Translation of Excerpts from Robert Heinlein's Book, Take Your Government Away - Part 22
It doesn’t matter how smartly your headquarters office is repaired and furnished, it’s completely up to the voters, and they will never go there. A phone call from your home phone sounds exactly like a phone call from a smart office. All you need for your headquarters is a typewriter, file cabinet drawers (even shoe boxes are suitable), inexpensive file folders, notepad, access to document reproduction equipment (you don't have to buy it), a separate phone, and nothing more. Nothing at all!
For the decor, use the furniture that is at hand, or build homemade boards from the boards. Your headquarters can be located in any free heated room for which you do not have to pay. For example, in your spare bedroom, an unused children's room, or provided for free by one of your supporters in a run-down office above the store.
For offices of election campaigns, premises that overlook the prestigious business streets are often rented. The usefulness of such, so to speak, headquarters is very doubtful: they do not add voting votes, compared to offices in the backyards. If you can get an unused store building for use, or at least a free snack at the store owned by your candidate’s supporter (in both cases, of course, it’s free), and if you find volunteers for the office who are ready to answer visitors' questions and hand out campaigning, but at the same time, they are completely unwilling to go around polling stations, which means you can call such an office “headquarters” and spend money on flyers and advertising with its address. If you didn’t find such an office, then it’s better to wait until the main election,
In the absence of a luxurious public office, there is one big advantage: your rivals will not consider you a serious threat to their superiority, and before they take you seriously, you will move so far that it will not be easy for them to catch you: election campaigns pass just as quietly and look as harmless as a cancerous tumor in the initial stages of development. In addition, if your office looks modest, then street vendors and regulars of headquarters will not get you that way. The latter are harmless, but very common, akin to parquet generals and kitchen politicians, the lowest form of life, flocking to political offices, occupying chairs and working hours in them, hanging out loudly, and grabbing everything for free that you can reach - from glasses with water from coolers ,
If your headquarters is not in a private house, then make sure that your telephone sets are not accessible to visitors, and if this cannot be provided, take all the phones locked and do not give anyone else the key to the room where they are located. Take practice to consider all outgoing and paid incoming calls. (Headquarters attendees will take this as a terrible tyranny, but this is necessary if you do not want to go broke on visitors' calls). Many do not consider this necessary until they receive from the telephone company a stunning bill for other people's phone calls. As a rule, all these calls can be dispensed with: very rarely there are situations when the call really necessary for your work cannot be made from your home phone. So the best solution to the telephone problem is a paid payphone, and a small supply of funds in your subscriber account with the telephone company, the expense of which is controlled by the office secretary. After taking all these precautions, you yourself can freely use the phone: your calls to the election fund will not be exhausted. And to your secretary - you can put an additional paired phone.
And now let's talk about, in fact, the campaign fund. It should be kept in a bank, issued as an account of a non-profit organization. For its audit, it is necessary to appoint a group of three respected members of your organization that do not control the expenses of the fund. Checks for receiving funds from the fund for their cashing out must be signed simultaneously by at least two signatures - for example, the treasurer and the campaign manager. The candidate you nominate should not sign these checks, although he may reasonably demand the right to prohibit them from paying for the check, as a condition of his participation in the elections, but we hope that he is not one of them.
The following expenses must be planned in the campaign budget:
- registration fees for an election candidate
- printing of propaganda literature
- telephone costs
- the cost of a banquet on the night after the election
The following categories of expenses are not so necessary, although a truly large-scale campaign will require some of them, and possibly even all of them:
- billboard rental
- newspaper advertising
- professional propaganda
- salary to the spokesperson
- salary to the secretary
- money for dinners for volunteers; the cost of gasoline for their cars, or car rental
- radio advertising costs
- candidate additional expenses
- additional expenses of the campaign manager
Having shown some resourcefulness, some of these expenses can be avoided, but not only by abandoning the types of campaigning behind them, but by organizing the free performance of these works.
As a spokesperson, you absolutely need a good professional in public relations. If you do not find such a volunteer, you must, at least part-time, take an employee. The same thing with the office secretary - if you do not find a well-versed typewriter volunteer, then you need to take a hired secretary, although it is still better to find a volunteer.
