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28.04.10

Cicero

Now this guy was a clever bastard. Qintus Tullius Cicero, back in 64, BC knew everything. Nothing has changed since then. Read and weep.

There are three things that will guarantee votes in an election: favors, hope, and personal attachment. You must work to give these incentives to the right people. You can win uncommitted voters to your side by doing them even small favors. So much more so all those you have greatly helped, who must be made to understand that if they don't support you now they will lose all public respect. But do go to them in person and let them know that if they back you in this election you will be in their debt.

As for those who you have inspired with hope -- a zealous and devoted group -- you must make them to believe that you will always be there to help them. Let them know that you are grateful for their loyalty and that you are keenly aware of and appreciate what each of them is doing for you.

The third class of supporters are those who show goodwill because of a personal attachment they believe they have made with you. Encourage this by adapting your message to fit the particular circumstances of each and showing abundant goodwill to them in return. Show them that the more they work for your election the closer your bond to them will be. For each of these three groups of supporters, decide how they can help you in your campaign and give attention to each accordingly, reckoning as well how much you can demand from them.

There are certain key men in every neighborhood and town who exercise power. . . . Be sure to distinguish these men from those who seem important but have no real power and in fact are often unpopular in their group. Recognizing the difference between the useful and useless men in any organization will save you from investing your time and resources with people who will be of little help to you. . . .

Seek out men everywhere who will represent you as if they themselves were running for office. Visit them, talk to them, get to know them. Strengthen their loyalty to you in whatever way works best, using the language they understand. They will want to be your friends if they see that you want to be theirs. Small-town men and country folk will want to be your friends if you take the trouble to learn their names -- but they are not fools. They will only support you if they believe they have something to gain. If so, they will miss no chance to help you. . . .

You should pay special attention to . . . businessmen and moderately wealthy citizens. Get to know the leading members of these groups, which shouldn't be difficult as they are not great in number. . . . It will [also] help your campaign tremendously to have the enthusiasm and energy of young people on your side to canvass voters, gain supporters, spread news, and make you look good. . . .

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, BUT YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER

You must have a wide variety of people around you on a daily basis. Voters will judge you on what sort of crowd you draw both in quality and numbers. The three types of followers are those who greet you at home, those who escort you down to the Forum, and those who accompany you wherever you go.

As for the first type, they are the least reliable since many will make domestic calls on more than one candidate. Nonetheless, make it clear to them that you are pleased to have them drop by. Mention your gratitude for their visit whenever you see them and tell their friends that you noticed their presence as well, for the friends will repeat your words to them. Even if they visit several candidates, you can win them to your side as solid supporters by taking special notice of them. If you hear or suspect that one of your callers is not as firm in his support for you as he might appear, pretend this isn't the case. If he tries to explain that the charges are untrue, assure him that you have never doubted his loyalty and certainly won't in the future. By making him believe you trust him as a friend, you increase the chances that he really will be. Still, don't be foolish and accept every profession of goodwill you hear.

For those who accompany you to the Forum, let them know that you appreciate this even more than their coming to your house each morning. Try to go there at the same time each day so that you can have a large crowd following you. This will impress everyone greatly.

For the rest who accompany you throughout the day, make sure those who come of their own free will know how grateful you are for their company. For those who follow you because of obligation, insist that they come every day unless they are too old or are engaged in important business. If they can't make it, have them send a relative to take their place. It is vital that you have a crowd of devoted followers with you at all times. . . .

Since I have been writing so much on the subject of friendship, I think now is the time to sound a note of caution. Politics is full of deceit, treachery, and betrayal. . . . Your good nature has in the past led some men to feign friendship while they were in fact jealous of you, so remember the wise words of [the playwright] Epicharmus: "Don't trust people too easily."

Once you have figured out who your true friends are, give some thought to your enemies as well. There are three kinds of people who will stand against you: those you have harmed, those who dislike you for no good reason, and those who are close friends of your opponents. For those you have harmed by standing up for a friend against them, be gracious and apologetic, reminding them you were only defending someone you had strong ties to and that you would do the same for them if they were your friend. For those who don't like you without good cause, try to win them over by being kind to them or doing them a favor or by showing concern for them. As for the last group who are friends of your rivals, you can use the same techniques, proving your benevolence even to those who are your enemies. . . .

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