Political Campaign Test

Political Campaign Test

From Davao City Development Center

Why am I running for office? Well, that’s a question only you can answer. Candidates who know why they are running usually win. But believe it or not, many candidates can’t articulate a compelling reason for running.

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Once you’ve decided to run for office you will need to answer the question “why are you running?” For some it is an easy question to answer because you’re running to solve a particular problem and have a passion for the work that needs to be done in a particular office. For others, the answer may be murkier. Knowing the reason(s) behind your run for office and what your goals is once you’re elected is critical to being a successful candidate. Having a generic, canned answer to the question is not good enough and voters will see through it. 

Ted Kennedy's famous non-answer to why he was running for office in his 1980 presidential campaign is a historical lesson about not having your heart in the race. But there are countless examples in less high-profile races of candidates not being able to successfully answer the “why are you running political for office” question.

Running for office for the right reasons is critical, not only to gaining support but also to winning.  If you lack passion or a clear reason for running, that will be evident to voters. Think long and hard before you launch your campaign, because you don't want to commit to a race you don’t want to be in or a race you can’t win. Or even worse, you don’t want to get elected and realize you really don't want to do the job.  With that said, here’s a breakdown of some good and bad reasons to run.

Good reasons for running for office

  • To help your community. This is the classic reason of running for office. You see your community needs help and you believe you have the skills to fill that need. 
  • Advocating for causes. There is a specific cause or policy that is affecting your community and you feel that you can have a real impact on the issue by running for office. What current issues are filling up the airwaves and what are your stances on them?

Bad reasons for running for office

  • The party asked me to. Just because someone asks you to run does not mean they have your best interests in mind. This could be a great start if you have other reasons for running but running for office to please someone else is always a bad idea. 
  • Revenge against the incumbent. The reason that “he did something to me so I’m going to beat him” is not a good reason to begin running for office. In fact, revenge is a horrible reason to run, no matter how bad the opponent is. Make sure there are other motivations that drive you. 
  • Because I can win. It’s important that you have a chance of success but don’t run just because you think you will win. 
  • This will be my only opportunity. I get that there’s a lot of luck in politics and picking the right opportunity is important, but that is different than thinking you will only have one opportunity. Be thoughtful about why you are running and make sure you pick the right opportunity to win, not just the opportunity that is in front of you. 

If your heart is truly not in the race you will know, and so will voters. The bottom line is, don't run if you don't know why you are running.

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