If metamars were God – he most certainly is not, but IF he was – metamars would decree a new rule of the Universe, which says that if you want to run for office as a 3rd Party candidate, you must commit to party building past election Day. If you run for a 4 year Presidency, you must commit to +3 years of party building, so that the next candidate for President from your party has a higher level from which to spring. For a 2 year HR run, +1 years of party building. For a 6 year Senator run, +4 years. (+5 seems too much).
As God, I would apply this rule everywhere, but actually being an earthling, I’m more concerned about My Rule getting adopted here on earth. Especially in the United States.
My decree would specify an average of 7 hours per week, and you would be obigated to blog about your efforts, at least once per month, so that your adoring fans and ever-growing party compatriots would draw inspiration from your efforts. (Campaigning is a full time job, but nobody expects former candidates to live off their savings while they continue party building, full time.) You would be expected to honestly assess the results of your party building efforts, including failures. Nobody is looking to hold failure against you, but will only hold against you a) not trying and b) being inflexible, such that you don’t often involve yourself with democratic experiments, to try and “successively approximate” optimal recruiting activities.*
Party building means primarily recruitment; or creating conditions favorable for recruitment. It does not mean being involved with necessary, if unglamorous, “keep the lights on” type of management.
Also, there’s a sub-Rule to this New Rule. And that is that each 3rd Party Candidate must spell out details of what strategies they expect to pursue both during and after their runs for office. Just saying “I will help build the party!” will not do it. Candidates need to articulate specific ideas, and put them down in writing. Of course, they can update this document as they have new insights and learning experiences. Updates need to have explanations as to why their Party Growing Strategy document was updated in the way that it was.
N.B. One of my gripes about “progressive Democrats in Congress” is that they don’t unite forces to grow a progressive movement – which would necessarily challenge the status quo in the Democratic Party. (Which is why, I believe, they don’t do so. They’re primarily careerists, not principled activists who managed to attain office. Thus, they have no appetite for strongly challenging the DP status quo.) So, please note that this rule applies to candidates who win, also. Yes, even the Presidency. 7 hours per weeks is a light enough commitment that this is possible.
* There’s an analog to the sort of flexibility that I’m calling for, in the start-up business world. Read up on “pivoting” in The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.