Party Building: You Can’t Hire Somebody to Do the Push Ups

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

As public opinion is getting increasingly volatile, new parties appear out of nowhere and sometimes have considerable success. The flipside of a volatile environment however is that those parties can also disappear again fast, or get stuck at sort of a niche position in the political market. Once the first wave of enthusiasm has flattened out, it takes some organization to build up a party. For that, I usually tell clients to make an inventory of the following:

  • Number of party members
  • Number of activists
  • Number of email addresses in your data bank (remember: the money, respectively the votes, are in the list!)
  • Number of followers on social media
  • Number of local sections

Then make a plan on how to double everything within a year. Make it a regular topic and assess progress at every leadership meeting. I’m always flabbergasted that quite a number of clients actually don’t know these numbers. If you don’t know where you’re starting, how do you know you’re making progress?

In particular for new parties, there is a big temptation to chase every moving object. Yet discipline wins elections. And despite all the hype around social media and technology, the one thing that hasn’t changed is, well, discipline. Or as best-selling author Jack Canfield used to say: You can’t hire somebody to do the push ups for you.

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