Personally Attack Your Opponent in A Tasteful Way: Now, I’m from Canada, but the same is true in the United States. It’s important to let potential voters now that your opponent is a bad, bad man, but you can’t just come out and say it. You need to subtly needle it into everyday conversation in such a way that makes it seems like you’re just supplying information, not attempting to act out of malice. The information doesn’t need to be (and probably shouldn’t be) true, as truth is never as flamboyant and interesting as the lies we can come up with. George W. Bush’s campaign used this technique to great effect: they would ask voters whether they would disapprove if opposing candidate John McCain had fathered an illegitimate African-American child. This tricked voters into thinking McCain had done so, without coming across like a lying bully.
Erode Your Opponents Support Through Irrelevant Issues: The key here is to find a divisive social issue that effects an incredibly small portion of the general public (one percent or less). This issue should have something to do with a foreign culture, so as to play on the xenophobia inherent in a large portion of the general public. You, the candidate, take a divisive position on the issue. Now, your opponents supporters will generally be split on this issue: as it involves another culture and a small population base, your opponent’s supporters will be relatively uninformed on the issue. Nonetheless, because you have voted “X” on the issue your opponent will be compelled to take position “Y”. Your opponent’s supporters, because of their inherent xenophobia or liberal liberalism will be split on this issue, causing cleavages and infighting within your opponent’s supporters. This reduces your opponent’s ability to mobilize support. An example of this sort of practice can be seen in Canada with the Niqab-the Conservative Party has suddenly taken a hardline stance on the issue, forcing the liberal New Democrats to respond. Much of the Party’s support has taken issue with the New Democrat response, and they will lose support in the region (Quebec) because of it.
You Don’t Need to Win, but All of Your Opponents Need To Lose: Candidates try to appear likable because they think if they generate a cult of personality then that will correspond to an active and interested voting base, which will support them through subsequent elections. This is incorrect. Taste is fleeting and adoration doubly so. A politician, like Obama, can be temporarily fashionable, but they will soon be scorned and cast aside by party elite, like Obama. The greatest politician is never seen, disappearing during her term and waking up for elections, making no substantiative gestures in any sort of direction of any kind. This is because if people don’t feel anything about you they can’t begin to hate you-what was never in fashion can’t be out. As such, the ideal politician should say as little as possible, opening their mouth only to attack their opponent (1) or their base (2).
Don’t Even Try to Follow Through On Your Campaign Promises: People often make the mistake of entering into politics because they believe things. They think something should be X way and dedicate their lives to making it happen. This, too, is a mistake. Political change is done primarily through the judiciary (supreme court), not the legislature. As such, all politicians reach a point where they realize they can effectively do very little (although, there are brief, generational moments where a politician can effect meaningful change-Canada’s Constitution Act of 1982 and Obama’s ACA, this is rare). The thing to realize is that people aren’t voting for you because you will fulfill your campaign promises, but rather to maintain the illusion of civic participation. In a way, you’re doing them a service by allowing them to vote for you-they feel better, you feel better, and you get a new job. Everybody wins.