with Ron Nehring
by Ron Nehring
Internal elections offer the members and leaders of political parties to refresh and refine their leadership at the onset of a new election cycle. There is a reason many state parties choose their leadership soon after the general election – leaders are put in place to move the party forward in a new cycle.
As the performance of party leadership is reviewed, some commentators and self-styled analysts get it wrong — mixing up what party leaders can control and influence with what they can’t. The result can be incorrect analysis and bad recommendations.
Having served as a party chairman for more than a decade – six years as leader of the Republican Party in San Diego and four as Chairman of the state GOP – I’m acutely aware of what a chairman controls, versus the external factors beyond his control. Measuring a chairman’s success requires a careful examination of the areas a chairman controls, and comparing the party’s performance in those areas against the limits of what was otherwise possible.
First let’s review what a chairman doesn’t control. He (or she) does not pick the nominees – those are chosen by voters in primaries.
America’s political system is candidate-centric, not party centric. Commentators and journalists consistently gloss over the reality that the real decision-making power in any campaign lies with the candidates, who choose their own messages, staff, strategy, tactics and approaches to fundraising. If a candidate alienates key constituencies, fails to raise money effectively, chooses the wrong messages, or their mail lands after the polls close are all decisions made by candidates and campaigns, and it is they who need to be accountable.
And they are – when they lose, they’re out.
by Ron Nehring
Communism may have been relegated to that “ash heap of history” Ronald Reagan described in his 1982 address to the British Parliament, but a new strain of “21st century socialism” as envisioned by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is on the march in Central and South America.
Fortunately, that march came to a halt ten days ago with the election of a new conservative President of Honduras.
For years, socialists south of our border have led a drive to move Central and South America to the radical left. In 2004, Venezuela under Hugo Chavez and Cuba under Fidel Castro founded the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) as a new socialist club to serve as a counterweight to the United States in the region and strengthen socialist regimes in the member states. In the 9 years since its founding, it has grown to 9 members, all with socialist governments: Antigua/Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela. In addition, the group has three “observer” countries: Haiti, and the virulent anti-US regimes of Iran and Syria.
by Rick Montaine
Congratulations! You’re a Candidate. You’ve got a great platform, a speech, a suit, and now I’d like to help you get some great action photos, too.
Before You’re Introduced
In “campaign school”, you were taught many strategies to support your run for office including how to dress for success and that you need at least two introductory speakers before you are called upon to give your excellent well-prepared, prepped, and practiced –probably without a political photographer present-speech. The first speaker is often a local supporter, with whom hopefully everyone in the room is familiar. This speaker will give a passionate speech on why he or she thinks you are the best candidate for the position including a supportive history of your involvement in the community, and why everyone needs to remember to cast a vote for you on Election Day. The second speaker is the “attacker” of your opponent. This “attacker” educates the crowd on all the negatives about your opponent. Finally, it is your chance to step up to the front of the room as the third speaker. As the candidate, you are the sales guy or gal. The goal is to win over the hearts of those in attendance on your top three issues. Obviously, your speech is enthusiastic, positive, and uplifting, but probably left out some choreography which could potentially get you and the political photographer present a few great photos.
by Ron Nehring
We’ve all been forced to sit through them, like high school detention with a speaker: a poorly run panel discussion at a meeting, training or conference. Like everything else in life, there are many wrong ways, and a few right ways, to build a successful panel discussion that holds audience attention and actually contributes to accomplishing the event’s goals.
A panel discussion is an opportunity to bring together several different speakers on a common topic and provide the audience with the benefit of the interaction between the speakers. When Walt Mossberg brought together Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for a two-person “panel” at a 2007 conference, audience attention was driven by the interaction between the two technology leaders. Six years later, more the video of the event has been viewed more than 6 million times.
There are at least four keys to a successful panel discussion.