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Hello, my DKos friends!  I haven't written here about my campaign recently, partly because I'm too busy dealing with work, with the violent situation in Anaheim (within my district!), with various local races and statewide propositions, with becoming a pretty well-read local blogger here in Orange County CA -- and with my own off-line campaigning, of course!  If you want to find out more about what I'm running for and why, check out my diairies HERE (announcement), HERE (thanks to contributors), and HERE.

Yes, your contributions, ideally through ActBlue, are still welcome; I have a ballot statement due next week that will cost me almost $6000.  I'll have a bleg up soon.  Today, I want to ask you about something different: the postcard that may be (unless I'm fooling my opponent by posting it here) my main mailer in this upcoming campaign.

I'd like your critique -- in the comments.  Go ahead and be brutal.  (Also please be critical of other people's comments with which you disagree -- but please, not brutally.)

My draft postcard is below the fold -- and then I'll reveal my big postcard strategy.  Please feel welcome to critique that as well.  (Note: a critique can be positive, of course!)

A reminder: the "♦" at the front of the title means that this is a diary for my campaign for State Senate, CA-SD-29, not a personal diary or essay.  You can like my Facebook page here.  You can donate here through ActBlue (or send a donation to my campaign's mailing address, on the postcard that follows -- but if you do that please include the answers to the questions on the ActBlue mailing page!)

Diamond Campaign Postcard
Yes, yes -- it's wordy.  As anyone familiar with me here already knows, I'M wordy.  I'm an underdog in this election -- and I've decided that I'm going to run in a way that makes me proud, not necessarily in a way that a consultant would have me run.

This means that I'm going to talk about ideas -- and one of the most important ideas to convey in California right now is that we DON'T need austerity.  We DO need revenue.  We have plenty of ways to increase state revenue that WON'T harm the 99% -- such as a millionaire's tax (in Prop 30, one of the two essential ballot propositions this year, the other being defeating Prop 32), an oil depletion tax (like other oil producing states have), and removing the protections of Prop 13, which was marketed as preserving the low property taxes of individuals, for at least large commercial investment property.

That may not be the best way for me to get elected (or for all I know it may), but I know that people listen to ideas more right around election season and this is how I can reach them with these ideas at a time when it will make the most difference.  I may or may not be a great candidate this year, but I feel like one hell of an activist!

What I don't know is whether and how this card can be improved.  That's what I want to rely on the big, beautiful, throbbing collective mind of DKos to help me think all of this through.  Again, don't pull your punches; I still have this in an editable Photoshop file!

My "Postcards for the Edge" campaign strategy

I'm going to share something else with you here today -- and anyone here who wants to use it can steal it for their own use as well.  (It's not completely new, but it's a little new.)

I want you (and those like you), Dear Reader, to send out postcards for me, with your own personalized campaign messages.  People read handwritten postcards!

As of the primary election, I had about 463,000 voters in my State Senate district (which is a little more than half of the total district population.)  About 163,000 are registered to vote absentee. (These are the people who are most likely to vote.)  About 57,000 of those are Democratic absentee voters  About 34,000 are "No Party Preference" absentee voters.  (About 74,000 are Republican absentee voters, but I don't plan to try to reach them.)

If I can reach those 91,000 Democratic and NPP absentee voters, plus as many non-absentee Dem voters as I can, I'll have done well spreading this anti-austerity message both as an activist and as a candidate.

That, as you may have expected, is where you come in.

Over the next eight weeks, would you be willing to write and mail 100 postcards?

You may wonder: how much would 100 postcards cost?  There are two possible routes:

♦ (1) Smaller orders: you can print 4x6 photos at Costco: 13-14 cents apiece (depending on tax.
♦ (2) Large orders (ideally 5000, if people in an area can jointly organize): about 5 cents sent to you by UPS.
♦ Stamp for mailing them: 32 cents apiece.
♦ Address label sheets for printing off the addresses that I provide you: 2 cents apiece
♦ Ink for writing your personalized message of why they should vote for me: maybe 2 cents.
♦ Your personal message on the cards to voters in an assigned area -- invaluable!
So we're talking about a maximum of 50 cents per mailed postcard -- not counting your valuable time -- or $50 per hundred.  (Of course, you can do fewer if you want -- and your valuable time is going into activism and messaging as much or more as it's going to electioneering!)

