Perhaps this final set of three recommendations will seem paradoxical, even nonsensical, to those who have grown cynical about how to do politics.
But we fool only ourselves when we settle for intellectual dishonesty. It’s easy to commission a poll that will make us feel good about our chances by overstating them. It’s easy to make up numbers and claim massive accomplishment when we’ve done far less. I’ve seen plenty of campaigns that live on lies and they are horrifying. Honesty arrives on election night because someone else counts the votes. The final tally embitters those on our side who believed the phony feel-good statistics that the campaign fed them. Disillusioned, many never return. The cycle of cynicism is thus ever-refreshed.
Why do we lie to ourselves and to others? To please funders. To make ourselves feel better. To evade accountability. To avoid admitting that we made a mistake or fell short.
I understand these temptations but we must not give in to them. How will we ever organize our community on a much more remarkable scale if we destroy the hopes of our people by lying to them?
Honesty is possible. It is practical. It is bearable. And all of us who have come out to anyone know that it is the best choice we have ever made. The recommendations below explain how we can make honesty a touchstone in our campaigns and increase our chances of winning.