Were you one of the popular kids at school, cool and funny and everyone knew your name? Not so much? What if it was your mission to become popular and cool and funny, how would you go about it? This is pretty much what a campaign manager’s job is. They take a lame duck (think: old male, dad joker, political nerd) and turn them into a cool kid (think: debate winner, social media wiz, story spinner) in order to win the greatest popularity contest in America. Not as easy as it looks right? So in case you’re wondering who’s to blame for Donald Trump winning the contest and stealing the spotlight (although tbh there’s plenty of blame to go around), look no further than the decision-makers of his rivals.
To look at one example, Ted Cruz’s campaign manager ran the most organized, strategic and skillful campaign of all of the Republican candidates, which outlasted, outsmarted and outshone more than a dozen other contenders. However a series of poor decisions (think: spreading misinformation about Ben Carson, the Cruz-Kasich alliance, not attacking Trump…until it was too late), backed up by a candidate battling huge trust and likeability issues, caused more damage to the campaign than fashion did to the 80’s. Even good decisions, like winning the “shadow” or convention delegate game, only made Cruz seem more underhanded, as if he were stealing the votes from Trump through shady, back room deals. Ultimately all of this led to the most baffling decision of all: to hand Trump the nomination rather than stick it out and try to cross the finish line. In any other year it would seem that this campaign had a watertight strategy to get the nomination – welcome to 2016.
So what’s a poor campaign manager to do when their candidate’s been kicked out of the Breakfast Club? Well, you could blame media bias, inaccurate polls, angry voters, social media wars or Kasich’s refusal to quit which split the vote, as some people choose to do. Or you could focus inward, and admit that you just didn’t understand, and then refused to believe, that you went up against the Regina George of candidates and you didn’t bring your A-game. But don’t worry about never being able to find work because in four years no one will even remember the mistakes that were made and the cycle can begin all over again. That’s the power of politics.
You say you were popular once and now you’re looking to make a grand comeback? Movie for your mood: Burnt