, or are sick, but can work by phone. They must be provided with voter lists compiled by your agitators, and instructions prepared by you that describe how to speak with voters. Here is the appropriate wording for such a dialogue: “Hello, is this Mrs. Duplex? Mrs. Duplex, you are concerned about the campaign headquarters of Congressional candidate Jonathan Chestnyaga. Have you voted today? Maybe you need to be taken to the polling station and back? You can take your child with you, we will look after him for a few minutes while you vote. Is there anyone else in your family who needs to be taken to vote? Okay, then we will pick you up from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. is this time convenient for you? Not? We can pick you up from 4 to 6 in the evening. And what time is more convenient for you? Well, we will pick you up separately at 3 p.m. I’ll write it down. Do not thank, we are happy to help you. "
Note that during these calls, you do not directly campaign the voters, limiting yourself only to reminding you to vote and offering your help in getting to the polling station, however, not forgetting to mention your candidate’s name as often as possible, referring to the name of your campaign headquarters . The one who drives voters is limited in his campaign only by advertising on the car, and handing to each delivered voter leaflets with a reminder of the elections and your candidate's participation in them.
The purpose of your work on election day is to turn your potential votes into real votes cast for you, providing all your supporters with the opportunity to vote. Often, the elections you are interested in are held to vote on rather minor issues, or on candidates for a fairly low position. In such elections, voters can vote in your favor only because your employees did them a favor by delivering them to the polling station. Many voters themselves come to vote only for presidential, gubernatorial, and senate elections. If supporters of Mr. Chestnyaga deliver such voters to the polling station, then there is a high probability that the votes of those brought will be given to this particular candidate.