Anthony Noel of the New Progressive Alliance wrote,
“For years which have become decades, Democratic candidates have run on improving working conditions for all Americans, starting with better pay. All we have to do, they’ve told us, is elect them. But when we have, one of two things always happens:
- Nothing, or
- Far too little, much too late.“
So what to do? Feel like you could probably do a better job or at least make your point better? You can! Whether you are running to win or just make a point, running outside the two main parties is one of the more hopeful things a citizen can do. Based upon my experience here is a list of the minimum you should commit to. It does not take a lot of money, but it does take a willingness to communicate.
We need to get people to run for office at many levels in a serious manner. As Chris Hedges pointed out, the time for discussion (and petition signing) is long gone.
What does this take? You do not need a lot of money or consultants. Those that say you do also usually say you should pay them. Even if you are just running to make a point and get an alternate point of view out, I believe the below items are the minimum candidates should have. I speak from the experience of trying to contact candidates to give them NPA support. Third party candidates following all the items on this short list are rare.
-Have a platform of items you passionately believe in. The National Green Party has a “shadow cabinet” to always put fourth ideas in opposition to the status quo. It is certainly possible to do that activity on a local level.
-Have contact information. I would consider having email, mailing, and a phone number. At the very least have email and a mailing address. Have a real email address, don’t limit communication to a website portal.
-Beware of having your campaign manager or other critical person be a relative (“Uncle Joe”) or a close friend who is not dedicated to what you are trying to do. The question is not loyalty to you. The question is loyalty to your cause.
-Have a one page handout that can be easily copied and widely distributed.
-Having cards with contact information can be very handy.
-Answer anybody with questions or offering to help. If you fail to do that, then you are not even serious about running to make a point.
-If you are running under a party make sure the county, state, and National Party knows about you so people can find you. You may have to remind them several times to get on their internet site.
-Go to as many candidate or church events as you can. They are free or should be.
-Any office above that of a small town should have a website with contact info, your platform, a way to give you money, a calender of events, and a way to change the website as events come up.
-Beware of “friends” that will set a website up for you but don’t have time to run it. They will leave you high and dry and unable to communicate critical information. I have seen more than once candidates desperately checking their staff to see if anybody knew how to operate a website with an obscure operating system.
-Many talk about a “professional” website. Know the difference between professional and fancy. You do need to communicate to the public and your campaign and be able to change as circumstances demand it. You do not need people to say, “Oh gee, what a pretty website!”
-Websites are inexpensive or free to get, ask me for details or google it yourself. For a free Green Party website see http://www.newmenu.org/. (Even if you are not a member of the Green Party, if there are no Greens running against you and you support the 10 Green Party values, they will consider giving you a free website. Be prepared with campaign details as described above.) My personal opinion is that if you do not have a website with at least these items, then you are not a serious candidate.
-Don’t try to reinvent the wheel on positions. There are probably many papers out there who have already said with references what you are trying to say. See other organizations. See also Make Your Case
-A good checklist is at So you’re running for office. How do you launch a political campaign online?
Running for office should not be just an exercise to pad a resume. It can be a way to make a better future. Good luck and let the New Progressive Alliance know what you are doing. We support candidates and organizations based upon their support of the Unified Platform.