This summer I have been working on Calgary City Councillor Andre Chabot’s mayoral election campaign. Since the election is not until October I have been involved in the initial setup of campaign plans, strategy and organization. It’s a small campaign team with limited staff and limited finances, so I’ve done everything from communications and event coordination to sweeping the floors at the new campaign office. For the most part, the time has been enjoyable and informative, I’ve had the opportunity to attend some high-profile events and meet prominent figures at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government. Nonetheless, it’s not all easy or glamourous. The schedule is often unpredictable, sometimes campaigning is unorganized and there is always pressure to make sure no mistakes are made on social media. I’ve attached a couple examples of social media posts I’ve written on the campaign’s behalf this summer to highlight this part of my experience.
In this blog, I wanted to mention a revealing lesson that my stretch experience has shown me about electoral politics. Although we tend to emphasize the ideas, policy points and the platform of a campaign, this is all far less important than I originally thought. Particularly in municipal elections, where there are no party lines, the organization, volunteer numbers and fundraising dollars are far more significant than what a candidate believes about any specific issue. While this can lead to some pessimistic conclusions about political campaigning, it’s an insightful realization that I have noted.