How to Run for Office, pt II

If you liked the little idea orphan for political campaigns, maybe you’d like to take some of its idea siblings?

As I was committing the idea to pixels, a few more related ideas occurred to me, and so, if you like the last idea, here are its accessories.

I was thinking of the problem of how to make sure that your story gets attached to your name. While they will remember your story, it’s hard for them to remember to vote for you if your name is spelt with three Zs, a silent Q and the number nine.

What if your domain name was something that went with your story?

Something easy like “” or “” easy to remember, and you can spell your name correctly to be seen many, many times as they read about the good things you’ve done with the money people have entrusted to you.

Use your site to figure out where to spend your money next. Why not let your “constituents” vote on which is more needed, an after school program, supplies for the food bank, or a day of free medical care to the working poor?

Learn to write press releases and spread the word about the impact your campaign dollars are having in your community.

Keep a blog which tracks not only your day to day public appearances, the people you’ve met, and the discussions you’ve had with community leaders, but, also the impact your campaign dollars are having in the community.

If you absolutely must leave houses with something, make it useful and to the point. Try a bookmark with your web address. A business card-sized refrigerator magnet. Things that are useful even if no one reads the message. Something that is useful is much harder to throw away than a flyer.

Be frugal in your campaign. This means that it’s not okay to buy the most expensive pens if a pencil will do. Publish your expenses online to show that you are spending their money wisely, and managing to control costs. Be prepared to justify every expense that is taking away from your charity works, and have a good reason for spending every penny.

That’s where the idea flood stopped. I really, really, really, really am tempted to run for office because I want to use these ideas, and show everyone how clever I am. Except for the fact that I don’t want to be in public office. I don’t really have the hair for it. And, I’m not as clever as I think I am, so, I might as well keep the world from knowing that.

Like the other idea orphans, this one is free to anyone who’d like to take care of it and raise it up to be a productive member of society.

Free to Good Home

I am overwhelmed with ideas.

They invade my brain, I dutifully scribble notes, and keep them on scraps of paper shoved together with dozens of other scraps of paper. Every few weeks, I will shuffle through the stack, and remind myself how great each notion is. I’ll get distracted by these charismatic scraps, and then I will close my eyes, see that my work day has again vanished unproductively, and I’ll put it all aside again.

And then? When I put it aside?

My ideas have ideas. I don’t know how they do it. They get together and plant brain babies so that the next time I shuffle through the papers, I’m sitting in a torrential downpour of beautiful thoughts and brilliant plans. All just sitting there.

While I’m drowning in the tide of liquid brain babies, they somehow manage to have their own offspring, and I can’t remember what it was I sat down to do.

I feel like I’m running some sort of idea orphanage, where the children are always hungry and in rags. I spend a few seconds looking at them as I walk through the over-crowded lobby. They are the most adorable waifs anyone has ever seen. I might even pat them on the head, in a poor substitute for actual attention. The magnitude of the task of caring for them sends me, zombie-like, up the stairs to spend more time drowning in the sea of ideas.

I’ve decided that I need to ask your help. I need to put my ideas out there, and ask you to adopt them. If you see an idea that you’d like to care for, just take it away with you. It’s better in your care, and maybe I will be able to start making some progress toward sanity.

I’m going to start by sharing with you this great idea for political candidates.

Of course it is great. All mothers think all their kids are great, and as a single woman with no actual children, brain babies are all I have to dote over, so, it’s great, dang it, here, look, I have pictures.

If I were running for office, I would take all the funds I raised and I would not spend a penny on leaflets, mailers, television ads, or any advertising except a website. Instead, I would actually spend the money where it could do some good.

If my platform was improving schools? I’d donate my campaign dollars to schools. If I was passionate about creating jobs? I’d give it to small business development agencies.

The point of this?

Real leaders lead. They put their money where their mouth is, instead of wasting it on an attack ad.

I remember reading a statistic about a candidate in California spending more than a quarter of a million dollars on advertising to get elected. What a waste. Millions of flyers no one will read and will sit in a landfill. Thousands of yard signs with the same destiny.

You are calling me naive. I can hear you, you know, through the magic of the internet. You say no one can get elected without TV ads.

I say: why not try?

How about being on TV, not with an ad, but as a news story for creating a homeless shelter with your campaign funds? Doesn’t that speak louder than a bunch of half truths to make your opponent look like a scoundrel?

Buying school supplies or building something the community needs will make an impact on things you actually care about, even if you don’t get elected. What use is a left over campaign poster?

Think of the story you can tell people when you knock on their door to ask for their vote. You tell them that instead of buying some full color handout with your name on it that they will toss in the trash, you bought lunch for 500 needy school kids.

Instead of telling them the same old campaign clichés about creating jobs, protecting our children and stopping wasteful spending, you can tell them that your campaign funds paid for teacher’s aids, funded a police division dedicated to stopping internet predators and provided loans to small businesses. You can tell them you didn’t spend a dime on wasteful TV ads.

Those stories would have a powerful impact on me as a voter. I would tell my friends about the chat I had with a candidate who didn’t have a flyer. I might even be excited about a political candidate. I could get behind someone who demonstrates their qualifications by doing something instead of saying he or she is going to so something.

How about you? Who would you tell about this candidate?

I love this particular idea orphan. I kept telling myself that I would keep this idea to myself and use it when I ran for office.

I don’t really want to run for office. I never have.

Please take this idea. It’s free to a good home. It’s too good of an idea to starve to death sitting in my head. I’m setting it out there so that it can be given the best chance possible to change the world. If you decide to adopt this one? Just make sure you give it lots of love, feed it regularly, and keep it safe.

This idea spawned an idea sibling. Continued in part II.