Presidents as Candidates: Inside the White House for the Presidential Campaign

By Kathryn Dunn Tenpas | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

Memorandum to the Next President Elected in the Year of the Millennium

What Works and What Doesn't in a Reelection Campaign

The 1996 election is over and pundits have offered their postmortems. Beyond the boredom and predictability of the'96 presidential campaign most everyone has their spin. There's no use crying over spilt milk or retelling the story of how your candidate could have won. Instead, let's look forward to the next president seeking reelection in the year 2004. By the time the president and his staff set their sights on reelection, they possess at least a twenty-four month record of achievements and mishaps. Nothing can change that, but presidents can improve their prospects of reelection through careful campaign planning and basic strategy.

These tips cannot revive a failed presidency, but can obviate criticism of a poorly run reelection campaign and the subsequent inference of a poorly managed White House. Campaign politics, of course, is far from predictable: a candidate can look untouchable one day and a month later be lambasted for possessing an inept campaign destined for failure. Candidates' stocks arbitrarily rise and fall. Given the volatility, control what you can-the composition of the reelection team, campaign strategy and organizational structure-and don't worry about the rest.

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