The legend of the unruly candidate and the scourge of his or her spouse is widely discussed among consultants and managers. We’ve all seen our shares of backstage tantrums; I’ve chronicled my share. But practitioners have their own failings when fostering client relationships.
In the heat of the campaign things can be said with the best of intentions but still have a negative effect. With that in mind, here are five things consultants and campaign managers should never say to a candidate.
1. You can’t take that position.
While it might be tempting to pressure a candidate to take a policy position that is more in line with the district or will garner him certain endorsements, ultimately it’s the candidate’s name on the ballot, not ours.
As managers and consultants, it’s our job to alert a candidate to the possible ramifications of taking a risky policy position and help him figure out the best way to communicate about it.
At times those conversations might lead to a candidate changing their mind and at times they might not. But voters elect people for their judgment and it’s not the place of the consulting team to forbid the candidate from taking a stance or to tell the candidate what to believe.