Have the Strategies for Winning an Election Changed Since 64 BC? Should They?
Foolproof 64 BC Strategies for Winning an Election!
When Quintus Ciceros' older brother, Marcus Tullius Cicero was running for the highest office of Consul in Rome, Quintus wrote a letter to his older brother in 64 BC giving him some strategies to ensure that he ran a successful campaign, won the election and became Consul.
In Quintus' opinion, "running for office can be divided into two kinds of activity: securing the support of your friends and winning over the general public". Some of his 64 BC strategies included things like:
1. Call in all favours.
2. Make friends with any man who holds great influence.
3. Turn your attention to the special interest groups, the neighbourhood organizations and the outlying districts.
4. Have a wide variety of people around you on a daily basis.
5. Promise everything to everyone because after all, if a politician made only promises he was sure he could keep, he wouldn't have many friends.
6. If you must tell someone 'no', make up a tale and avoid having them hate you since people would prefer you give them a gracious lie than an outright refusal.
7. Always think about publicity.
Do any of these strategies sound similar to the tactics that your own local politicians have employed in this 21st century? From what you have just read, do you think that the strategies for winning an election have changed much between 64 BC and 2014?
There are plenty more similar bits of advice from Quintus to his brother Marcus in that letter and in case you're wondering, Marcus Tullius Cicero did win the election by a wide margin. This was no small feat, especially since he was not of noble birth and in those days only nobility was considered capable of ruling. Marcus dabbled in and out of politics thereafter until his execution in 43 BC.
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The origin letter in Latin is presented side by side with the English translation by Philip Freeman.
Should the Strategies for Winning an Election Change?
Quintus unashamedly told his brother, "Politics is full of deceit, treachery and betrayal". Although the advice was given for political elections, I have no doubt that other non-political elections have been won using some of these very said strategies.
If the end all and be all of an election was winning the election, I suppose that I might have agreed fully with Quintus' advice to Marcus.
However, the race is only just started when one wins an election. There remains the long and arduous task of wisely governing or leading; politically or non-politically.
So in my opinion, one must always start off with the right motives for leading or else, once the elections have been won following Quintus' foolproof strategies, there will be much disappointment, disillusionment, dissatisfaction among the populace.
Right motives would include as a key underlying factor, a genuine desire to serve the populace - what is nowadays being coined as Servant Leadership. As Charles Swindoll, a strong advocate of servant leadership, so aptly explains, "Thinking right always precedes acting right".
Unfortunately, many politicians start off with very wrong and selfish motives of aggrandizing themselves, seeking to have glory bestowed on them, becoming wealthy and powerful and other self-glorifying intentions.
This is why I say, unreservedly, that the strategies for winning an election must change and go well beyond just winning the election!
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What is this thing called Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership is possible in Politics!
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YOU can lead with a servant's heart in ALL areas of your life; work, family, group, anywhere!
Everything You Need to Know About Servant Leadership!
How are Current Political Goals different from Servant Leadership Political Goals?
When a politician begins with the right motives for becoming a leader – that is, to genuinely serve the public (servant leadership) - then the strategies that he/she employs to win his/her elections must be different from Quintus’ strategies, in many instances.
While not all of Quintus’ strategies are in themselves bad given the right motive, like “Turn your attention to the special interest groups, the neighbourhood organizations and the outlying districts”, there are others like “Promise everything to everybody” that must be changed outright.
If the ultimate goal is winning the election and getting into power, then paying attention to special interest groups, neighbourhood organizations and outlying districts will only mean added votes.
Whereas, if the ultimate goal is to genuinely serve the public, then the potential leader will be paying attention to these special groups in order to capture and treat with as many concerns as possible in an all-inclusive manner aimed at alleviating or eliminating their burdens or challenges.
If the ultimate goal is winning the election and getting into power, then the potential leader will be promising everything to everyone, knowing full well that he/she cannot deliver, with the ulterior motive of giving the people false hope in order to win their votes.
Whereas, if the ultimate goal is to genuinely serve the public, then the potential leader will not make false promises but will, instead, educate the people about the realities of what is happening in the economy and what he/she will do to best fix the situation, even temporarily.
If the ultimate goal is winning the election and getting into power, then having a wide variety of people around you on a daily basis will stem from wanting to achieve more votes by doing superficial things like shaking the hands of minorities, hugging youths, holding babies, conveniently picking up the causes of special interest groups, etc.
Whereas, if the ultimate goal is to genuinely serve the public, then the potential leader will seek to genuinely understand and address the concerns of various citizen groups, minorities, age groups (elderly, physically challenged, youth etc.) as a natural course of serving the populace all-inclusively rather than “creating an ideal picture” of what voters want to see.
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Practical Tips for Becoming A Servant Leader!
Here's how you can change your thinking and positively impact others!
Here's what YOU can do!
How Can the Strategies for Winning an Election Change Through Practicing Servant Leadership?
Well let’s look again at some of Quintus’ election strategies and see how we can change them by employing the right motives of a servant leader’s heart:
1.Instead of focusing on making friends with any man who holds great influence, take Swindoll’s advice and “turn to Almighty God in total trust”. The Bible backs him up well on this one in Psalms 146:3 which reads, “Don't put your trust in human leaders; no human being can save you” and that is who King Solomon turned to for wisdom in governing the nation of Israel.
2.By all means, turn your attention to the special interest groups, the neighbourhood organizations and the outlying districts, but do so not to win their votes but with what Swindoll describes as “an insatiable appetite for what is right, a passionate drive for justice”.
3.Instead of making empty promises, according to Swindoll, servant leaders “care, get involved, get dirty if necessary. They offer more than pious words”.
4.The servant leader doesn’t think about publicity and make up tales so as to keep people from disliking him/her. As Swindoll puts it, he/she is more concerned about “doing the right things for the right reason. Being free from duplicity, hypocrisy, and/or sham.”
When you read the rest of Quintus’ strategies for winning an election and you compare it with Charles R. Swindoll’s strategies for becoming a servant leader, you may well agree with me that election strategies need to change? What do you think?
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