The need for the remaining costs from the second list depends on local conditions. Be extremely economical regarding the costs of both lists. In political work, there are many ways to spend money, and there are many well-meaning good intentions that, shaking your own experience, will convince you that you need to spend money on this or that action, which, they say, is absolutely necessary for a self-respecting campaign, but not in both of the above list of required expenses. And I’m sure that every time they will be people with experience in campaigns that are not based on polling. With regard to such campaigns, I can say that you can invest as much money as you like, once I myself spent in such a campaign on one single type of action, I spent more than $ 30,000 - in less than thirty days. However, no other method of campaigning can be compared in terms of efficiency with bypassing voters, and it requires almost no expenses, they may be needed only occasionally, and are completely not typical for this type of campaigning. Here, literally, the truth of the saying is confirmed: "All the best in life is free." Having a lot of money in the fund, it is not difficult to conduct an election campaign, however, any costly campaign can be defeated by a well-organized campaign, the money in the fund of which is barely enough to pay for the print of campaigning and pay for the newsletter. “All the best in life is free.” Having a lot of money in the fund, it is not difficult to conduct an election campaign, however, any costly campaign can be defeated by a well-organized campaign, the money in the fund of which is barely enough to pay for the print of campaigning and pay for the newsletter. “All the best in life is free.” Having a lot of money in the fund, it is not difficult to conduct an election campaign, however, any costly campaign can be defeated by a well-organized campaign, the money in the fund of which is barely enough to pay for the print of campaigning and pay for the newsletter.
In addition to the headquarters building, which is the center for coordinating the campaign, the candidate and the campaign manager need to allocate a rest room, or, if they are of different sexes, two rooms to avoid gossip of enemies. For this, an unused room in the house of one of the supporters is suitable, especially if there is a telephone with voice mail that allows you to leave a message without disturbing the resting recipient. Because, in the midst of the campaign, sooner or later it will come to the point that only an afternoon nap or half an hour of rest from hard work will help the candidate and his manager maintain clarity of mind, sobriety of judgments, and maybe even health. A room facing the back yard, in the same building where your main office is located, is also suitable for the relaxation room.
Agitator squad: training and guiding agitators
Suppose you, even before the start of the election campaign, with the help of your political club formed a detachment of agitators. Suppose also that you have just as many agitators as you need for congressional elections, that is, so many that the campaign manager is not able to direct them personally directly. This means that there are more than 10 of them - the maximum number of volunteers who can be directly led. Therefore, you need to appoint agitator squad leaders. Where to find them? Talents are where you find them. The clear structure of the organization of agitators created in your imagination will crumble at the first meeting with reality, because you will not find enough leaders who can be delegated authority and who are able to fully lead the departments. Many of your unit commanders will actually be couriers,
In order to make the communication with the agitators as direct as possible, it is necessary to conduct a general meeting of agitators of all departments at your central headquarters on a weekly basis at the same time. Remember to stock up on coffee and donuts. Make sure that the candidate’s timetable is set aside for these meetings, because their goal is not only to instruct your volunteers about the situation on the ground, but also to inspire them by letting them chat with the one they support. Make the event as informal as possible, like a family party - without rows of chairs and a stage with a podium.
Another weekly event held after the above, or before it, should be meetings of the executive committee, at which you will discuss the strategy and tactics of your actions, and the general state of affairs. At these meetings you yourself must be obligatory, and your candidate may not attend them.
Always remember that your agitators are your most valuable asset, which is difficult to obtain and not easy to keep. They are not just surnames in the lists of members of your political clubs, and not your employees - a similar, callous attitude towards them does not contribute to the creation of a successful election organization. You found your volunteers during your entry into politics, having weeded out of the thousands of people you met those who express their political views by deeds, and not by idle chatter. And when you find such a person, you value him (or her), educate and inspire him, take care of him and take care of him.
Do not think that as soon as you lead the campaign, volunteers will immediately reach you. Some candidates and campaign managers seem to think that volunteer agitators grow on trees! If you have not gotten your supporters who believe in you, are ready to follow you and work under your leadership, then you are not yet ready to independently conduct an election campaign for elections of such a scale as congressional elections, and have not yet passed the beginner stage politics.
