Campaign Strategy — Bill Weld

Tony Plasencia
16 min readJun 5, 2020


Memo: Bill Weld 2020 Presidential Campaign

To: William Weld

From: Efren Plasencia

Re: How we will challenge Donald Trump and win the 2020 Republican Nomination?

(Written 02/20 before end of Campaign on 03/20 & Revised in 06/20)

As the Former Massachusetts Governor you understand the importance of a strong and effective campaign but challenging a sitting President is nearly impossible. While, Donald Trump has a firm hold on the Republican Party both Democrat and Independent voters are split but the overall message is anybody but Donald Trump. Seeing that you ran as a Libertarian with Gary Johnson in 2016, I advise that you take an ideological approach in order to win voters from not only Democrats but Republicans and Independents alike. Through elements of Political Psychology such as Affective Intelligence and its effects on Voter attitudes and Political Judgment, Moral Politics, and usage of the Libertarian Manifesto we will effectively be able to create a campaign that will compete in this election.

To begin with my advisement, I must state the obvious and say that you will be facing a tall task but I will do my best to advise your campaign with Reviewed and Psychological work. To begin, I will like to outline our biggest Challenges, by doing so we will be able to move forward with our Campaign and plan more effectively. The biggest challenge we face is how to advance the GOP from the ‘party of Trump’ to the ‘party of the American People’, but this should not be priority 1 as it is out of our Control. As a former Politician, t you will have a reprataure and possibly a long-standing supporting which will be instrumental in propelling the Campaign. As you have stated earlier in recent Interviews with Politico, you have established targeted populations such individuals who identify as ‘Independent’ , Gen Xers, Millennials, Young Republicans and Suburban Women. You mention, ‘running a campaign based on the Rule of Law, here at home and abroad’, with this in mind, my advisement will incorporate your Campaign outlook and psychological work to supplement your targets. I will also be dispelling the theory of Socialization which others may suggest.. Continuing, I would like to express the climate and difference which this election is sure to Portray, this election is detrimental in an effort to salvage the Democratic ideals that have withheld the United States.

I will layout the theory of Affective Intelligence, which makes a connection between Political Judgment and Voting. I must lay out how I will structure this advisement: I will first expand and describe the theory which I believe is superior & then advise you on a recommended course of action to relay this theory within our campaign. Affective Intelligence explains the relation between emotions specifically Enthusiasm and Fear and how they may affect an Individual’s Voting behavior. Ted Brader from the University of Michigan, has tested this theory by subjecting individuals to viewing Political Ads in a controlled setting. Affective Intelligence is said to be played out within the Limbic region, the common conception in the field of Politics is to dispel the role of emotions by engaging in a ‘think-first-feel-second’ type of attitude. This is where emotions are to be in the trunk of the behaviour. Yet this has been challenged by Marcus,Neuman, and Mckean in their book, Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment, where they introduce both the Disposition and Surveillance System. The Disposition system governs behavior by monitoring positive reinforcers and establishing qualities. I will refer to disposition as ‘habit’, these habits are essential in our day to day lives but for our purpose especially in Voting. The Disposition system controls habits through analyzing one’s self-emotions, ie: fluctuation in your mood from sad to happy, this elation in mood contributes to the motivation that one may feel for actions such as Voting. As long as an individual has a habit and finds no necessity to change it, they will rely on it.Through life the disposition system grows such as our behavior repertoire goes- our ability to deal with situations in life. I suggest to the think of it as our Emotional Report Card. The Surveillance System, which on the other hands scans for any intrusion of threat and uses emotion to signal an appropriate response. An onset of increased anxiety stops ongoing activity and redirects attention to threat so learning can happen and this is the essence of Political judgement. Both of these systems operate on a subconscious level and are active processing systems for information, this is important as we will aim to hone in on these systems through our use of Advertisements — radio, newspapers and Youtube advertisements.

The reason I suggest the former is that Ted Brader in his paper, How Political Ads Motivate and Persuade Voters by Appealing to Emotions (2005), found the following, that when ‘running’ an ad with curbed enthusiasm there was a statistically significant mode that it reaffirmed preexisting beliefs with a p value of p>0.01. Furthermore, he continued to find when ‘running’ an ad with fear, there was a statistically significant mode in which these ads are much more effective at persuading voters with a p-value of — p< 0.001. These type of ads had people recalling related news to the Campaign and Politics. These findings serve us for two purposes as we use enthusiastic advertisements to gain voters who are Republicans, in effort to dent Donald Trump’s stronghold on the Republican Party. We will also be using Fear advertisements to entice the voters who Identify as ‘Independents’ & sweep up the loose ends of both Parties. I will now begin to expand on my Ad Plans/Marketing.

