Authenticity in a candidate


As the presidential campaign moves forward, I'll occasionally blog about things I see that may be useful to first-time candidates for local office. You can find this series by clicking on the "case studies" tag on the blog and beginning in January. 

Donald Trump is throwing the Republican establishment for a loop. Many cannot figure out the appeal. He has turned conventional political wisdom on its head. 

But some of it is not so surprising. Conventional political wisdom tells you that "authenticity" is important. And Donald Trump feels authentic to many voters. 

Katherine Miller (@katherinemiller) of Buzzfeed wrote a series of tweets recently describing the phenomenon, and I think she makes some valid points. 

Here is what she said: 

Below are a couple of the Instagram videos that Trump has put out. 

A great rally in Mesa, #Arizona with 15,000 supporters! #ThankYou for your support! #Trump2016 #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

Miller is right. These look authentic. Bernie Sanders has the same effect -- his campaign has the feel of real people getting excited about a real candidates. 

Miller continues her analysis below:

Voters are pretty good at picking up on contrived political speeches and ads. And it matters to them that a candidate is authentic. Some years it matters more than others. Whether he is or isn't, Trump feels like the anti-politician. 

So what does this mean for your campaign? How can you be more authentic to voters?

First, take a look at our "campaign speeches" page for some tips on making your speech more authentic. 

Second, when you develop your message, don't over-focus on what you think voters care about. This is what Hillary Clinton does, and she's been dogged by the "inauthentic" label for years. Voters think she'll take whatever position a pollster tells her to. 

Think about which issues spurred you to run for office. What matters to you? Talk about those things, fit them into an overall narrative for your campaign, and you'll come across as a more authentic candidates. 

As Roger Ailes says, you are the message

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