Every candidate faces moments of truth in their run for office- situations that will test your moral code, and fundamental notions of right and wrong. A story-The line in the sand a one-time Presidential candidate refused to cross.
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Many years ago, I was sitting in a room with a presidential candidate facing a moment of truth. He was being hopelessly outspent. Running out of money. Facing a must win primary contest in a must win state. We all knew it was the end of his run for office if he didn’t.
During the meeting he was handed a mail piece designed by one of his consultants. A hit piece on his opponent. About some things his opponent had done in his personal life. Every word true. Every fact documented.
The candidate sat there and read every word, looked at every picture, then quietly dropped it in the trash can.
‘That will kill my opponent,’ he said. ‘It will wreck his reputation and destroy his campaign.’
‘But I did not run for President to win this way. I got in it to fight for causes I hold dear. If we’re going to go down, we’ll go down fighting for that.’
He then stood to leave the room, got halfway to the door, turned around and said something none of us ever forgot, ‘I have to look at my face when I shave. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life being ashamed of what I see.’
Every candidate faces moments of truth in a political campaign. Politics will test your notions of right and wrong, good and evil, the very foundations of your moral code. You’ll be asked or tempted to compromise it, stretch it, bend it, perhaps even break it.
There are plenty of candidates who do that every day. They are those who lie knowing the truth, repeat falsehoods they know to be a hoax, content to poison our discourse and feast off the carcass.
Those who sell their soul to win an office will lose their soul to keep it.
Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.
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