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Wily winning: A manual of mutating political philosophy – October 27, 2008

By Joseph Randolph
web posted October 27, 2008

Dear M.

Yes, your lead is expanding over your opponent, and so now, for the most part, you can start to ignore him.  This simply means you start to talk about implementing your vision for the people and drop him from the picture.  And do not fear all the claptrap and resentment that will come from your opponent's campaign about you assuming you are going to be victorious, because this is precisely the image you want to project of yourself.  That is, even as you continue to campaign, you really no longer have to look the part of the fretful campaigner anymore, but rather you should reflect the office holder putting the last touches on his plans for his stint as servant of the people.  Therefore, except for some unlikely and highly unusual happening, you should make a point to make no more references to your opponent in any of your speeches to the voting public.  After the voters see you presenting yourself as the occupant of the office you are running for—though you will scarcely look like you are running anymore, but instead preparing to move into office—they will assume it too. 

Furthermore, to posture yourself in this matter will show great confidence on your part.  Meanwhile your opponent, because you are now assuming he is no longer a factor, while have to work in an opposite way with his strategy. He will therefore have no time to talk about his plans or policies because he will be reminding voters that the campaign is still going, because you are creating the opposite appearance—and thus the reality—that the campaign is truly over.  Your opponent knows, therefore, that the campaign being over in this way means he will lose, so he has to dislodge you from your widening lead, and the only way for him to fight that uphill battle is to attack you, and probably relentlessly.  Meanwhile, you respond to nothing in his attacks within reason.  This will convey to the voter that you are so assured of winning that you can neglect the most vicious attacks upon you, simply because they are irrelevant to a candidate who is going to win.  Even those last words are too weak; you have won. 

Thus, while you may never speak of him again in the remainder of the campaign, his campaign can speak of nothing but you, in a frantic attempt to dislodge your victory or at a minimum, to slow down your ever widening lead.  His arrows will all be ineffectual and his doom soon thereafter will become apparent, even to him.  He will try to save some face, but only with the grossest futility.  Very soon thereafter he will start to talk about his victory in his defeat, but this is the futile meander of trying to avoid the inevitable shame that comes with defeat—his defeat.  It is the spurious talk of a corpse trying to retain some composure after it is dead.  And from your perspective, your opponent will be dead, politically.  Therefore, if the situation calls for any mention of him on your part at this point, speak respectively, as one would of the dead.  He is no longer a live candidate who threatens you in anyway, so show no fear of him, however desperate his gasping measures to pump some air back into himself.  He is of the past, you are of the future.  Tell him, in private of course, to rest in peace.  He will be apt to not even spend the last few days of his campaign campaigning, but probably spend his agony in his bed, hoping to forget his miserable venture. 

As your race now nears an end, you may nervously fear your quietness with reference to your opponent gives him some dangerous leash.  Rather, your confidence in not even mentioning him will be sufficient inducement for him to curl up and defeat himself.  Remember my first letter to you.  Our job is easy, but sometimes it is even better than that, and this last stretch of your well-advised campaign is one example as you head into the backstretch; you do not even have to do anything, and yet your work gets done.  In what other line of work is so little effort rewarded with so much benefit?

You must keep your rearguard on standby, however, and ever watchful of your opponent, while you of course present the impression that you have now forgotten that at one time you ever had an opponent.  Your rearguard watches for any sort of spike anywhere which would indicate some kind of ripple among voters, which could in the realm of possibility take away by inches or feet your current rather comfortable lead.  Thus you need to have a plan for this just in case the drowning man finds an iceberg to latch onto en route to a political recovery from the dungeon at the end of his foundering, losing campaign.

All that aside, and with your minions watching all your flanks, now you can turn to talking about nothing but the euphoria that will greet your voters upon your election.  However, do not even refer to the "election," because all of your speeches henceforth should appear as given by one already in office. Thus, you can speak of the new world about to be, that you, in collusion with others of our political persuasion, are about to bring to fruition. 

Tell the people that you and they will be wiping every tear away, and that in sufficient time, they will not remember the last occasion when life presented them with any difficulty or sadness at all.  Tables will be bountiful with food; houses repossessed by unscrupulous money-loving creditors will be given back to their rightful owners; weapons will be melted down into plowshares, and even the plows will be softened so as to place no undue stress upon Mother Earth from above; law enforcement will have to find other employment of community building of some type, for the "criminal" element of society will vanish; the military will vanish too, for our "foreign enemies" will become our international friends, and our last cry will be the one whereby our voters realize that they could have had this world much sooner than today, if they had only listened to us in the past.  We will let bygones be bygones, however, with the assurance given to them, that we will never leave them nor forsake them, now that they have placed us into power. ESR

Joseph Randolph is a writer and academic who lives in Wisconsin.

 

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