Of course, for a large order I'll either ship the postcards (from a union printer) to you send the job to a union printer near you.  (I'm told that unions don't mind the competition from Costco, which matches local union wages and working conditions, bolstering rather than undermining the bargain position of unions.  They do not like competition from Walmart and I won't send any photos there!)

In any event, if you do spend your own money to support my campaign, please notify me of your name, occupation, and the other sort of info you're asked for on the ActBlue website so that my campaign can track it and report it as appropriate.

If you'd like to facilitate other people doing this, just make a donation to me through ActBlue with a $0.50 at the end of the amount and I'll earmark it for this project -- sending a box of stamped and labeled postcards out to people who promise to write out their message and mail them on time.  (Note: if I don't already know you or someone who can vouch for you, I may not want to do this.  Nothing personal; I just don't want to waste my contributors' money.)

I'm looking forward to seeing how well "Postcards for the Edge" can do -- I think it can be a model for a grassroots movement.  What I like most about it is that while it is my printed message they'll see on the front, it is your handwritten message on the back that will really convince them.  I trust you all to do it right.

Interested?  Let's wait until (with your help) I finalize the message -- and then go!  You can write out just a couple of postcards a day, if you want; the mailing date will be in late September or early October.

One other thing: aside from this postcard, consider too that literally hundreds of thousands of voters may read my ballot statement -- which will in part touch on issues relevant to statewide propositions! -- as they figure out how they want to vote.  (Do you think I'm going to pass up such a chance to promote my progressive views to the public and smack around my opponent?  No way!)  So, yes, please do contribute to help pay for it!)

(If you want your contribution to be earmarked for the ballot statement, which is due in about a week, add 60 cents to the contribution to let me know!  Excess donations, if any, will be used for other campaign purposes like rent, snacks for volunteers, and signs.)

P.S. -- YES, my website DOES badly need help from someone more proficient with NationBuilder than I've turned out to be!  Any volunteers?

12:06 PM PT: OK! OK! Uncle!  The first paragraph gets cut!

There's a great suggestion in comments that I essentially open it up for people to help create a postcard.  (And, I might as well add, my sign as well.)  I think that I'll do that tomorrow.

By the way -- I'm still looking for critiques of the overall "postcards for the edge" plan itself, too, as well as of this specific draft postcard!  Thanks, Kosters, you're great (as usual.)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Again: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (22+ / 0-)

    so if other progressive campaigns want to flatter me by imitating what I'm doing here, I will indeed be flattered.  Just think: if I can get 1000 people through Daily Kos to do 100 postcards apiece -- a $50 contribution plus your precious time and ability to write about why we need progressive change -- I'll have covered more than all of the Democratic and independent absentee votes in my district!

    (And my opponent doesn't think I can compete with him -- ha, ha!  People power!)

    Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

    by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 03:30:19 AM PDT

  •  A couple of ideas. (8+ / 0-)

    First, seems the third para should focus on what YOU want to help accomplish, not what "could be done".  Right now it's too generic and doesn't state what you would do.

    Second, perhaps the second para, last sentence, could read "Now we're paying the price for their austerity."

    Hope this helps - good luck!

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:04:37 AM PDT

  •  a few (8+ / 0-)

    my comments.  If anyone disagrees, sorry.

    The 99% may be known here, but not the average voter.

    remove "printed through costco photo."  Viewers tend to go from upper left to lower right when reading.  So an ad is taking the most important spot.

    "I am not paid...." seems like a desperate call. Change to "I am help/ contact me" kind of thing and put lower down in the copy.

    "For years..." could be changed to "special interest groups." Change the focus from raising taxes to those who are getting the benefit.

    I would change "the state is too poor" to make the taxes fair. Remove etc as it does nothing.

    "Learn more" sounds like the oil commercial.  

