Political Climate and Ground

User bernd.schwieren asks:

Gary, in a political competition, how would you define ground and climate?

The ground is where you fight and what you fight for. It is the source of all resources. In an election, this means that it the support of the electorate (financial and otherwise) and, in the end, their votes. As Sun Tzu said, the ground can be divided in an infinite number of ways and Sun Tzu's strategy is probably 80% about ways of finding leverage on the ground.

The climate describes the trends of change. Since climate is always associated the ground, in politics, climate is the change in the feelings and emotions of the electorate since it is their emotions that leads to their actions. The emphasis on the idea that change comes in cycles, where reaching one extreme naturally creates its opposite. There are long-term and short term cycles of change. In politics, the feeling of the electorate swings back and forth between favoring different parties, and, more generally, political philosophies.

The most common mistake in politics, as I have written about extensively, is thinking of the ground as issues and positions as where you stand on issues. Few people vote on issues, but on generally where a politicians stand, but politicians gravitate toward issues because it allows them to obfuscate their general positions.

The most common climate mistakes in politics is to think feelings as static or as continuing in the direction that they have in the past. The fact of climate is that it always changes and, at the extremes, always reverses itself.