Various methods arise that we may use such as Newspaper ads, Radio interviews, Television commercials, Youtube videos and even Social Media. But for our purpose I will focus and portray 3 mediums we may explore on using, I advise that we use Radio Interviews, TV commercials and Youtube videos. Each one of these mediums will be used to relay different messages and gather support throughout different factions of the voting population. As you have stated before in your interview with Politico, you wish to reach to Millennials and Gen Xers which is why I suggest creating a Youtube channel. Since 2015, people have clocked 110 millions hours worth of streaming on political matter, this is 100x more than all the major networks combined (CNN,CSNBC,Fox). Your Youtube channel should be our main mode of communication for young cohort. Youtube gives you a unique function as your ‘agenda builder’ in which you can upload Town Hall discussions, Day to Day Work, debates and behind-the-scene footage. Though this does not correlate with Affective Intelligence in the immediate time it will help us in our collaborative effort to shift Voter Judgement. By uploading the latter material, you will have created a spectrum that allows for different levels of information to be distributed among many factions of the Population. Furthermore, this creates a sense of Transparency amongst potential supporters which is a break in the cycle, by using Youtube we will be able to create and encourage ‘deliberate discussion which will then strengthen the public’s political efficacy’ (Lachrystal 2014). We should begin by creating video which Introduce yourself to the General population. After a general Introduction, this is where we begin to affect our plan of Affective Intelligence I advise that we attack the Disposition system which deals with emotions such as hope,enthusiasm and pride, your history as a Libertarian gives you an advantage as a more socially-progressive candidate which convenitelly is running as Republican. By conveying your liberal views on Civil Rights and Crime in Youtube videos which introduce your views , such as on Abortion, your pro-choice would relay well with younger Republicans. In loom of the Alabama Abortion legislation, many see the GOP as a Moral evil and by standing as a tangent we are able to gain Independent . These ads are intended to relay a sense of enthusiasm in the future of Politics and give hope to Young voters that there is a beacon of progress and change within the Republican Party. Furthermore, these ads should connect to the habitual sense of individuals and should relay to they socially liberal tendency. With regard to Political Party and an opposing view, we will be able to tap into habitual behavior and shift from Party Partisanship to Issue partisanship. You are a large advocate for medicalization of Marijuana and I urge you to switch to Recreational legalization as this would potentially give rise in support and coverage. This is a medium which we will explore for Advertising and will rely heavily on our analyzation of the disposition. Affective Intelligence will be our overarching theory in our attempt of Campaign advertisements.

To continue, I would like to introduce the work known as the Libertarian Manifesto, an Introduction to the Libertarian ideology in which will be useful to create a source of Identity while using it as a ‘recruiting tool’ in parallel. I advise that we use this work in our TV Ads- The Libertarian ideology is an extension of Classical Liberalism movement of the Western World , from the English revolution which took hold here in the United States. The Libertarian Creed revolves around one central axiom : no person or group of people may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This is referred to as the Non-aggression Axiom and will be a point of emphasis in our campaign. Libertarian advocates of a strictly minimal state are to be distinguished from two closely related groups, who favor a smaller or greater role for government, “ On one hand are so-called anarcho-capitalists who believe that even the minimal state is too large, and that a proper respect for individual rights.” ( Zwolinski 2016). The understanding of the Libertarian Party is minimal in the United States and this will be an opportunity to make a splash and inform the population of the party’s beliefs and ideas, much like in the 2016 Run with Gary Johnson. The Non Aggression Axiom will be essential to our message with this ideology because it will give us another outlet in which we can critique President Trump. Now I must clarify Aggression for our use as defined by Rothbard, “ the intimidation or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else”, with this in mind I must state that this is not only applicable to Property but is also applied to personal behavior of private citizens but also to the state and their agents. We are now able to continue on our Advertising efforts by diving into a new medium, Television. Instead of compelling to the Disposition System, we will be taking advantage of the Surveillance System. Since the election of Donald Trump, there has been a rise in opposition demonstration and clear distaste for the President, his administration , beliefs and policy. If we zero in on this, we will be able to ride the momentum of the distaste for the President. We will have an opportunity to raise both Anxiety and Fear we will be able to cast-away both Republican and Democrat voters from their habitual behavior. By centering our ad’s around the Social Division created by this administration, alleged infringement on Minority rights , and Tyrannical image we will create a strong force. I will now begin to paint an example of an ad and how it will effect and Individuals voting choice by connecting to the Surveillance System.