    Again, my comments.  If anyone disagrees, sorry.

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:05:11 AM PDT

    •  I'll look forward to seeing people's reaction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I really like crowd-sourcing the criticism, even if it may give me a sad.

      I will explain one thing: usually, I would use a union printer and have a union bug -- as will be the case if (as I expect) I print off a large number of cards.  I have union support and they very much want to see this; I can't blame them.

      However, when people want relatively small number of postcards, my choices are either to ship then ones I've had printed with the union bug (which is expensive) or else have them print them off themselves (which is what the Brown for Governor campaign did here.)  In the latter case, I still need to say something about where the card came from.  Saying that it was printed off at the (relatively admirable and pro-social) Costco is a choice that I think I can defend to the unions.

      But, again, if I ship you cards, that will line be omitted in favor of a union bug.  Note that the other campaign-identifying information there is required by state law.

      Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:14:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you are right about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seneca Doane

      this line:

      "I am not paid...." .
      because what you need to do is enlist folks to take up the cause. Something more along the lines of let us join forces to make CA a fair state again. And ditch the bit about the mailer being the only one. If (AND WHEN) you get elected you will be doing a ton more of them!

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 02:24:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Needs work (7+ / 0-)

    Lose the first sentence.  It has an "oh poor me" quality. I had to read the tax sentence several times to get it.  Don't use "etc." The photo is not flattering--looking down at your lower lip, weird angle.

    Suggested rewrite:

    People are hurting and the state is too broke to help. For years, Republicans have starved our state so that the super-rich can avoid paying taxes. Now we are paying the price for pay-for-play politics.

    As your State Senator I will fight to restore revenue to the state budget--the way it was when we had the best schools in the nation and everyone wanted to live here.  I will vote to take away special tax exemptions for high incomes, oil companies, and commercial property.

    I will represent you, not the special interests.  Learn more at

    •  Thanks for the critique! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo, 2laneIA

      All photos of me have problems.  In this one, I'm at least told that I look friendly and relaxed (it's from one of my first dates with my wife when we met 5-1/2 years ago), which is a big contract to my opponent!

      I will suck it up though and ask if others agree with you about the photo! <*sniff*>

      Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:17:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't have a problem with the photo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        You look a whole lot like a good friend of mine so I felt an attachment to you right away. That probably makes me a bad judge, but what the hell :)

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:24:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Get a pro photo n/t (6+ / 0-)

        Well, I been around the world, and I've been in the Washington Zoo. And in all my travels, as the facts unravel, I've found this to be true.... ...they don't give a f^ck about anybody else

        by Zwoof on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:28:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In your case, I'd try a more statesmanlike pose. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane, 2laneIA

        As an underdog, you need to project gravitas, not "approachable bearded fellow." Most voters won't take you seriously unless you project professionalism first and foremost. Only after that threshold is crossed is friendliness a factor. A good professional head-and-shoulders shot of you in a tie (at least) would be preferable.

        Why have you chosen black-and-white for your photo? If this is being printed on an offset press, either go with one color to save money, or go full color. Two-colors (black and that maroon spot color) isn't helpful here, and will cost you more. If you are using a low-end digital press for your output, then go full color.

        Ideally, all Democratic candidates should do their printing at a union shop, which in turn will print the union bug in the bottom corner of the print piece. Going with a non-union shop will foredoom you with many Democratic voters and donors who look for that bug on mailers and other print collateral. And yes, it'll probably cost you more than Costco.

        In terms of formatting, ragged-left text is not attractive, especially when so little white space is left between it and the photo. Silhouetting the photo is not your best option either. A square or rectangular image conveys stability. Either fill the whole upper area with a background image (with bleed) of which your picture on the left is the darkest and most visible portion, or cleanly divide the image from the text area. Leave enough white space between page elements to avoid a crowded feel to the layout.

        Others have critiqued the wording, so I've limited my input to the visuals. I'll make one other point, though - if you are going to distribute these around the Fullerton area, I'd think you'd get a better reach if you also had Spanish and Chinese versions. Again, more expensive, but it's a reality of the district, so I'm just putting it out there.


