How to win (you hope) and election

In just a couple of weeks or so, it’ll be Election Day – a time when we come together as a people to find out if the polls were accurate.

We expect our candidates to know the issues, to speak well and look presentable. It is not necessarily important that a candidate bathe regularly. This may explain the surprising landslide victory of state representative Felix “Stinky” Muldoon last election. It’s also perhaps why several of the legislature’s meetings were held outdoors last session.

I’ve never run for public office, except when I was elected class president in the 8th grade. Only some overdue library books, cheating on a math test, and a bit of vandalism prevented me from serving out my full term.

If you are a candidate for state or local office, here are some free tips. Take them for what they are worth:

— Get yourself some grizzled campaign advisors – the grizzlier the better. Do whatever they say, unless they ask you to eat more starchy foods.

— If you run any TV ads, you must wear a hard-hat in at least one of them. It would be best if you were standing alongside other people with hard-hats too, such as at a factory or worksite. Or a TV studio that is made to look like a factory or worksite, where the lighting is better.

— Safety goggles are a good idea too – especially cool-looking ones that look like a pair of ultra-hip eyeglasses.

— In your second TV ad, feature yourself standing around talking to senior citizens. Appear to be interested in them. However, if you can only afford to do one TV ad, be sure to wear a hard-hat while talking to those seniors. It’s a “two birds with one stone” approach.

— If you’re doing any ads where you attack your opponent, it is best not to show yourself actually attacking him/her – especially with a sharp object. This could make you look unhinged.

— A better approach is to use actual video footage of your opponent, but shown in slow motion, black-and-white – and looking really grainy. This will make him/her look unhinged.

— The slow motion, black-and-white, grainy style does not work as effectively in radio ads, experts say.

— If you use an opponent’s actual spoken words in your ads, it’s important to take those words out of context. Remember, you only have 30 seconds – there’s no time for context.

— If you can’t afford many TV ads, don’t sweat it. If running lots of TV ads were so crucial, the woman in all those Sleep Country commercials would be elected.

— When you are giving campaign speeches, remind your audience that you need their support. Point out that “support” is just another way of saying “money.” If you can get enough voters to give you their support/money, you won’t have to use your own support/money.

— Voters are looking for strong candidates, so you should try to be one. Get a gym membership and start working out regularly. Focus on the upper body primarily – after all, voters can’t see the bottom part of you when you’re standing behind a podium.

— And finally, remember that while some voters call themselves independents – many of them actually have a party preference. And the party they prefer is usually the kind that offers tasty hors d’oeuvres – and free liquor.

— But on election night, if the results show that you have lost your race – be gracious, tolerant and classy in your concession speech.

Then, after you’ve left the stage, grab your grizzled campaign advisors and tear them apart with your bare hands.

Good luck.