The Leesburg Diagram is a strategy tool used to visualize and identify the contrasting positions your campaign might have versus a specific opponent. We felt it was such a powerful concept that we created our own version of this tool and added it free to every political Patriot account!
To understand how this could benefit your campaign, we have created a simple example below.
Example for the 2004 Presidential election.
For this very brief example, we will look back to the 2004 presidential election. Of course, viewing an election like this in hindsight seems a bit obvious, but it didn't appear that way when it was in the process of being determined.
What Bush wants people to think about Bush
- Honorable military service history
- Intelligent and graduate honors
- Wants to keep taxes low
- Man of God
What Bush wants people to think about Kerry
- Kerry is stiff
- Kerry is ultra-wealthy
- His wife is rude
- Lied about his war service
What Kerry wants people to think about Bush
- AWOL from his service
- Bush is an idiot
- Bush is ultra religious
- Bush can't tackle tough issues
What Kerry wants people to think about Kerry
- Decorated war hero
- Decorated war hero!!
- Married to a powerful woman
- Wants low taxes for the poor
We can clearly see there are many things that each side will try and use as a point of strength, such as a war record or growth in the economy.
For example, "finding" documents about Bush going AWOL from his military duty and getting them broadcast would close issue #1 and eliminate it from being used as a point of strength. This is very similar to what occurred with the Swift Boat Veterans, in that an outside organization eliminated a point of strength without the candidate having to do it himself. However, as it was later discovered these documents might have been forged, which places this back on the plus side for the Bush campaign. It is much easier to see the campaign from this angle, along with which points must be closed to neutralize a significant strength.
So, the goal here is to cover, or "close" each item where you are weak, and your opponent is strong. You can easily forecast these salvos if you visualize them in this manner. If we know Bush might look to the economy for strength, one could collect "selective" economic data that shows the economy isn't doing well because of the Bush tax-cuts for the rich. This might eliminate a possible pillar of strength before the candidate has even thought of it!
Your election will have points that your opponent plans to make, and you need to be aware of the strategy in the statements. Perhaps you can identify them before they do. Consider each item from several standpoints:
- Does it hurt any of your good points?
- Did it create a new position of strength?
- Does it uncover an already covered point?
- Does your opponent even have a point?
Leaving issues open creates a positive with the majority of undecided voters, so it is a solid plan to get them all covered as soon as possible. Where this really gets interesting is when you're covering points faster than the opponent can create them. This puts them "behind the eight ball," and they never seem to create their own ideas; they only respond to yours. To summarize, each ''square'' shows which items are your strengths and you can easily contrast items that you can expect to be ''accused'' of. These strengths are likely to become key parts of your message. Since Patriot allows you to create a Leesburg Grid diagram for each opponent, you can easily set a strategy for your message and keep it updated. Don't forget, this feature comes free with the system.