        "The fundamental curse of the Republican party is its irrepressible disposition to meddle with other people's business, and impose its notions, and its will, on people who do not freely accept them." -- The New York Freeman's Journal, 1861

        by dzog on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 12:16:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe even add some gratuitous flattery (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slowbutsure, Seneca Doane, 2laneIA

      "people are hurting while our great state has been starved by the Republicans and the super rich. We are smart enough to know that pay for play politics is a dead end. We Can Do Better!

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:17:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thought (4+ / 0-)

    Your reference to the 99%. I get it and like it, but is it possible that it might alienate some of your potential voters. It's a loaded term now, positive for some maybe not for others. I don't know about your electorate or area, so take this in the spirit of trying to help.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:11:50 AM PDT

  •  Add a little red, white and blue or stars+stripes (5+ / 0-)

    From a distance your postcard could be from a realtor or dentist.
    Also, you want a stronger font for your name, IMO - something blockier (no wimpy hollow characters)

    I love the text and the entire idea. Good luck, sir!

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:12:39 AM PDT

    •  My signs will be very different (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This isn't meant to be seen from a distance.  I want it to look somewhat home-made.  I'm not going to be able to compete with my opponent on glossy, high-production mailers.  My hope is that when people get it in the mail, most of them will see the handwritten message (or in your case, a cartoon?) first!  ;7)

      The font is the one that I'll be using in the signs; that's why I used it here.  (I do want to make that connection.)  My signs will use a "cut diamond" logo, so I wanted something that seemed appropriate for a jewelry store.

      (If this approach still sounds stupid after that explanation, let me know!)

      Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:23:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is that with handmade, people (5+ / 0-)

        discount it as a joke, or something not serious when it comes to politics. Presentation matters.

        •  What do you think I'd need to do here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ericlewis0, dzog

          to keep it from looking like a joke?  I don't think that blue vs. maroon is the difference, but I am certainly open to other suggestions.

          One thing to bear in mind: this is a wealthy county and the Republicans are well-funded.  I might be able to afford one mailer that would be comparable in quality to those of my opponents -- but the Dems who have done that here tend to get steamrolled anyway.  Doing something distinctive is probably important -- especially doing something that spits in the face of big money politics.

          I certainly know that I could be totally wrong, but I don't think that a flag motif or anything similarly traditional is going to help me push this message.

          Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:52:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely. Cannot be stressed enough. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seneca Doane, slinkerwink

          If you look like an insincere fringer, both your candidacy and your message will be ignored. Conversely, you can do a lot with a little if you get the visuals right. Think OWS projected messages and the Overpass Light Brigade. Visual punch is what gets you an audience - or loses you one if you don't have your presentation down.


          "The fundamental curse of the Republican party is its irrepressible disposition to meddle with other people's business, and impose its notions, and its will, on people who do not freely accept them." -- The New York Freeman's Journal, 1861

          by dzog on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 12:27:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's okay for it to look low budget (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        But make it instantly clear that you are a hard-as-diamond POLITICIAN. Not a jeweler! That's a bad idea, IMO. Using diamond associations can be great to tie in to your name, but think more of Superman clenching a lump of coal until it becomes a diamond. Or of a badass surgical saw with a diamond tipped blade. Just thinking out loud here. Cheers.

        I ♥ President Barack Obama.

        by ericlewis0 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:34:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  More colors cost more... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

      by slowbutsure on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:25:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting point. Maybe just print in blue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seneca Doane, ericlewis0

      on white - that makes the b&w photo less obviously disjunctive.

      I think the message is good, but I like some of the reorderings above better.

      "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

      by pixxer on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 01:01:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slowbutsure, high uintas

    the oh poor me tone has to be changed. You don't want to come across as wishy-washy. You need to sound definitive and resolute. Especially in Orange County.

    "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power." -Benito Mussolini, Fascist dictator of Italy

    by hankmeister on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:17:23 AM PDT

    •  You may be right, but let me explain my purpose (0+ / 0-)

      People throw out mailers.  What I want to get across is this:

      Ideas and reactions as to whether that's worthwhile?

      Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:28:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree 100 percent with Hankmeister. (3+ / 0-)

        I made a much more detailed set of suggestions below, but I am afraid that people are not going to take out of this first paragraph what you seem to expect them to.  

        You  are right that people do throw out mailers but I am afraid you are not giving them an effective reason not to do so in this case. Whatever you do only a small percentage of people will read it unless it is very well targeted. What decides whether they read it is if you have grabbed their attention. This is far too circumlocutional to have a positive effect, especially as the lead thought in the mailer. It will, at best, leave most people scratching their heads and give the impression of being unfocused.

        The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

        by Pirogue on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:56:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would suggest using more of a smaller profile (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, pixxer, 2laneIA

    of you rather than a large imprint of your face. Think of it as you in a blue shirt, with a smile on your face, and the photo would be taken from waist up. That way, that image could be clipped out from the waist up, and put in a smaller context next to the words. I would suggest not using red in your campaign literature, and use blue instead.

    You can see my graphic design work here:

    •  I could easily be convince to us a smaller pic! (0+ / 0-)

      I know that this is text heavy and I wanted something to counterbalance (or even distract from) it.

      This is Orange County; the district is reddish-purple at best.  I tried it with various shades of blue and it lacked punch.  I know that we're "team blue" and all, but I want to go with what I think looks right.

      I will check out your work!

      Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:30:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like your postcard. You might contact your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    local League of Women Voters and ask if they would put on a candidate's forum.  The League is non-partisan, so it will be a fair debate.  

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:22:58 AM PDT

  •  The voter needs to know "what's in it for me" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, Seneca Doane

    Your solution doesn't appear until the last sentence.  I'd reverse the order of everything... "Do you know Prop 30 causes a $$$(whatever) spending deficit for California?  Are you tired of seeing the senate offer breaks to oil companies but nothing for the little guy?"
    ...and then go into the rest of it.

    ...and use those keypoints (how much money is being spent) as infographics on your Facebook page and your campaign page.

    •  That's usually right, so let me explain my reasons (0+ / 0-)

      I'm concerned about getting out the message.  The message helps my campaign, but it also helps other Democrats and one of our top two ballot proposition campaigns.  (It's YES on 30, by the way!)  If they're just going to glance at the card, it won't do any good anyway; my opponent will have more, bigger, and better mailers.  My best chance to affect as many voters as possible is to draw them in.

      Again, promoting the message -- that California is in trouble and we need to be adults and HELP -- is at odds with normal campaign strategy for a single campaign.  I don't want to stoke anger here; I want to stimulate regret, even sadness, at how selfishness has allowed our state to deteriorate.

      (Yes, in that case, I should use a sad photo, but I'm not that foolhardy!)

      Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:40:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was coming from an advertising standpoint (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        Which is why I suggested "hooking" the reader with a "Hey, Martha, listen to this" kind of opening.  Something dramatic.

        However, Ive only done small ads for my business -- haven't tried doing campaign mailings.  Good luck to you.

  •  Oh, and one more tip for you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    You can always add a QR code to your campaign literature, so people can scan it with their smartphones and be taken to your campaign website.

  •  My comments. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, Seneca Doane, dzog

    The 1st sentence has some bad grammar. " I will probably only get..."

    Unless this is a Primary, don't accuse Republicans of being deceitful. You have many ordinary voters who identify themselves as Republicans. Calling them names doesn't make them like you.

    Maybe say, "For years the Radical Right has starved..."

    Do you have a Union Bug on your postcard? Does it matter in CA? You make the call.

    Otherwise it looks good to me...good luck!

  •  I have seen many political adverts (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane, TriangleNC, dzog, statsone

    in my years in graphics and this is not great, but not all that bad as political ads go either.

    Here are some observations that are stated dogmatically but should be seen as simply an opinion.

    1. The third paragraph of the body copy is muddled (To much punctuation, "etc," parentheses-makes it hard to read) and it is not well organized conceptually. Please be aware that very few people will study the postcard for meaning. It needs to more or less hit them in the face.

