During my 25 years in Bozeman I’ve had the privilege of working on a few local elections. Some as a marketing advisor and others as a graphic designer for campaign literature.

While I haven’t worked on a lot of campaigns the few I did work on were all winners.

How To View A Political Campaign

Once the candidate is chosen it’s time to go to work. What does this candidate stand for is the wrong question to be asking? And the wrong campaign approach.

The most important question to ask is what does the voter stand for? What’s important to them?

Value is subjective and sometimes hard to match up with voters. But emotion is the principle reason that makes voters step into the ballot box.

They don’t vote on issues they vote on their own self interests. In no election in my lifetime has this rule been clearer than the 2016 National Election.

Trump Was More Valuable To Voters

Why did Trump win? The odds of him winning at the beginning of election night were 95-5 percent against him. What happened, — as Hillary’s book title laments.

What Trump did that everyone else is missing is that his opponent tried to tout issues they thought were valuable to the voter. They weren’t

The Trump campaign showed the voter that the values they thought were important were not important at all. What was that value? — Change from their pain.

People did want a wall, people did want a tax cut, people were sick of every part of their lives being regulated.

Trump simply made his candidacy more valuable to voters than Hillary’s more of the same old thing campaign.

After all Obama’s policies made him a two-term president — what’s not to like — right?

Let’s keep that going right? As Hillary discovered too late — wrong.

Some Final Thoughts

What makes something valuable? If you live in a high crime area, then crime is your issue. If you lost your job to an immigrant, then immigration is your issue.

Until, you hear another message that defines a new more important issue that rises to the top. A message that transcends race, religion, color, economic status, that makes voters feel uncomfortable unless they vote to alleviate it.

Finding and promoting that value is not always easy to do. It can be elusive.

In almost all cases it’s some form of dramatic change in the perception of the voter’s comfort zone. That’s what wins elections.