If you do not have time to take up the organization of the election campaign, or if circumstances prevent you from doing this, read this chapter anyway, because the principles described here are largely applicable even if you are not heading the election campaign but working on its committee. Knowing these principles, you will at least be able to keep your manager on the right track, advising him on what to do, and perhaps contribute to turning defeat into victory if your manager, as is often the case, is smart and energetic, but inexperienced.
The organization of volunteer agitators never looks as slender and beautiful as the organization of hired agitators in professional politics, but it is better for winning an election. Napoleon also said - “In war, the consciousness of his innocence quadruples his strength,” and I think he was still careful with his assessment. The main advantage of a volunteer over a hired professional is his sincere enthusiasm. Napoleon's proportion in politics rises to one in ten. A volunteer works for the campaign twenty-four hours a day, not because he was ordered, but because he cannot do otherwise. Election work is part of his flesh and blood, he is a political partisan, acting of his own mind, demoralizing the superior army of the enemy, and inspiring new hope in a desperate civilian population. And like a real partisan, the volunteer fights with the means that he has, and he himself invents and does what he lacks. Your goal is to inspire and direct his enthusiasm - that is, to become the leader of your election organization.
Leadership is by no means a mysterious skill or an innate quality. A leader is not someone who artificially fosters enthusiasm with fake-enthusiastic slogans, as club leaders, television preachers, and radio hosts do. You only need to be sincere and not lazy. You will learn everything else during the course of your work, at a pace that matches your temperament. Those who are energetic, but who lack sincerity, can also become leaders because because of the absence of other leaders, people will accept this as well.
When leading political volunteers, be aware that people are not aquarium fish that just feed enough to make them happy. A pat on the shoulder, public praise for the work done, a badge of merit, an invitation to dine together, a letter of thanks, a post-election party, personal communication with the candidate - all this motivates employees much better than cash rewards or appointments to the post in the government. When people have already earned their daily bread, they have a new basic need - to be recognized by society. And it is the need for recognition that makes us behave in a way that looks in the eyes of society as those whom we want to be considered.
If you don’t like the definition of “public acceptance”, use another one to your taste, but I’m sure that with the growth of life experience you will understand that the basis of all human aspirations, except those that are caused by simple animal reflexes - hunger, lust, and fear, lies the need for the elusive that will satisfy the ideal idea of the person about himself. Even animal reflexes weaken before this need, otherwise the soldiers would not go under the bullets, the guests at the dinner party would be interested only in food, and the men would not be embarrassed in the presence of women, but would drag them into the bushes. Even people are so much interested in money, rather, not because of the simple need to have a stomach, but because of the recognition of society associated with financial prosperity. Someone is looking for a good income opportunity to provide a family, education for children, and live in a good house, and someone is an opportunity to feel successful. That is, and in this we are driven by a feeling that cannot be touched, no matter with the possibility of acquiring what material things it is associated with.
And in politics, this powerful motivation is encouraged by simple praise in various forms.
Most Americans in the country want to be considered worthy citizens of their country because they have been brought up like that. And after you explain to them that pre-election work is the highest manifestation of their civic qualities (which is really so!) They will be able to fulfill this need, bypassing the voters. Let everyone around you know that no other political work is as honorable and prestigious as the election campaign, and that the most important asset of any political organization is its agitators. Always show that although all the other employees in your campaign — clerks, speakers, and the like — are wonderful people, agitators are her elite. Therefore, never let those who donated funds dictate what you should do and take their opinion into account to a lesser extent than you heed your advice.
You can organize a Club of Agitators, and organize weekly meetings. Make participation in the pre-election work a prerequisite for membership in this club, and if a decrepit and feeble volunteer in a wheelchair wants to become a member of this club, then in order to comply with the membership condition, let him phone the voters.
At each meeting of the Agitators Club, remind you that the club is for the elite, and the only way to become a member is to participate in the voter turnout. And that John Rockefeller himself will not be able to get into the club if he does not work with voters, even if he offers large sums for membership in the club.
