Election morning and staffers were running about chaotically between hotel rooms and phones. Katherine made sure to keep me away from the organized hysteria outside the door. Katherine and I enjoyed a private breakfast and discussed personal matters, most of which financial and how long I could continue campaigning without generating an income. The discussion tapered out after placing another mortgage on the house was suggested. I could not maintain my composure or concentration through the rest of the discussion due to the constant throbbing.
Since our successful entrance into the race, dozens of professional organizers have offered their assistance throughout Kansas and other states. Jason and Ken are doing their best to keep a hand on the growing campaign, but little mistakes are taking their toll. Early this morning we received a phone call from an organizer in Oklahoma complaining that not enough resources or man power was being sent his way to organize a grassroots movement and unbeknownst to him I was listening on the call. His annoying voice was getting to me and everyone in the room could tell. He continued his rant and then I exploded over the phone, “Dammit, enough of your bickering. If you want part of this campaign then get your ass out there.” Another meeting ended similarly with a grassroots organizer complaining about not enough cars and buses; “Get out and walk,” my reply was.
Dealing through the frustration, I rested on the couch while Jason, Ken, and some staffers went over my remarks for a rally at Kansas Community College. Everybody wanted dramatic speeches attacking the administration, supporting the Tea Party, and proclaiming conservative values.
“Why would I want to do that,” I asked the concerned crowd of individuals who suddenly last their ability to speak. “Why would I want to ponder to just one portion of the Republican Party nearly holding the country hostage over an ideological battle with the budget? The one time the Party had a chance to negotiate on entitlement, tax, and social program reform the Speaker and Tea Party blow out. Jason, can I have the room?”
“Of course,” Jason stated glancing at the others and funneling out the door. He looked back over his shoulder only to observe me motioning him out as well.
From across the room I commented, “Jason, you are doing great work but I want simple speeches.” Leaving the room, I hoped Jason listened to my words, just simple speeches discussing the issues. Spending the rest of the afternoon on that couch gave me the time needed to contemplate the future of the campaign and, to be honest, daydreamed what it would be like if I win the nomination. So far, I am running the right campaign and hopefully the staff will follow me because unlike my Republican opponents running campaigns destroying every chance we have of winning in November.
The Kansas Community College was filled with energetic Young Republicans, professors, and other members of the student community. Glancing over my speech during the introductions, I discovered Jason did not heed my words for simplicity making frequent changes. Taking the podium, I found myself less nervous than before: “The United States is the most affluent nation in the world with a food producing and reserve capacity unrivaled in the modern world and yet allow our own citizens to starve and live through the shame of unemployment. This is not their fault but the fault of a nation dedicated to needless materialism.” I addressed the need to reform welfare creating a system of job training programs designed to boost recipient confidence and get them back into the workforce. However, I commented that welfare and other social assistance programs are not to be shunned because they represent the communal nature of Americans and symbolize “the honor of a great nation.” Business leaders can take the initiative by opening stores in underperforming neighborhoods, “this increases the chances of a neighbor increasing its wealth and turning the community around.”
In addition, the government and business cannot be fully responsible for fixing the American system. It must be the responsibility of Americans and “students like you to establish organizations focused on alleviating these societal burdens and engaging in the political process.” Concluding my remarks, I demanded that the students take a stand against poverty and social injustice. The auditorium filled with applause and I took some time to work the crowd making sure to shake as many hands as possible.
The rest of the evening was spent anxiously awaiting poll results. Jason had the staff write two speeches, one in case of a strong showing and another for defeat. I looked them over in my room only to find myself enraged. Taking them both in my hand, I stormed into the Jason’s room to find it full of staff. Regaining my composure, I walked up to Jason bent over a desk looking over reports.
“What the hell is this?” I asked in a calm, stern voice.
“Your speeches for tonight in case…”
“I know what they are but they are not what I want.”
Jason, looking over the faces of everyone in the room, pulled me aside into a private room off the main suite. He motioned for me to sit down, but my blood was up.
“I am not giving these speeches,” I shouted at him while pacing, “this is amateur hour all over again, the mood of the campaign may have changed, but its showcased appearance has not.” I continued to rant; I don’t even remember what I said. Eventually I calmed down and sat across from him. Sitting there motionless, head pounding, my attention was drawn to the television, “everyone is expecting a big win for Mitchel Robertson tonight moving him closer to the GOP nomination while Richard Stanely looks to take some of the wind out of Robertson’s sail.”
“I’m not going to win tonight am I?” I said looking down at the floor.
Jason, detecting my frustration and solemnness, could not lie, “No, I don’t think.”
“What are we doing here Jason?”
“Making the best effort we possibly can. You’re doing good. Of course, the pundits and analysts will say that you have no chance, but look at the current race. Did anybody really think that Stanely could be causing this much trouble. I know you are frustrated. You just need to give the staff time to adjust to your personality. We have a strong message and an even stronger candidate.”
“I’m just tired Jason. I’m tired of the politicking and politicians promising everything under the sun just to get elected. I mean, the race isn’t even about the issues facing the country and the world for that matter. It’s all about the number of delegates someone has and, let’s face it, there aren’t enough for us to make a serious challenge.” A brief moment of silence descended upon the room. Jason looked down at his hands and then at the television. It was late and most of the states were reporting in, Robertson was winning most of the states with Stanely picking up the rest. Nowhere did anybody mention Ryan Donnell and the energetic crowds.
Listening to the report on delegate accumulations, I looked over at Jason, “You know, back in the day a candidate didn’t need to worry about delegates. They could just run their campaigns.”
“Yeah, that’s because all you had to do was ignore the electorate and convince the party bosses that you were strong enough for the ticket.”
“That’s not my point. They could run their elections. Let us run focused on raising the level of debate and going straight to the convention. Screw the delegate count.”
I could see that this was the answer Jason was looking for by the brightness in his eye, “Now that’s a campaign I can be part of. I’ll let the staff know and throw away those speeches…”
“Already done,” I said as I stood over the trash and dispensed with the two pieces of paper. “Let everyone know that we are in this to the finish.” We shake hands and Jason is out the door. I follow my friend only to slip out of the room before he or anybody else sees me, let him rile the troops. Walking down the hallway, I wave of confidence washed over me as my mind filled with ideas and contemplations. A daring new venture, now all that had to be done was convince Katherine. Convincing Jason, Ken, the staff, and the American people I would rather prefer.