5 Lessons from D-Day Candidates Can Use to Win Elections

Election Day wins are earned by hard work and proper preparation far in advance of the election.

I have recently been studying the Allied invasion of Normandy.  It is fascinating how much preparation went into that operation.

On June 6, 1944, the Allies didn’t just show up on the beaches of Normandy ready to go to war.

The Allies used their time wisely and spent two years preparing for the invasion.  They stockpiled resources, trained troops, gathered intelligence, and set goals and objectives.

When the big day came they were ready to win the War and they did.

Like the Allies who were well prepared to take on the Nazi’s, you must be well prepared before you take on a political foe.

Here are five simple lessons the successful Allied campaign that can be applied directly to your political campaign.

Lesson 1: Always Take the Time to Prepare 

The Americans started planning for their invasion almost immediately after Germany declared war on the United States back on December 11, 1941.

The British, the French and the Soviets wanted the Americans to open another front in Western Europe immediately, by 1943 at the latest.

However, the American military leadership knew they would not be ready for this effort until sometime in 1944.

Because they knew they would not be ready, the Americans stood firm and took the time needed to prepare their military.

If you are going to run for office you must be prepared to do so.  

A seat may be open right now but you may not be prepared to make the run.

Often many do-gooders will try to talk you into a race you are not ready for.

No matter what platitudes they tell you, don’t get in the race if you are not ready.

Be realistic about how much money you will need to run a successful campaign.

And be realistic about your fundraising abilities, your skills as a candidate, and the level of competition you face.

You can’t just show up, file your papers, and expect to win.

Putting a political campaign together takes time and effort.

If you plan to run for office at sometime in the future start getting ready ahead of time.

Be certain you are prepared to take advantage of that opportunity when it happens.

You must be in the right position if you are to launch a winning campaign

Lesson 2: Research and Know the Political Landscape

The Allies worked hard to learn the landscape of their operation.

They had gathered an incredible amount of information about the Nazi war machine. German strategies, weapons, numbers, capabilities, strength’s and weaknesses were all studied.

Great effort was made to learn everything possible about the people, the communities, and terrain where they would be fighting .

If you are going to run for office you need to do the same.

You will need to gather and learn a vast amount of information if you decide to run.

A candidate must know their district.

All candidates must know their voters.  Which means they must know who is voting.

It is imperative that you know who your high propensity voters are and what they want.

And you need to be able to speak with authority on relevant issues.

Read all the local news available on your community.

Create a network of people that can keep you on top of local news, events, and even rumors.

This all takes time so you need to start this early.

A candidate that is not well versed on their district its issues is likely not going to win their campaign.

Lesson 3: Properly Train to be a Candidate

The Allies took over two years to train the bulk of their troops that landed in Normandy.

You should take your campaign seriously and make sure you are well trained to be a winning candidate.

Practice public speaking.  Join Toast Masters or get personal training if necessary.

Most of us are not great public speakers.  Even if we took classes in college we probably forgot most of what we learned.

Communicating well is rated as the single most significant factor that ensures success in any occupation. As a candidate, make sure you are good at it.

Learn to speak well, to listen, to network and sell yourself and your ideas.

Do this and you will increase your chances of winning your campaign.

Lesson 4:  Acquire the Necessary Resources

The Allies spent several years manufacturing and producing all that was needed to wage modern warfare.

You need to start long before Election Day obtaining what  you need to run your modern campaign.

I am not talking acquiring copy paper, pens and paper clips, or a new iPad.

The most important resources you will need for a successful Election Day win is money, people, and endorsements.

Without money you can’t communicate with the voters.  Communications cost money.

Brochures, mailers, postage, yard signs, voter data, Facebook advertising, phone calls and staff all cost money.

It will take time to raise money and a lot of hard work to convince people they should support your campaign.

Figuring out who will give your campaign money is key.

Determine who your early contributors are first thing and you will be on your way to an Election Day win.

Without money, people will probably not support or endorse your campaign.

People — volunteers and endorsements — are essential to winning your campaign.

You need endorsements and message carriers to communicate your message to the voters.

Endorsements and good message carriers prove your credibility to the voters.

If you are not raising money people will probably not endorse your campaign.

And if you do not have any people to help with your campaign, it will be very difficult to get things done.

It will be difficult to be fully informed on issues without people from the community talking with you.

Much of what happens in a community is not printed in the newspaper or written about on blog sites.

Having a network of people you can touch base with on a regular basis will help you keep abreast of important matters.

To get folks on board — either endorsers or  volunteers — you must learn to network effectively.

You need to build relationships and coalitions.  This definitely needs to start early.

Most people will not help or support you if they do not know who you are or what you are about.

Start early acquiring the money, endorsements and volunteer that can help your campaign win.

Lesson 5: Determine and Accomplish Your Goals

Military campaigns, like the D-Day Invasion, always talks about “objectives” and “mission”.

They are very clear about their goals.

The Allies had a goal for every day of the Normandy campaign and every day until Germany surrendered.

You need to have daily goals and objectives for your campaign.

First you need fundraising and endorsement goals.  Determine how much money you will need to run a successful campaign.

Know what mail costs in your district to reach likely voters.  Learn what other candidates in similar races have spent.

Create a fundraising goal and then determine who will give you money and how much.

Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for raising money. Know the amount of time, calls and meetings you will need to make to reach your goal.

After you determine all this, work consistently and vigorously to reach these goals.

The same must be done with contacting voters.

You must know exactly how many votes you will need to win your election.

It is imperative that you develop a plan for reaching these voters and start on it early.

Whether it is through phoning, walking or mail – and hopefully you are doing all these – your voter contact plan must be consistent and followed religiously.

Walking and phoning voters is something you should be able to do every day.

If you know how many voters you will need to talk to by Election Day,  you can determine how many you should be contacting on a daily basis.

Everything you must do to achieve an Election Day victory should be listed as a goal.

Every goal must be broken down into manageable parts or tasks with a known timeline and process for accomplishment.

America and her allies knew that if they strayed from their goals they would not win the War.

Don’t get sidetracked. Stick to your campaign goals and earn an Election Day win.

Apply these Five Lessons to Your Campaign

These five lessons from the Allied preparation for the D-Day Invasion may seem simple and obvious.

They are, but it is still surprising to me how many candidates do none of them.

Serious candidates follow these lessons in one form or another.

And when they do they generally earn an Election Day win.

You can too.