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Have the Strategies for Winning an Election Changed Since 64 BC? Should They?

Updated on June 9, 2014
Heidi Vincent profile image

Ms. Vincent is an M.B.A graduate, Business Consultant and health, wellness & natural healing enthusiast, who reads a lot on those subjects.

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.

Image Credit: Compliments Amazon/How to Win An Election

How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians
How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians

The origin letter in Latin is presented side by side with the English translation by Philip Freeman.

 
Most Powerful Leadership Principle-Amazon-FreshStart7
Most Powerful Leadership Principle-Amazon-FreshStart7

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!

Image Credit: Compliments Amazon/The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle

What is this thing called Servant Leadership?

Servant leadership is possible in Politics!

Past & Current persons who have successfully practiced servant leadership.

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!

Improving Your Serve-Amazon-FreshStart7
Improving Your Serve-Amazon-FreshStart7

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.

Image Credit: Compliments Amazon/Improving Your Serve

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!

True Essence of Leadership-Amazon-FreshStart7
True Essence of Leadership-Amazon-FreshStart7

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?

Image Credit: Compliments Amazon/The True Essence of Leadership

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Should the Strategies for Winning an Election Change? - State 1 concrete way you think that they should change.

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    • Heidi Vincent profile image
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      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @Rhonda Lytle: Thanks poetvix! I really appreciate you using your vote like this! Have a very blessed weekend!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      This is so impressive, I had to return. i nominated for purple star. I hope you get it. It's most deserved!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @topclimb lm: I am glad that you appreciated my spin on this book, topclimb, because as you have said the world need less of Quintus' politics and huge doses of Servant Leadership right now. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to really read my lens. Have a very blessed week!

    • topclimb lm profile image

      topclimb lm 3 years ago

      Quintus' comment, Politics is full of deceit, treachery and betrayal could be commentary for politics through out time and particularly in today's political arena. Real food for thought about motives and where "man's" heart is... I so agree with what Servant Leadership is about. It is what the world needs now in huge doses! Thank you for a thought-provoking lens...

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @georgepmoola2: Glad you found it interesting. Thanks for visiting and have a blessed week.

    • georgepmoola2 profile image

      georgepmoola2 3 years ago

      Very interesting lens.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @WriterJanis2: Me too, WriterJanis. Thanks for visiting and have a blessed week.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      I like politicians who truly want to help the people.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image
      Author

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      @Rhonda Lytle: Thanks for tweeting my lens, poetvix! You are so right. I just wish that this new type of servant leadership politician could emerge globally. What a better world we would have. Thanks for viaiting and sharing your thoughts and have a blessed week.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Most impressive and this should be a must read for all potential politicians. If they but followed this ideology, the world would not be in the dire straights we currently find ourselves. Tweeted!