    2. You should probably think about a complete rewrite of the body copy. It needs more organization. I would suggest a headline, one that summarizes and grabs attention. Perhaps just "People are Hurting".  You need to organize the points you are making. You also need to think in terms of having people understand in a quick glance what the card is about. At first sight many will think it is an ad for insurance or the like (This sort of impression is exacerbated by the inlines in the type face for your name, it looks very institutional).

    3. The body copy needs more margin, both right and left. It hugs the edges of its field.

    3. Graphically the picture is a liability because it doesn't have sufficient tonal depth and the crop is bad. Such a close cropping of a face creates a sinister aspect. You probably need to get a better, more professional, picture with a better cropping, or lose it entirely.

    4. The name should be larger, should not be in all caps, should be in a bolder type, should be graphically isolated from everything else, and should not have the inline which makes it look weaker (and institutional, like what a bank might use).

    5. It is not clear why you have the address and not a phone number. Pehaps it is a legal requirement but if it is an invitation to contact many more will respond to a phone number.

    6. I would put the invitation to the web page at the bottom of everything. As it is placed now it interrupts the flow from the body copy directly to the name. You have probably made a favorable impression on anyone who has read that far and you shouldn't then impose an element where it paUses the natural flow from the persuasive copy to the name, which is what you want people to act on and remember. This is a fine point but more important than most people would think. You don't want to offer a psychological invitation out of the page when you really want to move readers psychologically to the next and all-important element.  

    7. The lead paragraph is weak. The fact that you are not well financed may be important but is certainly not the first thing you want to greet a busy reader with. You need a strong way to gain and hold attention. Telling people that this may be your only communication is very far from the main point you want to make. If you want the fact that you are not beholden to special interests to be a centerpiece you need a more forceful way to get that point across. AS it is not it is read as more of a digression than anything else.

    The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

    by Pirogue on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:47:19 AM PDT

  •  You asked for feedback... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane, Catte Nappe, 2laneIA

    You asked for feedback…

    The following is imho:

    You are correct that the postcard is “wordy;” it’s too wordy.

    It’s good to have your picture on the postcard and it is placed in a good position for the reader (left side). I would like to see your profile (headshot) facing directly at the camera (reader). And have it be in color.

    Given that your last name is Diamond, have you considered ways and means to exploit that? Have the postcard be square and the type set off at 90% (to make it look like a diamond). Reinforce that image with your yard signs.

    Using a blue font instead of red (ruby?) reinforces that you are a democrat.

    Folks are likely to look at your mailing for only a few seconds. So (imho), it would be better highlight your campaign slogan instead of spelling it out. Starting with “…I probably only get to write you one time” invites the reader to toss it out right away - reading no further.

    How’s about:  

    Revenues not Austerity
    Vote Greg Diamond
    It has to be simple and quick.

    How about a call to action (instead of “learn more at…”). Perhaps “Visit…”

    Greg, I have followed your writings here at Dkos for quite a while and know that you have so much to offer. Perhaps you will invite our Dkos community to help with design of your campaign and postcard?

    And just to share resources available at Camp Wellstone.

    Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing!

    We are the 99% - OWS

    by TriangleNC on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:53:14 AM PDT

  •  Helping tighten it up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    Brevity is the soul of wit, and I'm a half-wit, so here's extra brief brevity.

    Lose the first paragraph.

    For years, Republicans have starved California of the revenue needed to keep our state strong. Now we're paying the price for deceitful politics

    "For years, Republicans have starved California of tax revenues. We are all paying the price for their dishonesty"

    Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

    by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 12:38:49 PM PDT

  •  Suggestion: brighter photo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    This one is nice but looks pale, therefore not a 'strong candidate'........

    Good Luck.

