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Developing Political Strategies.  Strategies and tactics are used in the context of a campaign to influence public decision-making.  A campaign can.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing Political Strategies.  Strategies and tactics are used in the context of a campaign to influence public decision-making.  A campaign can."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing Political Strategies

2  Strategies and tactics are used in the context of a campaign to influence public decision-making.  A campaign can be defined as “a series of action designed to influence the public and bring decision-makers to the bargaining table.  Strategies are a long-term plan of action that involves a series of small steps used to achieve a goal.  Tactics are the small steps that are carried out in the context of a larger strategies. In legislative advocacy, letter writing, use of media, rallies, the formation of coalitions, and developing specific policy proposals are types of tactics.

3  Planning, fact-finding, and problem-solving.  Cooperation and consensus-building in the context of working with individuals and groups.  Contest or confrontation (putting pressure on decision-makers through personal contacts, letter writing, rallies, protests, boycotts, etc.)


5  Legislative advocacy is generally considered to be a type of social action (strategy to affect social change).  Social action is often associated with putting pressure on legislators – but tactics can also be oriented toward developing exchange relationships with decision-makers and other power brokers.

6  In legislative action, collaboration and persuasion are the most often used tactical methods.  Common types of tactical methods can include:  Meetings with legislators  Letter writing  Securing legislative sponsors  Issue reports and data on legislative issues.  Educating and persuading the majority party to support the legislation.  Obtaining the support of the executive branch  Testifying at Hearings  Using amendments to promote favorable outcomes (p. 277)

7  Insider approach: working through the system and approaching decision-makers directly,.  Outsider approach: influence by indirect means including legal action and protest.  Decision is based on how much contact or access that the change group has to decision-makers. Most change agents aspire to becoming “insiders.”


9  Extent of policy change desired.  Whether one is supporting or blocking the change.  The time frame involved.  Current positions of decision-makers on the issue.  The power of the decision-makers and the power held by the group taking action.  Salience or importance of the issue to decision-makers and the public. How important is it to the public?

10  Force field analysis (identifying supporters and opponents)  Background research on decision–makers, previous votes, vested interests, campaign donations, positions on issues, allies and opponents, etc.

11  Who donates money to candidates/organizations.  Friendship or kinship ties.  Business relationships.  Membership in interest groups or associations.  Linkages among interest groups and other organizations.  Interlocking boards or memberships; social and other types of networks.  Overall power resources possessed by individuals and organizations  Political power – who is elected and who actually votes.

12  Problem Identification  Problem (and power) analysis  Informing the public  Development of policy goals  Building public support and legitimacy  Program design  Implementation  Evaluation and assessment

13  Initiate a new policy proposal  Change other’s proposals  Oppose others’ initiatives  Assume no role (bystander)

14 1) Adapt strategy to the setting and the policy actors involved. 2) Constituents (people involved in the change effort or those who will benefit) should also have a role (preferably) a leadership role in developing the strategy. 3) The people who carry out the strategy should be comfortable with the style and intensity of tactics chosen. 4) Framing the issue in a manner that will solicit the most support from decision-makers and the public is the most critical part of the process. 5) The choice of strategies and tactics are often situational and often must be changed as conditions “on the ground” change.

15  Organizing a team or coalition A coalition is a partnership among groups with a common interest on at least one issue. Coalitions are formed because there is strength in numbers.  Establish policy goals  Specify a proposal’s content and find legislative sponsors  Establish a strategic approach or style.  Select power resources and assign tasks  Implement Strategy  Set up a mechanism for evaluating strategy and revising it as needed.

16 Always have a Plan “B” or several options It is especially important to have contingency or back up plans when escalating the intensity of tactical methods.

17  Issue Focus: What is the main issue focus of your campaign? What environmental problem are you seeking to address? How does it relate to the Sierra Club’s local, state, and/or national conservation priorities?  Campaign Goals: What are the long term, intermediate, and short term goals of the campaign. Try to describe specific outcomes that will allow you to measure your success.  Organizational Considerations: What does your group or committee bring to the campaign? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How do you want your group or committee to be strengthened by undertaking the campaign?  Allies and Opponents: Who cares enough to join or help? What specific groups or people will be willing to contribute their resources to help you achieve your goals? Who stands to lose if you win? What specific groups or people are most likely to expend effort to prevent you from achieving your goals?  Targets: A target is always a person. Who has the power to give you what you want? Who are your secondary targets (the people who have influence on the opinions of your primary targets)?  Tactics and Timeline: What actions will you take to put pressure on your targets and convince them to grant your goals/demands? In what sequence or order will you implement those tactics? When exactly will you do each of these activities and who will do them?  Media Strategy: What is your strategy for getting the media to cover your campaign and the tactics in your campaign plan? What are the public audiences you want to reach? What is the message and story that you want to convey as part of your campaign?

18 Direct Lobbying Grass-roots Lobbying Media Campaign Protests MobilizationLegal Face to Face Meetings Urging others to write letters Working with the press on coverage RalliesDeveloping large coalitions Influencing development of regulations Letter writingEmail Campaigns Giving interviewsDemonstrationsUsing media & Internet to recruit Pressuring decision makers to comply with regulations or enforce them. Email Campaigns Designing websites Letters to the editorStreet theaterGenerating excitement Public Records Request Disseminating research & reports Using blogsGuest editorials & op-eds BoycottsGetting large numbers of people to participate. Asking attorneys to press for legal compliance Writing policy briefs Public forumsUsing alternative media sources Other types of protest and direct action Legal challenges to laws or policies Providing testimony Ad campaignsClass action lawsuits Finding Sponsors Coalition- building Working with Legislative Staff

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