When it comes to campaign signs, size matters. When it comes to psychological campaign warfare, real estate matters. Specifically, it’s all about location, location, location. While most campaigns fight over the coveted high traffic, 4′ x 8′ real estate in the commercial districts, it’s the low traffic real estate in the neighborhoods that matters most. The real estate owned by real voters. When waging psychological campaign warfare, not just any neighborhood will do. Psychological campaign warfare, like actual warfare, is best fought on your opponent’s turf, literally in your opponent’s neighborhood. This is the second most valuable real estate in your political world.
Psychological campaign warfare, like the road you live on, is a two-way street. When it comes to political head games, the most valuable real estate in the district (other than in your opponent’s head) is your neighborhood. It doesn’t matter if you live on a cul-de-sac with a low traffic count. It doesn’t matter if you are the only car that drives out in the morning and back in the evening, defend that real estate like a mama grizzly.
The first sign location you secure should be your next-door neighbor’s (the one you regularly drive past). The second is the one on your other side and the third is the one directly across the street. If you can’t get those, maybe you shouldn’t be running in the first place. But assuming their lack of support says more about them than about you, work your way up the street to the main road. Driving to and from home should feel like a hero’s welcome… A victory parade for one.
“I love the smell of coroplast in the morning… Smells like victory!”
Campaign signs are like the 12th man in football and create a home field advantage for either you or your opponent. Imagine heading out on the campaign trail and having to drive thru a gauntlet of your opponent’s campaign signs. Imagine driving back thru it at the end of the day. No matter how well you canvas your district there is only one street you drive on every day, not just once, but at least twice… YOURS.
Signs don’t talk, but they silently speak volumes. Your signs are little cheerleaders chanting, “WE’RE FOR YOU!” To your opponent they mockingly chant, “LOSER, LOSER, LOSER!” And the closer to each candidate’s residence, the more personal they feel and the louder they sound.
With a little effort, these otherwise private head games can become public, and create unwanted media attention for your opponent. This was the case in a local primary where the incumbent’s warring neighbors were more than happy to have his opponent’s signs right up on the property line. The senator lost his cool (in violation of the 1st Rule of politics) and tore the signs out of his neighbor’s lawn (in violation of the 6th Rule of politics) leaving just the wire frame. Actually, the entire neighborhood was full of signless wire frames. The incumbent was quoted in the press admitting to the charge, calling out his challenger for violating the ‘unwritten code’ of, “campaigning in his very neighborhood.” The senator’s actions (along with others) led to losing his own precinct, losing the election and being the inspiration for this post.
On election night, you may win or you may lose, but either way, you’ll feel good about coming home.