In order to produce the emotions we wish to convey we must take into account Theatrical characteristic such as, setting unpleasant music that will portray the negativity right away to a viewer. Furthermore, for us to be most effective we must portray effectively one of Donald Trump’s most unpleasant actions, the Separation of Families at the Border. This will be the scenario which we will depict in an Advertisement and by using the Non-Aggression Axiom we will aime to convey his Aggressive nature in Governance. This ad should not stop at only portraying the Migrants but further speculate the possibility of another 4 years of a Trump Presidency and what that will mean for both social structure and operation. Speculation and Advancement to a theory of complete Tyranny through this Administration may further our efforts because this will create an immense amount of Fear. Though, I do believe our opponents on the Democratic side will be proposing a similar advertisement, I believe that our Libertarian message will actually supersede in the mind of the voters. Creating an advertisement that raises fear and anxiety, voters will be intrigued to gather information on you and your campaign. By creating this cycle, many voters will be able to learn the Libertarian stance on issues such as, an openness to immigration, an embrace of equal rights for gay, lesbian, and transgender persons, a hostility toward the war on drugs and American militarism abroad, and support for women’s reproductive rights. This will severely serve our purpose as many Libertarian stances are more liberal than an average Democrats. This problem was at the forefront in the 2016 Election, as yourself and Gary Johnson were able to appeal to Democratic voters, specifically Hillary Clinton supporters and I believe this will be the case again. By conveying an Advertisement of this nature, we will be directly affecting the Surveillance System. The surveillance System operates solely to recognize any threats to our well-being. Thes subconscious will read and process our message as threat to our individual well-being but also social well-being. Portraying a message that has a sense of unfamiliarity will then require more attentiveness to the issue and once this has begun, we have achieved our result for these reasons: An anxious or fearful voter will not rely on habit, which means that mindless partisanship will not equal a vote. A democrat will not vote democrat if they are in a fearful anxious state and this is where we will want many of our potential voters to be. Furthermore, an anxious voter will not rely on a previous habits and will be susceptible to Persuasion. Our goal with the Libertarian Manifesto, is to create a separate Identity and Party preference for voters in the mainstream. This Libertarian Ideology should be able to cannibalize ‘loose-leaf’ voters on both sides of the Political Spectrum by attacking their fear and unconscious worries. If we are effective in our attempts then we will be able to revive a Libertarian movement with a supporting Faction but also transform those uncertain voters into our loyal supporters. For our purpose, I will not focus on the Morality aspect of this Theory as I have another for that goal.

The final work which I propose to be used in our Advertising efforts is George Lakoff’s, Moral Politics, and this will be conveyed through the medium of Radio Interviews. In the book, the metaphor of Strict Father Morality arises which is the path of Morality in which many Republican voters identify with and have been brought up with. My objective is to test this moral mode and use it against Republican voters by depiting Donald Trump as a moral deviant.The Strict father morality is a large concept but I will like to focus our message around three central theories ; Moral Order , Moral Essence, and Moral Wholeness. Moral Order can be understood simply as Natural Order which would explain that God is more powerful than people. Moral Essence is a central notion of Strict Father ‘character’ and states that individuals develop Moral properties throughout life and these compromise their character. Moral Wholeness combines with Moral Essence to create Integrity, and this constitutes the concept of Wholeness, that an individual must have homogeneity and not be a deviant. Our version of Interviews will be mediated differently, I suggest that we join in on popular Podcasts to relay our messages to the population. To begin, I would suggest we join the Joe Rogan Podcast which is the most popular Podcast in the world and now we begin our objective. Using these mediums to critique the President and like you do ,very harshly. I’ll like to quote ya, “ “We want a government of laws and not of men,“Donald Trump wants a government of caprice and a cult of personality, and everyone responding to him, and loyal to him, and not to the law. That is criminal conduct and it is impeachable conduct.”. I believe messages of this nature will be essential in fathering attention in our favor. Yet I suggest we take it even a step farther which would be to infer that Donald Trump’s style of governance, previous policy implementations and rhetoric makes him incapable of being in Power.

To begin, I will outlay how a message may be conveyed around ‘Moral Order’, by stating that Donald Trump as a threat to the Natural Order we should be able to create emotions of Anxiety among identified Republicans, by stating that his Tyrannical mode of power is a direct threat to the Foundation of Democratic ideas here in the United States. I would also go as far to state that more than 89% of Republicans support Trump meaning that his Influence is resemblance of a Monarchy and once again defies the ideals of the Constitution. Our messages using Moral as Essence will be attacks on Character, which you are already very fond of. Since the beginning of his Presidency, there has been a massive distaste for Republican ideology and the Republican identity, we must hone in on this . By creating Donald Trump as the evil and relaying it to Republicans as he is blame for this distaste , misunderstanding and blatant hate. This is an alert to the Surveillance System and rush emotions of both Fear and Anxiety,a voter operating under these emotions will not rely on Habit. By invoking this image to the mass and supporters alike- we should be able successfully persuade his supporters to consider/support our Campaign. I offer a very different approach to attack his character- I advise that we question his Tax Returns. This message we will use to resonate to the blue-collar faction of his supporters, by creating the image of the President as another Elite we should be able to raise distaste. Our message should loosely be as followed, “ As a Hard-working American, you are forced to pay your Taxes and complete your American duty. But your Leader does not have the Integrity to show that he too is a Hard Working leader that abides and completes his American duties”. Questioning his authority as a Leader should not be our sole attack but rather a series of attacks on his Integrity to his ‘humble following’. This theory of Moral Politics is to directly coincide with Affective Intelligence by falling into Ted Brader’s finding,‘ what makes individuals anxious depends on the habits they have acquired and their priority of stopping Moral degradation.

