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Building Blocks
For Candidates

How to Build a Campaign Platform as an Independent

2 min read
Building Blocks
Good Party Politics Team · Feb 26, 2024

“You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” ~ Mario Cuomo

Making the decision to run for office as an independent is the first step for many prospective public servants. The hard part is defining what your campaign is about and translating that into a compelling message that resonates with voters. 

Crafting a solid campaign platform is crucial for any candidate, but it’s especially important for independents who are embarking on their political journey. Our goal is to provide a detailed guide on how to build a campaign platform that not only encapsulates your vision but also resonates with voters. 

Read on as we delve into the process of identifying core issues and presenting solutions. We’ll also highlight examples of successful independent candidates who have leveraged their platforms to create winning campaigns.

Understanding Campaign Platforms

A campaign platform is a collection of policies and positions your campaign supports. They’re often visualized or conveyed as a structure that’s composed of various planks, each detailing your stance on an important issue of concern for voters. Together, these ideas and policy positions create a cohesive whole that is your campaign platform. 

How your platform is constructed and presented outlines your priorities. Done right, it shows constituents exactly what you stand for and how you intend to address their concerns when you’re elected. Think of it as a roadmap that demonstrates the path from policy ideas to implementation.

For independent candidates, whose campaigns are often grassroots-supported and policy-driven, presenting a clear and concise platform is vital if they want to distinguish themselves in a crowded political field.


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Identifying Core Issues

Whether your candidacy is the result of dissatisfaction over a specific problem in your local community or a more generalized discontent with politics as usual, it’s important to drill down on your priorities and form them into concrete policy positions. 

What’s most important to you and the people in your community, and what are you going to do about it when you’re elected?

Once you have that in hand, the rest is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Research and Listen: Begin by researching the most pressing issues within your community. Engage with community leaders, conduct surveys, and participate in local forums to understand the needs and concerns of the voters.

  2. Prioritize: Not every issue can be a top priority. Aim to identify three to five key areas where you believe change is most needed and where you can make a significant impact. Consider factors such as the urgency of the issue, your personal passion and expertise, and the potential for positive change.

  3. Differentiate: As an independent candidate, your unique perspective and freedom are your strengths. Look for issues or angles that are underrepresented by traditional party candidates. This distinction will help your platform stand out and attract voters who are seeking fresh approaches to persistent problems.

Crafting Your Message

According to author Craig D. Lounsbrough, the problem with most ideas is lack of substance. To paraphrase his words, they’re like paper plates that people try to sell as fine china. They might be pretty and seem serviceable, but they’re empty either way. 

In order to avoid campaigning on empty words and promises, it’s important that your message is solution-oriented and constructed with:

  1. Brevity and Clarity: Your platform should communicate your policies and positions clearly and concisely. Avoid jargon and overly complex explanations. The goal is to make your platform accessible and understandable to all voters.

  2. Actionable Proposals: Each issue on your platform should be paired with a proposed solution or set of actions you plan to take. Be specific about your plans but realistic about what can be achieved. 

  3. Consistency and Authenticity: Ensure that your platform reflects your values and beliefs consistently across all issues. Voters are drawn to candidates who are genuine and whose platforms are a true reflection of their convictions.

Engaging with Voters

Once  the particulars are in place and your campaign issues are defined, you need to present them to voters in a manner that’s engaging, persuasive, and memorable come election day. 

Begin by utilizing a variety of channels to share your platform with voters. Social media, town hall meetings, debates, and direct mail are effective ways to reach different segments of your constituency.

Be open to feedback from voters and be willing to refine and adapt your platform as necessary. The ability to listen and evolve your positions based on voters’ needs can strengthen your campaign and broaden your appeal.

Building a campaign platform as an independent candidate requires a deep understanding of your constituency and a clear articulation of your policies. When paired with a genuine commitment to addressing the needs of your community, you’ll  stand out from the crowd of political hopefuls spouting generic party lines.

By focusing on core issues, presenting clear, solution-oriented policies, and engaging authentically with voters, independent candidates can craft compelling platforms that resonate with voters.

Case Studies: Successful Campaign Platforms

It’s easy to talk about campaign platforms in subjective terms. It’s much more effective and easy to develop your own platform when you have real-life examples of successful indie campaigns. Note how these two Good Party certified candidates took policy proposals to the people in a manner that was relatable and compelling:

Terry Vo for Nashville 

Terry Vo's campaign platform, accessible at Terry Vo for Nashville, is a prime example of a well-constructed campaign platform. While running for a seat on Nashville, Tennessee’s city council, Vo focused on key issues such as affordable housing, education, and public safety, offering clear, detailed policies that addressed the concerns of Nashville residents. 

Vo's success can partly be attributed to a platform that was both specific to local needs and reflective of broader societal concerns, demonstrating the power of a well-targeted campaign message.

Marty Grohman for Mayor

During his campaign for the mayor’s office in Biddeford, Maine, Marty Grohman's platform showcased a strong commitment to sustainability, economic development, and community engagement. Grohman's emphasis on practical, locally-focused solutions, combined with his extensive engagement with constituents, served as a solid foundation for his campaign's success. 

His campaign website featured a catchy slogan at the top and outlined his priorities in a list on the first page. His platform's focus on actionable policies that resonate with the community's values exemplifies how independent candidates can effectively connect with voters.

These examples underscore the effectiveness of well-developed platforms in achieving electoral success. Terry Vo and Marty Grohman demonstrate that with a clear vision, detailed policies, and robust community engagement, independent candidates can make a significant impact on the political landscape.

Build Your Campaign Platform Today

As you embark on your campaign journey, remember that your platform is more than a list of policies. It's also a reflection of your vision for the future and a contract with the voters you hope to represent. 

With dedication, authenticity, and a focus on what truly matters to your constituents, you can build a platform that not only wins elections but also makes a lasting difference in your community.

Good Party can help with that. 

Our resources and planning expertise will help you at every step of your campaign from consideration to launch and beyond. We offer more than 50 years of combined campaign experience. 

Join the 200+ candidates campaigning this year with Good Party support and book a demo today!


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Independent Candidates
How to Run for Office
Campaign Messaging
Building Blocks
By Good Party Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.