Inside Democratic campaigns—going beyond the basics


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Over the last year, we’ve seen a lot of candidates announce they are running for office or keep us aware of how their campaign is going. When candidates and campaigns join Daily Kos, they become part of our family in a way; and we root for their success. Most importantly, you as community members provide them a valuable resource by helping to improve their message, refine their responses and give them feedback on what is working and what isn’t.

While you may not think about it this way, for candidates, Daily Kos can often act as the kind of focus group of liberal progressive thought that they would otherwise have to pay significant money to get responses from, and turn those responses into action.

When candidates reach out to me, or anyone on the Daily Kos staff, they could be looking for a chance to be endorsed by Daily Kos Elections, or just an opportunity to talk about an issue they have within their campaign.

In general, a big part of my day to day is working to respond and put campaigns in touch with resources and tools that can help them win.

Nuts & Bolts LIVE

While Nuts & Bolts is a great program, there is some information that you can really only do in person, in part because it requires a lot of back and forth and open discussion, and in part because some of the information, like campaign and voter data in a district, isn’t really appropriate to publish that in public, because without the context of a question and answer period or even the need to protect basic privacy, you sometimes don’t get to the heart of how the heck you succeed in your district.

So, two years ago, I began doing “Nuts and Bolts LIVE”, a program that works at State Convention meetings, state party events, and in county and campaign meetings all over the country. In the next 30 days, we’ll be talking with candidates and campaigns in: South Dakota, Minnesota, Hawai’i and conferences in several other places.

There are great Democratic training efforts which need more attention—like the fantastic Democratic Training Committee, DFA, PCCC, Boot Camp, and many of those programs can walk campaigns, in great detail, through everything from fundraising to how to use NGP-Van and even campaign perspectives. Nuts & Bolts isn’t engineered to look after the person running the top of the campaign, so when we do Nuts & Bolts live, I focus on how to be better volunteers and campaign workers.

Interested in Nuts & Bolts Live at your state meeting? Feel free to send me a private message or tweet, and we’ll see what we can do.

Too tough? Need help?

The Daily Kos community is full of people who have run campaigns, worked on campaigns, or run for office. No one knows all of the answers—but the more people you can talk to about their experiences, the more likely it is you find answers that match what you need.

Going beyond Nuts & Bolts is also reading several great series on Daily Kos and helping to use them to find out messaging that works, data that resonates, and people who can help you as your campaign moves forward.

The old phrase goes: inch by inch, life is a cinch; yard by yard it is very hard. For many campaigns, the value in Nuts & Bolts, and the Daily Kos community isn’t in picking up yards of information — it is about the inch by inch movement toward the right practics that will be enough to put you over the line in November.

Next week on Nuts & Bolts: Issue briefs – what we know

Nuts & Bolts: Building Democratic Campaigns

Contact the Daily Kos group Nuts and Bolts by kosmail (members of Daily Kos only). You can also follow me on twitter: @tmservo433

Every Saturday this group will chronicle the ins and outs of campaigns, small and large. Issues to be covered: Campaign Staffing, Fundraising, Canvass, Field Work, Data Services, Earned Media, Spending and Budget Practices, How to Keep Your Mental Health, and on the last Saturday of the month: “Don’t Do This!” a diary on how you can learn from the mistakes of campaigns in the past.

You can follow prior installments in this series HERE.


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