Such a restriction may restore against you some of those who might be useful to your campaign but who do not want or are not able to get around the voters. But it’s better to show firmness, even if it will cause some of your supporters to leave you, but it will strengthen the spirit and increase the prestige of your agitators. When you create and lead such a club, it will not only benefit your candidate, but also make you an influential figure in the district party hierarchy. Smart politicians will quickly see that you have real power in the area and will reach for your support. You, in turn, do not neglect the help of their political organizations, which can subsequently become a source of volunteers for your campaigns.
And, of course, your candidate, Mr. Chestnyaga, is also a member of the club of agitators, because you made sure that he contributed to bypassing the voters. Do not let him skip club meetings, even partially, even if the governor, or the head of your party, wants to see him that evening. Otherwise, your crop of voters could plummet. On the other hand, if a candidate is absent due to illness, you can use this fact to encourage agitators to work harder.
I already described in the previous chapter the main methods of campaigning, however, in order for your agitators to be able to use these methods, they need to be trained a little, because many beginning agitators have the “effect of fear of the auditorium”. There are many good training methods, and perhaps in addition to the methods that I will now describe, you will come up with your own, just do not make them too complicated.
The most difficult thing when visiting a voter’s house is the beginning of a conversation when the owner of the house will open the door for you. The next in difficulty is the continuation of the conversation, when the voter has already answered your first phrase - it usually follows one of a dozen pre-prepared scripts. And when you got through the first two phrases, the whole further conversation is much easier, because, in essence, we are all talkative monkeys. Therefore, it is very useful to distribute leaflets with blanks of several phrases to your agitators to start the conversation.
For example, such:
Phrases for starting a conversation
“-Hello, Mr. Krotchet! I’m your neighbor, my name is Thomas Druzhinin (or Mabel Druzhinina), I came to you to ask you to support Jonathan Chestnyaga at the primaries next month. ”
“-Good morning, Mr. Krotchet, my name is Tom Druzhinin. We are campaigning for the nomination of Jonathan Chestnyaga as a party candidate, I would like to tell you about him, and I hope to get your support for him. ”
“Hello, is this Mrs. Crotchet?” Mrs. Krotchet, I am one of your neighbors, Thomas Druzhinin. If you could give me a couple of minutes, I would like to tell you about the civil committee we created in order to get the best representatives from our district elected to Congress. ”
Possible answers to these phrases and continued conversation:
“- You know, I am a supporter of Jack Hope.”
“-I understand you, he is a worthy person. And besides, he is also a candidate from our party, if, of course, he achieves a nomination. Mr. Chestnyaga pledged to support him and to participate in his nomination, so we, in essence, are at the same time. ”
Depending on the response received, then the conversation ends, or an invitation to attend a meeting of the local political club.
"-First tenants have moved, and we support another party."
“-Sorry to bother you.” Then please be sure to come to the polls. According to our candidate, Mr. Chestnyaga, if we all vote as our conscience tells us, it doesn’t matter whether Chestnyaga is elected or if Chestnyaga loses the election, in any case the government will be in good hands. ”
(pay attention to the triple mention in your answer of the name of your candidate, this is done on purpose, and perhaps will encourage your interlocutor to vote for him).
“-And how much do you get paid for this campaign?
“-You know, they don’t pay us anything for this, these are independent actions of our group of voters. We organize campaigning and do not get any money for it, but on the contrary, we pay for the rent of the office, printing of leaflets, and everything else, each taking off little by little. We believe that only in this way can we achieve an honest government. ”
"-I don’t have time to talk with you"
"-Sorry, I disturbed you. May I leave you our flyers and visit you later at a time more convenient for you? We understand that such busy people like you have no time to sort out the candidates for primaries, but would like to introduce you to our candidate Mr. Chestnyaga, because we know that your opinion is very authoritative in our city. ”
"-You, I never go to the primaries and other preliminary votes, only to the main elections in the fall."
(In truth, this subject is hopeless, however, perhaps not all is lost)
“-You, if you wait until the fall, you will not get a single chance to make your own choice. And this year, primaries are especially important. Maybe if we send you a car and bring you to the polling station, you still make an exception and vote? We really need your support. ”
“I'm going to vote for Mr. Chestnyagu.”
