Stephanie's Political Arena

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Posts Tagged ‘campaign

Survivor: The Campaign Trail

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Among the pioneers of modern-day reality television is the show “Survivor…” of which I admittedly am not an avid viewer.  Well, what can I say?  It’s not political enough for this political nerd.  So, this compelled me to ponder, “What if a season of Survivor took place out on the open campaign trail in the middle of one of America’s ‘purple states’ during an epic election year?”  Now, that just might draw an additional viewer or two (depending on how many of my fellow political nerds I could convince to watch the entire season with me).  

So, without giving away too many plotlines or “challenges” that could be featured throughout the “election season” of Survivor, I would advise prospective contestants to prepare by assembling an arsenal consisting of the following ten items in order to “survive” the rigors of campaign life until someone emerges victorious on Election Day:

Polk County, NC graphic

Polk County, NC photo (

1. Two or three pairs of good, comfortable running shoes

From knocking on doors, to walking in parades nearly every weekend, to knocking on doors, to “lit drops” (just placing the campaign literature somewhere on a porch, in a door, or on a door handle), to knocking on doors, to putting up 4×8 signs in 50+ mph wind gusts capable of sending a 4×10 sign over the roof of a nearby Culver’s restaurant, to knocking on doors, to walking around the county fairgrounds, to  knocking on doors, to running from a voter who won’t be checking your boss’s name on their ballot anytime soon, to knocking on even more doors, quality running shoes rank as one of the most important survival tools on the campaign trail.  Did I mention you knock on a lot of doors?

2. One or two (back-ups never hurt) good, reliable mechanics listed in your cell phone directory

When you’re not walking in parades or along neighborhood streets, you’ll be driving somewhere in between them or another one of a dozen or so other campaign events taking place on any given day.  And if you’re fortunate enough to be a part of a statewide campaign, there could be at least 100 miles in between those events.  Thus, you’ll need to keep your vehicle in working condition at all times.  If, however, this poses as a persistent issue, you may want to consider including a mechanic for each town you’ll be visiting throughout the election season within your directory. 

3. A reliable radio in your vehicle

As long as I’m on the subject of vehicles, I’ll stress how important a radio will be in helping you maintain your sanity during those 100+ mile commutes… that is, until your boss’s opponent’s radio ad pops up… Then again, you’ll have the remainder of your commute time to plot a great response to that ad.

4. A recorder

Rest assured that as long as you have a recorder, cutting that retaliation – I mean response – radio (and even television) ad shouldn’t be a problem at all.  Simply keep it on during debates and forums held between your boss and their opponent.  Chances are good that you may catch that opponent in the act of sticking their foot in their mouth, giving you great radio and television ad material to use.

5.  An ample supply of sunscreen

Getting back to those doors and parades in meeting other avid listeners of political radio ads, anticipate spending a LOT of time in the fresh air and sunshine.  Unless your post-election season aspiration is to appear in a television or print ad for Red Lobster, I would suggest adding an SPF 50+ accessory to your campaign attire for the weekend parade circuit or the day-long neighborhood hiking adventure.  

6. An ample supply of hand sanitizer

Campaign life = shaking LOTS of hands.  Need I say more?

7. An ample supply of insect repellent

Unlike the typical season of Survivor as we know it, you will not be expected to eat any bugs on the campaign trail.  However, the Midwest – where most of those purple states are concentrated – in late summer/early autumn is like the premiere Caribbean resort destination for insects such as bees, beetles, and mosquitoes.  Keep them at bay while knocking on doors (what else would you be doing at this point?) with a healthy dose of insect repellent.  If, however, you would prefer to wear a bee suit, then I suggest knocking on doors in support of your boss’s opponent.

8. A First-Aid Kit

Unlike the auto repair mechanics, you won’t compile an extensive directory of emergency rooms to visit on the campaign trail. So, to treat that pesky insect bite you managed to get from using the cheaper can of repellent or the collection of paper cuts you received from carrying campaign literature around all day (to name only a couple of ailments), keep a first-aid kit in your vehicle.  You could also use this as a strategizing opportunity: band-aids generate sympathy, which could translate into more votes.

9. A mental road map of the best gas stations located on or near the campaign trail

The gas station on the campaign trail: not just a place where you fill your car up with your favorite politicized fuel.  Welcome to your all-in-one coffee shrine, bathroom, coffee shrine, bedroom (exclusively for changing in between parades and formal events such as fundraisers – just to clarify), coffee shrine, and kitchen.

10. A “Sunny Stash”

I’m trying to think of two other words – one that rhymes with “sunny” and the other rhymes with “stash” – that are equally as important on the campaign trail, but I can’t recall what they are at the moment so I’ll just stick with this combination and leave you to decipher what I’m referring to.  

There you have ten essential items for surviving the campaign trail.  Best of luck to the prospective contestants of Survivor: The Campaign Trail.


Written by Stephanie

February 9, 2011 at 6:26 am