The Art of War: The process of a political campaign

Napoleon Bonaparte said that “anyone can plan a campaign, but few are capable of waging and sustaining the war necessary for victory, because only a true [experienced] military genius can handle the developments and ever-changing circumstances.”

However in today’s enviroment of political apathy and outrage, more and more citizens are rising up to challenge the status quo. Their only problem; they have no clue as to what it takes to run a strategically effective campaign for victory. Therefore one must begin to question as to why today’s candidates continue to make the golden mistake of past, jumping head first into a process without first learning the rules of engagement?

Many take on the role of candidate and campaign adviser seeing their effort in victory as simplistic as the one before them. They concentrate on a successful candidate or campaign and fixate their attention at duplicating their efforts. However that is their greatest mistake! One must realize, as Sun-Tzu once said, “that one’s victories in battle cannot be repeated for they take their own form in response to inexhaustibly changing circumstances.” Bottom line; no one campaign can be duplicated with the same amount of success.

Other candidates understand the importance of the circumstances yet never realize which direction they should pursue. They listen to advisers who may or may not have a clue as to campaign strategy and do’s and dont’s. They surround themselves with those closest to them who may not have an inkling of knowledge as to what a campaign of that magnitude would look like, let alone how much it would cost. Though their desire to see you succeed may be genuine, their lack of understanding will cause you to flounder.

In preparing yourself for such a monumental task, as I describe as War, you must first rid yourself of political myths and misconceptions. A successful campaign strategy is not a process of learning a series of calculated moves, concepts or ideas and following them as a recipe. For a political campaign in victory has no real magic formula! Realize that however expansive your political knowledge may be, or is assumed to be, the greatest campaign generals are those who are able to anticipate the problems of the future, dropping all preconceived notions of success or victory and focusing attentively on the ever changing moment.

In campaigns [war], strategy is the Art of commanding the entire operation, elevating yourself above the battlefield, in order to focus on the long-term objectives of the operation. The psychological warfare one incurs throughout a campaign can only be defined as numbing and unteachable. However this should not be separated from the reality of everyday society, for many of the best and worst of past leaders have mastered this process. From the 19th century rule of Napoleon over France to the 20th century polarizing leadership of Britain’s Margaret Thatcher. These individuals incorporated the Art of War and its strategies in their rise to victory without ever doubting the end goal of their quest.

Advice: Be adequately prepared for the challenges of such a task. Investigate, study and absorb as much as possible as to what it shall take to do battle for such a position. Hire or obtain pro-bono if possible the expertise of those who have done this successfully in the past as they can offer greater insight into what is needed for victory. Understand that half-measures avail you nothing, for it is better to go all-in preparing for your future rather than hesitantly pursuing your goal.

“It [strategy] is more than a science but rather the application of knowledge to practical life through the development of thought capable of modifying the original idea in the light of ever-changing circumstances.”Von Moltke (1800-91)


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