• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    AMPAC Regional Campaign Workshop

    I just returned from attending a political campaign workshop in Austin, Texas. What an interesting experience. Truth be told, I wasn't expecting to go. Another student from UT-Houston's TMA/AMA chapter was assigned to go and bailed at the last minute, so I took his place. So many stories from two days!

    Wow, I feel all warm and fuzzy about our democracy ... Goodbye warm-fuzzies
    Many of you who know me, have heard me ruminate about possibly running for office someday. Unfortunately, I'm an idealist and a family man. I know in my heart of hearts that politics is dirty, but I want to "help the world." I also want to provide for my family, and often politics doesn't allow that. This workshop allowed me to see more in-depth the makings of a campaign, the strategy behind one, and weigh whether or not I really want to do that in the future.

    AMPAC is the American Medical Association Political Action Committee, basically the political wing of the American Medical Association. American laws are all screwed up, and election laws are no different. As I learned on Monday, American politics are supposed to be pure, unadulterated, bereft of corporate or other special interests. To such end, laws prohibit corporations, unions, or professional organizations (like the TMA and AMA) from making direct contributions to a candidate or campaign.

    Wow, I feel all warm and fuzzy about our democracy.

    BUT, they allow any of the above entities to sponsor political action committees (PACs)made up of employees, run by employees, and --obviously-- espousing the ideals of the "parent" organization.

    Goodbye warm-fuzzies.

    Actually, the pragmatist in me doesn't see any real problem with this. It allows people interested in the survival of HMOs to tell their point of view and those who want them gone to share theirs. Ultimately, the people vote (via candidates and party platforms) for whose ideas they support more.

    So, the AMPAC (and TEXPAC...Texas Political Action Committee) is made of members of the AMA (and TMA, respectively) who feel strong enough about their feelings to make monetary and time donations to the candidates and parties that they feel will support and protect the profession of medicine.

    the average age of a person who responds to mailers is 67
    AMPAC sponsored this workshop, and brought in two political campaign strategists to teach us about fundraising, advertising, employees/volunteers needed, strategy, etc. Heck, who better to protect medicine than a DOCTOR in office, right?

    The AMA (and AMPAC) is a nonpartisan organization, so they brought in one Republican campaign strategist--Carlyle Gregory (without the mustache)--and one Democratic strategist--Gary Nordlinger. Both were very good. Some things I learned from their presentations:

    1. 80% of voters have their mind made up regardless of what you do to persuade them. They're either Democrat or Republican, or care about some issue so much that their minds are made up in the beginning. 5-8% are "hyperinformative" voters, because they weigh everything up until the last minute and make up their minds on who to vote for while on the way to the polls (yours truly). The remaining 12-15% of voters are considered "low information" voters. These people are those who pay little attention to a campaign until the last two weeks. Then, they see a couple adds, gain little information, and make a decision on who to vote for. They are typically able to change their minds many times up until about 5 days before the election.

    It's these "low info" voters that most TV ads are targeted to, so if you wonder why sometimes TV ads have so little substance, now you know. (This was from Gary Nordlinger)

    2. Evidently direct mailers are the most statistically researched of all advertising techniques. Everyone knows that when you send out a mailer asking for donations, you will receive 50% of your money in the first 5 days. It's like gospel. Also, the average age of a person who responds to mailers is 67. The stats experts have also shown that the longer the letter (contrary to logic), the more likely someone is of reading it and responding. (This was from Carlyle Gregory)

    I suppose this is because as you get older, you get less and less mail, so any seemingly personal but really impersonal letter one receives from a candidate will allow he or she to delude herself with the joy of receiving correspondence.

    All in all there was too much information to put down here and not bore everyone to death. Yesterday we lobbied at the capital, and then came home--but that is another post.

    No comments: