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Practical Politics
Campaign Strategy

From Games, Activities, and Simulations for Teaching Civics
© Stevens & Shea.
Planning a political campaign involves many decisions. In this exercise you have to make some typical campaign decisions.

Decision 1

In a campaign you can take one of several approaches to what you are going to say in your talks and press releases.

You can

  1. Play up your own personality and virtues.
  2. You can criticize your opponents' lack of ability.
  3. You can criticize your opponents' stands on the issues and play up your own stands.
  4. You can use a mixture of these approaches.
You are running for office for the first time. You are young and inexperienced, but you have definite ideas about what should be done.

Your opponent has been taking contributions from some business interests that probably want something in return.

Which approach do you take?

Decision 2

You need money to run your campaign. You can obtain the money in several ways.

You can

  1. Seek only small contributions.
  2. Seek large contributions from interest groups in return for favors.
  3. Seek large contributions from interest groups whose views you could support.
  4. Seek large contributions but give a signed statement that you will vote the way you see fit.
You are running for the local school board. A grocery wholesaler has offered a large contribution. He has asked for no favors; however, he does do business with the schools.

What approach do you take and do you accept the contribution?

Decision 3

You must decide how to carry out your campaign. You are running in a town that has 30,000 voters.

You can

  1. Rely primarily on TV and radio.
  2. Take your campaign to the streets and walk from door to door.
  3. Use direct mailings to the home of each voter.
The first approach requires a lot of money but is very effective in reaching a large number of voters quickly. The second approach is time consuming and usually requires the help of volunteers. The last approach also costs money but is not as expensive as the first.

Which approach do you use?

The Practical Politician

Conscience, Contributors or Constituents

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