IMHO in order to succeed a political party/action organisation needs the following:
Know who your supporters are. Once you have that information then you can 1) ask them for money, 2) communicate with them directly, 3) Ask for volunteers, 4) Take lobbying action.
If your organisation has a worthwhile reason to exist and goal then it’s not difficult to find people who are willing to devote a few hours a week to help a cause they believe in. Then use their unique skills – better yet, produce a database of people, their skills, and their availability and call on them to help you. Suddenly you end up with a staff of several hundred part-time finance professionals, graphic designers, writers, administrators, proofreaders, and coffee makers.
In order to fund your organisation you need to use your volunteers and your membership and contact lists to continually ask for donations, then put them to good use. The value of an $5 donation is not the money, it’s having someone buy into your mission financially and personally. They become invested and they are more likely to join your volunteer army.
Produce good talking points for the different levels of argumentation, from the very simple headline for the entire organisation to the bullet point breakdowns of specific policy points and spreadsheets for sophisticated readers. Directly mail your supporters and ask them to help you lobby, raise funds, or recruit new supporters.
These are the things that Obama did better than his competitors.
In Bermuda the PLP does the above relatively well while the UBP does them terribly, that’s why they’re winning elections despite a demonstrated inability to govern effectively. The PLP’s results speak to this: winning elections while flagrantly mismanaging housing, education, contracting, the budget, etc. Not to mention the general rampant unethical self-dealing and corruption.
To beat the PLP it’s a matter of:
1. Developing a platform and strong identity.
This same process happens in the US, where the Republicans own the brand of “individual freedoms and fiscal responsibility”. Their performance in these areas is irrelevant, it’s the branding that matters. In Bermuda the PLP has their strongly defined black/labour brand, even if their actual record has overwhelmingly favoured the wealthy/landowners.
2. Communicating effectively.
Use talking points communicating the headlines of the platform. Get everyone involved on board and publicly saying the same things about the same topics. This will both lower the constant infighting has plagued the UBP, and produce an us vs. them where simple truisms of talking points make it very hard to oppose the organisation saying them because people find themselves agreeing with them.
A lie repeated loudly and often enough becomes truth. The PLP knows this, that’s why they repeatedly smeared their opposition using the same language over and over again. No matter how crazy it would seem if said once by Marc Bean, it becomes very effective when the whole team, even Paula Cox, is up on a pulpit spouting the same rhetoric. To combat this, an organisation must shout the truth loudly, stick to places where it can be impeccable with its word, and constantly put the PLP on their back foot by both combating their attempts to spin their record and attacking them for the things they haven’t done – which presumably would be addressed in #1.
3. Using the above two to build an army.
Right now we have the poorly defined “combined opposition” from unaffiliated sensible and educated commentators like Larry Burchall and Stuart Hayward to the haphazard organisation of Shawn Crockwell, and the still sensible if ineffective UBP. When all voices of reason are coming from one defined source and one brand then it becomes powerful. There is more than enough wrong with this country to get everyone on the same page (see #1 and #2). We can ALL agree on education, fiscal management, etc.
You’ll note that these largely are functions of the organisation’s staff and executives, not of the politicians themselves.