Posted by DemocracyKit on 03/17/2017

Stuart Hastings, Campaign Manager | One piece of advice

Video TypeInterview
Campaign AreaExplore-Campaign Team,

Stuart Hastings, Campaign Manager, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


0:00 - What’s one piece of advice that you would give to new candidates?

You know what, here's my top thing for entering the race. Okay, and there's lots of advice out there. This one's a bit different but I think it's a it's important. It may be not something you've thought about which is don't take things personally when you're in the race. So, for instance, you know I ran when I was in university doesn't seem like a, you know, a big deal compared to these upper levels of politics but you know you're running in front of all your friends, your entire peer group is there reflecting on you kind of judging on you and things are going to happen that'll, you know, kind of hurt you in a way because the can- the candidate's in a very sensitive position. I'll give you [an] example from [the] most recent election that I was involved in, the 2014 School Board race. And we had a candidate who was running against us. We had these nice big signs would go up go to the knock on the doors, talk to the resident, they'd agreed to support us, we put up this big sign. So there's one candidate who was going around after us with these little signs and every big sign that we went up he knocked on the door convinced this person - who knows what they were saying to them - and then surrounded our big side without [sic] little signs. This guy was basically a troll going around after us. So as we were driving around the neighbourhood we kept seeing our signs surrounded by these little signs and then the same candidate put on Twitter, he kept posting pictures of this situation saying "little signs win," which was kind of you know, infuriating, you know? it's kind of like you know when someone's coming after you like that and when you're, when you feel like you're being the candidate, in particular, people don't appreciate how vulnerable they feel. You know for any candidate, you look strong people, you know, the people putting themselves out there. But internally they feel vulnerable, they're putting everything that about themselves on the line to be judged by their peers in their community. And you'd be surprised that kind of things that that hurt them or offend them, and when you've got your name out there in your community where maybe you've grown up all your life and, you know, you see things happening to your signs. Your signs might get vandalized, they might get pulled down and your, your brain might jump to these to any kind of conclusion of people of analyzing your signs or people are trying to attack you or hurt you, but in some cases the wind blows down the sign. Some cases a group of 15 year olds walking back from school and they happen to see some sign and they break it down. You drive by the next day, you see someone has destroyed your sign it feels like a personal attack on you... Like I remember university if your posters rip down. It hurts, you know, sometimes when you put yourself out there. So I would say and it may be not something that's often thought about it in campaigns, especially to the candidate, is not to take things so personal, to try and achieve some degree of separation from yourself and from, and from the campaign and I think that will be- that's a very important thing in terms of your own mental health and persevering toward the end because these sorts of little incidents can build up, can kind of hurt you and distract you and slow you down from ultimately succeeding in the campaign.

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