(feel free to sing along)
Ohio always turns out for the president
But all other elections she is absent
Ohio attracts all the talent
Except in non summer Olympic years
I hate that I have to say it
But I feel very strongly
Ohio may not be an asset to her citizens
How do you solve a problem like Ohio.
Last week I presented my case for why Ohio voted for President Obama twice, yet has a conservative republican state government. We know the why, let's figure out how to change this duality in Ohio's voting behaviors.
The primary obstacle that needs to be dealt with is the ineptness of the county parties. When you have the same people in charge after years of failure, staff replacement is not an option. These party bosses are in their position because they played the right political game a decade ago. These bosses think things like knocking on doors, bowing to the local unions, and swearing fidelity to the national party are the ways to run political elections. Technology has changed the process over the last ten years. The rise of social networking has made the idea of door knocking antiquated and wasteful.
Let's talk about technology. The first iPhone debuted in 2007, and the public started to enter the world of smartphones. Twitter came on line in 2006, Facebook allowed non-college students to join in 2006, Instagram started sharing photos in 2010. The party bosses running the local elections were in charge when the rise of social networking and the ability to share information started to take hold. There was a new wave of political strategists that understood the power of social media. These strategists did not respect, or were respected, by the established local political bosses. The future of political outreach rested in social media, and nobody was taking advantage of this incredible tool.
The rise of the internet allowed political candidates a new, and usually less expensive, portal to voter outreach. All that was needed for a candidate was a simple website that showed the public what the candidate believed in, and how you could contribute money. Today we see very few local candidates use the benefit of the internet. Many local parties refuse to invest the low cost / high reward resources on websites and social media. They would still rather rely on high resource / low benefit activities like door knocking for voter outreach. The average dedicated voter would rather spend time on the internet than answering an unknown doorbell pusher. In 2015 if your doorbell rings it is usually a solicitor, unexpected family member, or a political candidate. In today's world, none are a welcome presence.
How do we reach the dedicated voter in the twenty-first century? The smart candidate will first use the free tools available, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The minimal time spent to set up a profile for the social networking sites will pay large dividends in the end. Instead of knocking on 100 doors on a Saturday, use the time to post and respond to 1000 potential donors. Do not be bullied into canvasing by other "establishment" candidates. Build your online profile and watch the support (and money) pour in. The most fertile voter base for local candidates is the millennial generation. They are going to be much more excited by a candidate's online presence than they will be impressed by a one sheet paper handed to them on a sunny summer day.
Embracing the idea of online voter outreach will also attract a new, dynamic, type of candidate. Many people interested in running for local office are new to the political process. Telling them that they have to spreed their spring / summer / fall days knocking on doors is usually a hard sell. Many winnable candidates will turn down the offer to run for office when the local party bosses start talking about canvasing. Let's use these candidates greatest assets to get them elected. Walking door to door is nobody's greatest asset. We want great ideas and voices to be our leaders. Social networking gives these ideas and voices a megaphone to needed voters.
The days of mapping out neighborhoods and going door to door is over. In order to get a truly people elected government you have to find out how to get the people to vote for your ideas. We do not like to answer unknown front door visitors. We do get excited by leaders who understand the twenty-first century. If you want to start to solve the Ohio problem, do not talk to 100 potential voters on a Saturday in September. Connect with thousands of potential voters every day equipped only with your passion and ideas.
The establishment has lost the way. You are your own political boss.
RD Kulik is the creator and Head Editor for Seed Sing. He wants your ideas to run the country, not the ideas of an antiquated party system. Contact email@example.com for support on launching your political career.