2016 Election Blog #4 – Rules to Play By: The Twelve-Step Model of Political Organizing, The Pro-Israel Community as a Case Study

Steven Windmueller, Ph. D.

Posted on October 21, 2015 / 8 Heshvan 5776

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph. D.

The Wind Report - 2016 elections: Blog post #4

As America approaches its “political season” advocacy groups and lobbying organizations see this as an opportunity to advance their agendas. In this survey, twelve political principles are introduced. These specific action steps demonstrate how policy organizations, in this case the pro-Israel community, play an essential role in political campaigns, permitting these advocacy institutions an opportunity to pursue their core interests:

  1. During election campaigns for Congress and the White House, the pro-Israel community has a unique opportunity to press candidates on their positions pertaining to the Middle East and to extract particular commitments. The election process represents a point in time when an interest group can promote its agenda as an essential tool in garnering support for its legislative and policy priorities.
  1. Candidates are particularly loyal to both their early supporters and to their donors who provide last minute commitments. As a result advocacy groups have often taken the opportunity to encourage their activists to be “present” both at the outset of a politician’s campaign as well as to be seen as financially supportive and committed during the closing stages of the electoral process. The motto “Early, Often, and Late” are key indicators of being politically successful with a candidate! Loyalty is a powerful and essential notion in politics!
  1. Symbolism in election campaigning is significant and as such candidates are trained and prepared to introduce key phrases and words in their stump speeches and interviews concerning their commitment to a specific cause; these code words are designed to “reassure” their political base while appealing to “undecided” voters.  For the pro-Israel camp various terms comprise a mantra of “Israel supportive language” that provides a framework for measuring a candidate’s credibility. Even a phrase as basic as “Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East” provides an entry point for growing that level of connection.
  1. Interest groups play off of existing public opinion in order to build their case with political candidates; the large pro-Israel support within the American public provides an important point of leverage in advancing the case for Israel with key political players, especially those who have yet to declare themselves on the American-Israel relationship.

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