Others believe Socialization could be effective in your campaign. This refers, “ to the process where individual acquire their personal system properties — the knowledge,skills, attitudes,values needs and motivations, cognitive,affective and conative patterns- which shape their adaptation to the physical socio cultural setting in which they live.” (Sapiro 1994, Inkeles 1969, pp. 615–616). This conceptualizes Political life as a process of growth, which begins in Childhood and carries throughout Adulthood. It states that a set of foundational beliefs are set at childhood and throughout life that different orientations arise at different times, and this may shift depending on the trajectory of an individual’s life. Inkeles, would also go as far to argue that the level of Political socialization and Socialization in general can be attributed to varying levels of Education. Socialization requires that an Individual be fond of gathering Information but also that any individual be able to complete what their society has asked of them with their skills. I believe that this theory will not provide success in this election for a few reasons. I believe that this creates more of division amongst our voters by profiling them into different level of capacities. By having multi-lateral messages which convey different messages to different factions would portray us equally as discriminatory as the administration of the President. Furthermore, I see no viable use within our Campaign motives, by focusing heavily on Ad’s, we are able to compel and evoke different emotions from within the population. Also, when Sapiro conducted an Empirical Study on Life Course Sources and Women Egalitarianism, ⅘ Variables related a statistically insignificant relationship with Children being the only statistically viable option. I believe that this theory does not provide us any viable information to target new voters and effectively challenged President Donald Trump.

I have now reached the conclusion of my advisement and I would like to begin by saying, Thank You for taking the time to read my advisement and I am excited to hear your response and thoughts. As I have stated before, this election is detrimental to keeping alive the Democratic Ideals which have founded the United States and allowed for us to rise to Prominence. For the 3 years that Donald Trump has been President, there has been countless moral and political regulations that have been broken at the expense of the American Vote. We must focus our attention on creating Donald Trump as the victim of this Election, the popular motto, ‘ Anybody but Trump’ should be our focus and motto. By evoking a multitude of fears such as enthusiasm, happiness, fear and anxiety, we will be able change the habitual behavior of American voters but will also be able to rile up a following and resonate with Habit. Through our use of Affective Intelligence in our Advertisements, we will be a very vocal and critique full campaign that will be but a parasite in the eyes of Trump and the GOP Party. With a Libertarian message, we will be able to create a third outlet for Voter’s to identify with by effectively being able to narrow down and target our ‘loose-leaf voters’. Furthermore, this type of Identity/Message is important because it is our main way of stealing votes from the Democratic Party. Finally, by portraying Donald Trump as a moral deviant, we will effectively turn Millions of his followers against him because we will have made it seem that he breaks the Strict Father Morality. I believe that there is a chance to win this Nomination but I only believe that the use of Political Psychology and Advertisement will be our pathway to success.

Alphabetical References

  • Brader, Ted. “Striking a Responsive Chord: How Political Ads Motivate and Persuade Voters by Appealing to Emotions.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 49, no. 2, 2005, pp. 388–405.
  • Inkeles, Alex (1966) Social Structure and the Socialization of Competence. Harvard Educational Review: September 1966, Vol. 36, №3, pp. 265–283
  • Koechlin, Elisabeth, « Lachrystal D. Ricke, The Impact Of YouTube On U.S. Politics », InMedia 2018, mis en ligne le 20 décembre 2018,
  • Lakoff, G. (1995). Metaphor, morality, and politics, or, why conservatives have left liberals in the dust. Social Research, 62(2), 177.
  • Marcus,Neuman, and McKuen’s (2000) Affective Intelligence
  • Rothbard, Murray N. 19865. “For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto.” : 3–25.
  • Ridout, Travis N., and Kathleen Searles. “It’s My Campaign I’ll Cry If I Want to: How and When Campaigns Use Emotional Appeals.” Political Psychology, vol. 32, no. 3, 2011, pp. 439–458.
  • Sapiro, Virginia. (1994). Political Socialization During Adulthood: Clarifying the Political Time of Our Lives. Micropolitics: New Directions in Political Psychology.
  • Zwolinski, Matt. 2016. “The Libertarian Non Aggression Principle.” Social Philosophy and Policy 32(02): 62–90.



Tony Plasencia

Recent SFSU grad in Political Science. 4 years of tech experience in Silicon Valley & keen to possibilities of Big Tech and AI in our public Sector