Candidate Recruitment ManualEdit
Section One: Recruiting & Developing Libertarian Candidates
Section Two: Finding Mr. & Ms. Right
Section Three: How to Recruit Libertarian Candidates
Section Four: The Art of Persuasion
Section Four: The Art of PersuasionEdit
You've got the plan, now it's time to make the call. There is an art to persuading potential candidates to be committed candidates. When recruiting, keep in mind that most people will not respond to generic appeals to "run for office". The most productive appeal is directed to a specific person asking them to file for a specific office. This lets the potential candidate know that there is some strategy behind the request. It clearly defines the parameters of the request.
- Remember, most people are flattered when asked to run for office. The worst they will say is no.
Here are some of the arguments you'll hear, and suggested ways of turning a no into a yes.Edit
1. I just don't have time or money to run for office.Edit
John, no one ever has enough time or money for running. But we aren't asking you to spend a lot of time or money -- the filing fee is only $50.00, and we'll guide you through everything else!
We'll prepare a guide to filling out the questionnaires you'll get, as well as for the financial reporting requirements. It will probably take you an hour to go downtown to the County Clerk's office and file the papers. Painless and easy, John, there is nothing that you could do that would take so little time and as little money that would help us more than you filing for that office, and that's the truth."
2. I wouldn't feel right just filing for the office and then not running a real campaign.Edit
Jane, I'm telling you right now that since we don't have an active candidate for your race, you can really help us out by putting your name on the ballot. Our top of the ticket candidates are running really active campaigns -- but if we only have two or three other candidates on the ballot, we're going to hand the media an issue to attack us on. No one is going to notice that you aren't running an active campaign. They will notice that we have packed the ballot with libertarian choices -- making our top of ticket campaigns that much more effective. Besides, if you file and then want to do something, but not everything -- we'll help you. You don't have to do anything, remember, but if you want to make yours a semi-active campaign, maybe go to a couple of candidate's nights or fill out your own questionnaires, that's fine. We're easy, we can work with you.
What if I get elected? I don't have time to go to the legislature.Edit
(This objection is heard more often than you may think.)
John, I promise you: You won't get elected unless you decide to run a very active campaign.
Besides, I think you'd make a great legislator. If that miracle happens and you do get elected, it will probably be part of a Libertarian landslide! Then you'll get to be part of the new Libertarian majority in the state senate. Give us two weeks, and being a legislator will be something you do part time maybe one weekend a month -- sort of like being in the National Guard. But really, you won't get elected without a heavy duty campaign and spending lots of money. I promise you. I'm the state chairman, I know these things."
I don't think it does us any good to run candidates who don't do any campaigning.Edit
Jane, I agree, it would be better for us to have active or at least semi-active candidates in every race. But look, we're just getting this started, we're just learning -- we're still looking for people. We just don't have the people to run for every race in the way that we should. Since we can't do everything, we have to do something.
No one will notice if most of our candidates aren't active. They will notice that their election ballot is full of Libertarians. Politics can be funny sometimes -- things can add up in unexpected ways. No one takes a party seriously that runs only a few candidates -- even if those candidates are tremendous people spending a lot of money. People will take us seriously when they see us becoming a serious threat -- and a ballot packed with libertarian choices is a serious threat.
Besides, we can't leave our other candidates sitting out there on a limb by themselves, can we?
If we can't pack the ballot behind them, we are letting them down. The media will pay more attention to our candidates when they can stand up and say they have 5,000 Libertarian candidates behind them. I'm running, everyone on the State Central Committee is running -- and we need you too. Political power isn't what you have, it's what our enemies think we have. And if we can field a full slate of candidates in 1996, we will have power with a capital P.
And besides, do you think that every Republican or Democratic candidate on the ballot is an active candidate? They know the importance of running a full ballot and they recruit a lot of people who don't do much more than we're asking of you."
(Point out that even if the candidate starts as a paper candidate, there is always the option of getting more involved later, should they decide to do so.)
I'm afraid my career might suffer.Edit
Actually, your career may be enhanced. Most people admire those who dare to make a difference. And you'll likely meet plenty of people who turn out to be excellent business contacts. You'll certainly enhance your community visibility."
Do you really think that I'll do any good?Edit
Absolutely. Without a doubt. Our top of ticket candidates will get more votes because we have a full ballot than they would if they are the only people on our ballot. We will get more, and better, media attention. This is part of our long-range strategy to bring about freedom in our time. It's not much that we're asking, John. And I know you're a Libertarian -- you've been supporting us faithfully for ten years. I think you're under-rating yourself here, telling yourself that you really can't do any good. You can -- and you are our choice. I'm the state chairman -- I know these things. That's why I got elected, so I could make crazy phone calls like this and harass you about running for office (humorously). In 1776, they weren't sure of success, either, but look what they started!
Humor is an excellent method for breaking through barriers. When people are laughing with your, it is harder for them to say "no" and keep their defenses up. As important as humor is the image: Projected confidence, positive expectation. You are, after all, the state chair. Presumably, you know something about politics, otherwise how did you get to be the "chief agitator" for your state? Thus, when you, as the state chair, tell the potential candidates that what they are doing is important, it means something.
If you don't know what you are doing, at least sound like you do -- which means doing your homework. Make sure they know that their race is part of a coherent national strategy for victory for the Libertarian Party. Their choice has not only local consequences, it has national consequences.
Don't be afraid to wrap yourself in the flag and stand on the platform of the American Revolution ("We need to recruit Minutemen for the 90s"). It may sound hokey, but people expect politics to be hokey. Most do not do things for rational reasons -- they do them for emotional reasons. If they have children, appeal to their sense of duty as parents.
Consider using any argument or tactic, so long as it is not unlibertarian. Appeal to emotion, reason, religious values, business hopes. Point out that there are advantages to being a candidate, such as name recognition, respect, media attention, and advancement within the Libertarian movement. Study your people, figure out where the buttons are, and push them. If they have a favorite issue -- persuade them with the fact that they will be able to promote that issue in the press.
Persistence is a virtue. "Hi, it's me again, your friendly neighborhood libertarian chairman, calling to pester you about running for the state legislature."
Look for objections within objections -- and beware of someone who tells you "Yes" to get you off his or her back with no intentions of following through. When it's time to get to the filing office, you can't afford no-shows.
I will also admit to appealing to the vanity of the person recruited. "Jane, we simply don't have anyone else. You are our last and best hope. The ball is in your court and you have all the cards. You can really make a difference this year." Maybe you don't have anyone else because no one else was crazy enough to want the job, but don't tell them that.
Finally, don't hesitate to use bribes. If you must, offer to help the candidate move, clean out his garage, put up storm windows, or whatever it takes. If it will put another Libertarian on the ballot and move us one step closer to a Libertarian society, it's worth it!