  •  I do not like first line, last para. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    People are hurting and state's too poor to help. Pretty limited appeal there. Even your moderate Dems are going to have visions of Welfare Queens swimming in their heads. Talk about education, infrastructure, and the jobs that come from that - but California is too poor to do those sensible things.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 02:01:26 PM PDT

    •  Thing is, like USA as a whole, CA is RICH (0+ / 0-)

      It's just the government and the majority of the people who are poor. At the federal level, that's a policy choice. In California, it's because of the state constitution's 2/3 vote threshold for revenues, other constitutional straightjacketing, Republicans who are glad to ride the no-taxes nuke into the ground, and Dems who cut to make it all "work" anyway.

      It's a rich state (and country). It's just that the richest people and corporations bottled up the riches or themselves, by hook or crook.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 01:42:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pretty darn good! (0+ / 0-)

    I like the issues you hit. If you can squeeze it in, mention jobs? Making a sustainable economy means lots of work restoring the environment and fixing infrastructure, more equitable incomes, and real-world jobs that you can feel good about doing. Or maybe do more than one themed postcard design, as I think you mentioned.

    This postcard appeals to me personally. Does it set other people to thinking? Will something about it cause them to bring it up with people in their households, or even with friends and colleagues?

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 01:56:41 AM PDT

  •  Swing voter attention; punches; district; visit (0+ / 0-)

    Greg and crowd-sourcing participants,

    A. Please consider the draft text below, which attempts to:

    1. Use a Q&A sequence with the goal of capturing Orange County swing voter attention (by highlighting undeniable problems before addressing them with particular solutions that tend to be regarded by independents as partisan). (Note that this sequence can easily be reversed, by locating all or ideally only a part of the answer to the top of the postcard). In order to apply this same tactic to tapping into voters' concern about jobs (hat-tip to above commenter), the draft highlights the jobs of policemen, firemen and teachers, and ends by reminding the reader that these are members of the 99%.

    2. Encourage emotional alignment between your readers and your candidacy by replacing words like "starving" (which invokes the Republican slogan of "starving the beast"), and by avoiding the 'drink your medicine lecture' feeling can easily be triggered by over-early emphasis on funding and tax-raising. In place of these words and emphasis, the draft seeks to rhetorically highlight buzzword-intensive punches at the revolving door between millionaire-friendly policies and their high-return investments in campaign contributions.

    3. Link this to your district, by mentioning the district and the name of your opponent, while also linking to the national picture and piggy-backing on the bad publicity that has recently been earned by contributors like Adelson and Koch.

    4. Avoid seeming to lecture -- instead invite a conversation of equals, by replacing “learn more at” with “To discuss… please visit” (hat-tip to above commenter for “visit”).

    A. Following is draft text
    (which is a bit too wordy and much too long for a postcard, but hopefully is sufficiently modular to be shortened, perhaps into multiple versions that highlight different bullet points):


    California voters can escape from super jeopardy by answering and solving these questions:
    (1) What is forcing cuts that will cripple California’s infrastructure, education and security, and will under-equip, under-pay and under-serve California’s policemen, firemen, teachers and other members of the 99%?  
    (2) What is the highest-return investment by billionaires like Adelson, Koch and Roski, and by multinational oil companies and insurance companies?
    (3) What motivates leading Republican politicians to sell out California, and motivates their assembly leader Bob Huff to sell out our district, through tax loopholes and other sweetheart deals?
    (4) How can these players, who all have shown that they know how to “spend $$ to make $$$$”, create so many barriers to California investing in its future?

    The answer to all-of-the-above is:
    A revolving door of excess profits being recycled into influence-buying.

    Key solutions are:
    To make California fit for the 99%, by overcoming the billionaires’ veto and by funding California’s basic needs through commonsense steps like:
    ––passing the Prop 30 millionaires’ tax,
    ––matching other states’ oil depletion tax,
    ––requiring insurance companies to spend more of our premium payments on our healthcare, and
    ––preventing major corporations from abusing the Prop 13 property tax freezes that were intended to benefit retirees and family homes.  

    Big money’s dirty influence was dragged into the sunlight by the Occupy movement. If California’s 99% occupy the voting booth, we can clean up our politics, and rescue our state and our future.

    To discuss more answers and solutions, please visit: GregDiamond2012.Com

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