Taking on national issues in a local campaign

I caught a Facebook post for one of our local candidates on his campaign page the other day – a constituent asking him out-of-the-blue if he would denounce recent actions by President Trump. You’ve probably already seen it in your campaigns, no matter what side you’re on, but especially if you’re a Republican this year: questions being thrown at you about national politics.

There’s a standard answer for this that candidates use, something to the effect of how national politics don’t have anything to do with our issues here in Anytown, and shouldn’t you choose your local elected officials based on their positions on local issues, rather than foreign affairs, immigration or the President’s social media account?

The problem with that answer is that in most cases you’re not going to change someone’s mind. Chances are, your opponent will keep feeding that monster, as well – any time your party or its reps at the national level do something that won’t gel with your constituency, your opponent will do a press conference calling on you to denounce what was done.

The good news is that it’s kind of pathetic, and voters know it. They may want to personally hear from you about your position on things, but your opponent calling you out on something you have zero control over doesn’t resonate beyond the “I only vote Republican” or “I only vote Democrat” crowds. Think about your own tendencies: In the end, are you going to not vote against someone locally because someone else in Washington or wherever did something you don’t like? Probably not.

The guy that posted on Facebook? I looked him up. 10 followers and sporadic posts about nothing. Sound like a political operative doing the bidding of the opposing party? It does to me. Get back to knocking on doors and getting your message out.