The Democratic Primaries and Choosing the Right Battleground

Currently, the Democratic primary battle provides us a great example of the strategic necessity of picking the right battleground. In Sun Tzu’s system, the one thing we can control is where we fight our battles. Choice of the proper battleground arises from a good analysis of our relative strengths using the key five factors—philosophy, heaven (uncontrollable change), ground (position), leadership, and organization (methods). Using this analysis, Kerry has the advantage in ground—leading in the polls—and organization, having the most money and organizers. Edwards has the advantage in philosophy—his two America’s vision—and leadership, being a better looking guy and good speaker. So why has Kerry agreed to face Edward one on one of The Week on ABC? Why has Kerry agreed to a series of debates before Super Tuesday? In doing so, Kerry has chosen a battleground where neither his money nor his positions offer an advantage. These venues are free to Edwards and, as the front-runner, Kerry will be harder pressed by the media and opponents. He is giving Edwards a chance, when he doesn’t have to. He should have minimized his personal exposure to free media to assure himself of victory. He should have used advertising and feet on the street to make his point. Will this be a fatal error? We shall see in the next week or so.