The Transatlantic Dialogue Program of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) was delighted to welcome a delegation of international senior party strategists representing Liberal parties worldwide to Washington, DC for a productive week-long study tour to learn about new developments and strategies for political campaigning.
In discussions with the other participants, invited speakers, and the Transatlantic Dialogue Program’s network of political professionals, participants made valuable connections to enhance the work in their parties. Facing multiple political challenges and threats to democratic elections in their regions, participants came together last week to learn from each other and make their upcoming campaigns even more effective. Given the unique situation in each participant’s home country, many of them also recognized limitations to the extent that campaigning methods in the United States would actually have an effect on their constituencies.
Reflecting on the 2016 elections in the United States, speakers from the Republican and Democratic political parties examined which campaign strategies worked in the past election and why. There was a basic agreement among all speakers that the most important aspect of political campaigning is to make a connection with the voter, even as the media and technologies they use to make that connection change over time. To accomplish this, a party or a candidate needs to have a coherent, overarching campaign message. Campaign strategists increasingly focus on qualitative research and polling along with data analytics in order to refine the message and micro-target groups of voters during their campaign. All of these are helpful tools, but still the best way to successfully transport your message is to engage voters directly, person to person, and on social media platforms. Therefore the program included an intensive volunteer train-the-trainer workshop.
During the discussions the participants learned about trends in overall campaign strategies, TV Advertisement, the importance of digital campaigning as well as trends in polling and analytics. Participants discussed social media campaigns and all of the new tools that Facebook offers with the manager of Politics and Government Outreach at FB. The group also learned more about how to keep potential voters engaged on social media platforms. The participants gained further insights into the role of political parties in the U.S. from former executives of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee. The program also included a tour of the U.S. Capitol and a discussion on the current political situation in the United States with the political professional network of the Transatlantic Dialogue Program.
The FNF’s Transatlantic Dialogue Program would like to thank all participants for their great engagement throughout the week.
Anne-Marie Simone, Program Assistant, Transatlantic Dialogue Program, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom