"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry S. Truman
It’s crunch time for political consultants stateside as most of the hard work is already well underway. A couple of weeks out from primary elections in Alaska, Political Director Zachary Freeman has his goals set.
Working with providing his candidates with excellent resources so they can help conservative values move to the top of the field in the upcoming primaries is already in motion. We were lucky to catch Zach for a quick chat during the week and find out why he does what he does and more importantly, why he cares so damn much!
Why did you get into the field of politics and more specifically, political consultancy?
I've always been fascinated by people who complain about their situation but choose to do nothing about it. I suppose I found my way into this field because I was so greatly offended by apathy. Call me idealistic, but I think we, as people, have a responsibility to be good stewards of authority, and to go to battle and win for the ideas that we believe will move society down the right path. Every day, I get to deliver tools and strategies to brilliant, authentic men and women in their quest for public service, and that's an honor for me. Plus, I'm intensely competitive, so winning is always nice.
Can you tell us about any campaigns that have inspired you over the last number of years, either from the US or abroad?
Campaigning really is a sport and, at least for geeks like me, if you can look at it objectively, you'll learn a lot. For example, objectively, Bernie Sanders' grassroots campaign for President was probably one of the most impressive operations in American political history. They built and energized a base of people (that would have otherwise been a relatively unmotivated group of voters) by picking up hundreds of thousands of tiny micro-donations. Honestly, I wouldn't have voted for him, but Bernie deserved to win the nomination because he outplayed his opponent. And on the other side, say what you want about the man and his policies, but I actually think Donald Trump is one of the most brilliant tacticians I've ever seen. His talent for staying on message and for getting under the skin of his political opponents is awe-inspiring. People think he's a stupid moron, but I couldn't disagree more -- no idiot I've ever met has the smarts to upend an entire political dynasty and media establishment with a phrase as simple as, "Make America Great Again."
We are already over half way through 2018, has there been many learnings for you so far?
I think I learn about a hundred new things every day, and I need that. I show up every day wanting to get better at my job, and wanting to be better at this craft. This year has been a good reminder that, although technology and data help us greatly, there still isn't a substitute for hard work -- and it's okay to expect that of candidates. I don't mind taking a loss for you if you left it all out on the field (pardon the persistent sports analogies).
You work a lot with candidates in Alaska, has anyone in particular made you excited ahead of the primaries in August?
Obviously I'm pretty thrilled about our slate of candidates because I see how hard they're working behind the scenes (even if no one else sees it). Of course, politics is one of those realms where you can do everything right and still lose -- or the opposite -- but it's especially enjoyable when candidates who aren't supposed to win pull out a victory. Of the candidates I've had the chance to work with or observe this year, I've been really impressed with their ability to connect with voters as underdogs.
Huge thanks to Zach for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions, it's always refreshing to see political operatives talk about the reality of modern campaigns and recognize that there is no replacement for hard work. We'll definitley be keeping an eye on what happens in the Alaskan primaries in August and wish him and his candidates all the best.
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