“Great, very nice to hear that. Here you have additional materials about Mr. Chestnyaga, maybe some of your friends will be interested in them. By the way, Mr. Chestnyaga is invited to speak at our political club next Friday. Maybe, on the way there, I stop by for you? ”
Agitators will train each other, sharing experience in personal conversations, and in these conversations you will find examples of skillful conversation, even better than those that I brought to you, and perfectly suited to the conditions of your campaign, in your constituency. One of the easiest ways to train an agitator is to send him for one day or evening to agitate voters with an experienced colleague. For a group of agitators, you can arrange a practical seminar, which will be conducted by a couple of experienced employees, playing with each other typical conversations encountered in practice, like the extended version of the list of phrases above. Let them demonstrate two options for each case - with skillful conversation and with the inept. And by the way, this seminar can become the basis for the “skit” - an entertainment program at the party of your political club. Examples of inept conversation can be very funny, especially in the performance of a person with an acting talent of the middle hand. Imagine a similar scene: an inexperienced agitator Joe Grubiyan appears at the voter’s door, smoking a cigarette, and starts ringing the doorbell, alternating the bell with a knock on the door until he wakes up or pulls out the mistress of the house. When the door is opened to him, he and the mistress begin to argue on political issues, putting his foot in the doorway so that the door does not close. Etc. an inexperienced agitator Joe Grubiyan appears at the voter’s door, smoking a cigarette, and starts ringing the doorbell, alternating the bell with a knock on the door until he wakes up or pulls out the mistress of the house. When the door is opened to him, he and the mistress begin to argue on political issues, putting his foot in the doorway so that the door does not close. Etc. an inexperienced agitator Joe Grubiyan appears at the voter’s door, smoking a cigarette, and starts ringing the doorbell, alternating the bell with a knock on the door until he wakes up or pulls out the mistress of the house. When the door is opened to him, he and the mistress begin to argue on political issues, putting his foot in the doorway so that the door does not close. Etc.
As for other ways of learning, I’m sure that with the recent striking advances in the field of training using visual materials, both of our main parties will soon begin to shoot and distribute educational films to the local political clubs that clearly show what I told you above. Such films will be very useful if you advise their directors will be real agitators, in practice, faced with the problem of a closed door. Otherwise, the agitators will not benefit from these films. So when such a movie is sent to you, watch it yourself before showing it to your team.
Develop a habit for your agitators to keep a card file, for which hand them a meeting at a meeting with a pack of standard card files, not forgetting to accompany the distribution with an invitation to donate to the campaign fund as much as possible. Show them your own file cabinet and explain to them how much the usefulness of their work depends on whether they have information on election day about where the owners of the votes they have obtained live. Do not forget about the commanders of your units. Some of them may show such talents that they can inspire you to new ideas, while others will be just couriers transmitting your instructions and propaganda materials from you to your department. In both cases, unit commanders themselves must take on at least one polling station, otherwise they will not understand the problems of agitators,
There is another reason for everything in your organization to get around voters: shortly before the Second World War, the US Army increased its combat potential by 30%, providing rifles and carbines, along with rank-and-file soldiers, to all officers - from sergeant to major inclusive. In organizing an election campaign, you can achieve the same result. More than once I met election organizations in which there were so many people in all kinds of leadership positions that there was almost no room for ordinary agitators in them. And then they still wondered why they lost the election! By the way, this was just the case when I got experience that made me change my mind to the opposite. In my first campaign, I liked to quote an aphorism from an old almanac published by Benjamin Franklin: "The instructions of the leader will do the work much more than his hands." But now I would rephrase this maxim in relation to politics: “An example of a leader will do much more than his instructions, add to him an understanding of the situation on the ground, and bring him additional electoral votes.”
It would also be nice for your spokesperson to participate in the voter turnout in order to feel the “taste of the campaign”, but only he most likely will not agree whether he is a hired employee or a volunteer. But still, invite him to participate, because he will not shoot you for this!
And even your office secretary can visit several houses of voters after the end of her working day: this way she will better understand the essence of your campaign. Although, in essence, for her work there are enough skills to write and hold her tongue competently, as well as good memory, so as not to forget the details of what needs to be done.