Veterans Running for Office: Connecting with Voters
Connecting with voters is perhaps one of the most impactful ways to gauge the potential success of a campaign. It’s also a way to drum up support and solicit feedback on your platform as the timeline progresses toward election day.
But connecting with voters authentically is not something that should be done without any forethought or strategy. After all, the idea that you only get one chance at a first impression could holds a lot of weight when it comes to politics and campaigning.
So, where to begin? If you’ve gotten this far in our blog series, you’ll likely have at least a formative idea of what your platform is. If not, this guide may help you hone in on that platform, or at least give you some hints at what the foundation of it could be.
Making the idea of connecting with voters a priority is important to do from the outset. After all, the voters are who will determine your success on the campaign trail. How can you serve them the best?
Remember, we’ve talked a lot about the fact that you should be very careful of overpromising on your platform. Setting up a platform that both gives voters hope while staying tangible is a challenge, as we’ve seen all throughout political history. Therefore, these beginning phases of finding ways to connect (authentically) with voters are crucial to set a solid foundation to build out your campaign from.
Crafting your story is a topic we’ve lightly touched on up to this point in our series. Now, we’ll dive a bit more into the details of this concept as well as provide some more specific resources for veterans running for office.
Your story matters because it’s a way for you to establish common ground with voters and connect with them on a deeper level. Creating the best version of your story can be challenging because many find it difficult to talk about themselves. Most of us have been raised to feel that talking about ourselves is narcissistic, selfish, off-putting. And while this is absolutely true when a story is told in poor taste, the exact opposite can be true when a story truly resonates with people. If you’re struggling to find a good way to tell your story, this book may be a useful resource.
A personal backstory can be useful in helping voters see where you’re coming from. If your family immigrated to the United States, your platform may resonate well if you take a stand on immigration reform. If you grew up in poverty or struggling to finish school with excellent grades, or had any other sort of perfectly normal but also challenging circumstances in your past, find a way to leverage them in your story. There is a way to do this that won’t be interpreted by most as self-serving. Find ways to share the lessons learned, how whatever challenged you helped you become the person you are today. Everyone has been through something — make yourself an example of what can happen when you use your experiences for good.
Whether you’re running for city council or mayor or if you’ve got your sights set on even bigger platforms, taking on a campaign is challenging, and it can be overwhelming to figure out the best place to start. Learn how to create a successful campaign here.