BEWARE THE CANDIDATE “BUBBLE:" WHAT IT IS & HOW TO AVOID IT
The popular TV show "30 Rock," introduced us to the concept of a 'Handsome Guy bubble.' In spite of his being inept at most things, Liz Lemon's boyfriend Dr. Drew was able to sail through life because of his good looks. He lived in a bubble in which no one told him the truth.
The same concept applies to many candidates. They think that everyone they meet is a supporter, or that they can go off message and still sound viable or that they are so loved that no one would ever care about their past. They think that their victory is inevitable and therefore don’t put in the necessary hard work.
This is usually a result of ego and narcissism but often times it is boosted by the demographics of the district. A prime example is the 2010 Senatorial special election in Massachusetts. The seat was open due to Ted Kennedy’s passing. He had held it for 47 years and the Democrats all assumed any candidate with a D next to his or her name would be able to ride Kennedy's legacy and win handily.
Unfortunately, Martha Coakley turned out to be a very weak candidate (one of her biggest gaffes was saying a Red Sox pitcher who had criticized her was just “another Yankees fan” – a capital offense in MA). Scott Brown was a very likable, relatable, moderate with broad appeal in all areas of the state. Coakley lost because she lived in the “My victory is a foregone conclusion” bubble.
Don’t become a candidate that lives in a bubble of self-love and perceived adoration. Combat it early by doing an honest assessment of your motives for running. It saves time, frustration and disappointment for you, your staff and supporters. If you think you are “living in a bubble” have a candid conversation with friends and family about your viability in the election.
A “reality check” where you explore poll numbers, op-eds, and anecdotes of overall opinion can bring to light a point of view you had not considered before. It is a difficult discussion you should have with people you trust to be honest with you. It is hard to face up to the possibility that you are not winning the popularity contest, but in the end it will be better for you, your family, and your reputation.