Off to the races by Mike Young, The field is set, only two remain and the prize is only three months away. Will the old hand who knows all the tricks and has all the old trainers and handlers’ win or the newcomer who just got started a little more than a year ago and who finally got an experienced trainer for the home stretch? The newcomer is still a little wild and the old-timers are afraid because if he wins many of them will be out of a job and certainly out of power.
At first, all bets were on the old-timer who had run many of the tracks before and knew all the tricks like carefully hiding all correspondence by running the mail system in her house so it couldn’t be accessed by the “Freedom of Information Act” and when needed, could be cleaned out by her people. As a senator she didn’t do anything to get herself in trouble but she could add “Senator” to her resume. Same with Secretary of State do nothing, but unfortunately events demanded some action. The actions she took went downhill quickly so they needed to be covered up. Unfortunately people could see what happened so it needed some extra special lies to conceal what happen but to her trainers and a handler that was easy, done many time before very old hat.
The challenger came from a different reality, one where people made things happen to make money. If your deal worked, you made money, if it didn’t; you went broke, simple rules and simple results. But the challenger was not satisfied with what he saw in the government field; a place where advertising made the person not accomplishments. Smart ads and flexibility like in dodge ball made you famous and rich. Just don’t get hit by the ball, duck and weave and you can keep moving. So what could this newcomer do in this field of experienced players? Many things have to be learned by trial and error and he made his share mistakes but he learned fast.
Start by being different, challenge the old thinking and meet and listen to the people. He was not given a chance at the beginning, but he slowly refined his message, as he was not surrounded by handlers, he made some rookie mistakes as he learned the tricks of the trade. Some of those tricks he didn’t like and by not using them he got in some trouble. His message had some very rough edges but continued to be smoothed and refined. Some of the messages were off target and needed lots of work or dropped entirely. That soon began to make a difference, people begin to listen and think about what he said. Those who had been getting a free ride yelled against him the loudest but others did too as he broached currently correct political ideas and challenged them as incorrect. Whenever you make changes some people come out as winners and some people lose, it’s a painful process but if you want real change, some people will lose something whether it be farm subsidies or cheap labor.
On the other side of the universe the old hand was surprised by a challenger of her own kind, an unlikely old hand who had socialist ideas and would promise to give away more free stuff. Now lots of people love free stuff, especially stuff they don’t have to earn. Free stuff became his rallying cry and lots of people liked that idea, so he had to go. The old insider had her friends’ handle that so she wouldn’t have to get her hands dirty. They first cut the number of debates so people couldn’t hear his promises. Then they appointed “Super Delegates” who were also her old friends and those beholden to her or her husband so no matter how many delegates he got, she still had more.
In the real world the challenger was slowly moving up and began winning races and the competition faded, some were insiders, some outsiders but in the end only he was left. Now the real race can begin; old ideas vs. new, insider vs. outsider, lies vs. the truth. Which will win?
Mike Young is a retired water and power executive who resides in Mesquite. Graduated from the University of La Verne he has taught communications skills and technical subjects throughout the Western Hemisphere. In addition to writing and editing technical manuals, he has a book titled “Speaking for Effect”. He has received some of the highest awards and recognition from both professional and public organizations.