As the only member of D Magazine’s staff who has attempted to become Dallas’ mayor, I felt like it was my duty to give all 15 or 20 of you some advice as your respective campaigns near their ends. That I’m doing it only now—when any words of wisdom could be, at best, marginally useful—should give you a quick peek into how and why my candidacy, way back in 2007, failed.
(But, OK, imagine if it hadn’t. Guys, there is an alternate timeline where your man here is a senator.)
ANYWAY, here are a few do’s and don’ts, some hard-won truths from someone who has been there.
DO keep a suit in your car. You never know when you’re going to have to do a little old-fashioned baby shaking and hand kissing, and having a change of clothes will give you a little peace of mind.
DON’T get that suit at Target. Or do, but definitely immediately toss it in the garbage when you’re done, because it’s been living in your trunk for five or six months, and unless you’re some insane neat freak (Miguel) your trunk is still a trunk.
DO pretend you are Dirk Nowitzki when you toss your car suit in the garbage—off one leg, the wrong one, and fading away. If you want to mean mug on an imaginary defender as you walk back to the house, well, I love the energy.
DO ask the ex-girlfriend of the person you’ve hired as your campaign manager if her ex has problems following through on things. It should be easy, because you are very good friends with that ex-girlfriend and doing a cursory background check should be pretty standard when you’re hiring someone for the most important role of the campaign outside of your own. But, look, sometimes you get busy doing other things—you have a full-time job and you’re writing a book, for starters—and this guy got your mutual friend, a lawyer, on board right away, and he seems to know what he’s doing, so maybe you don’t ask any questions until it’s too late. For example, when he sends you a condescending 2,000-word email while you’re 1) sick and 2) out of town on business. Hey. It happens.
DO hold grudges. But not a lot of grudges. Ideally, no more than one grudge. Maybe two.
DON’T switch campaign managers only a few months before the election.
DON’T switch from one amateur campaign manager to another amateur campaign manager. I’m not saying you need to hire the first middle-age blond woman you come across, but maybe make sure the person in charge of your situation has a résumé that doesn’t comfortably fit within the character-limit of a tweet.
DO pour yourself a drink when the campaign is over. You’ve earned it.
DON’T do any interviews while drinking that drink—or the drink you pour yourself after that one. You come up, like, a dozen signatures short of making the ballot and, yeah, people are going to want to talk to you. But don’t take Bill Zeeble’s call with a drink in your hand, and especially don’t drink it while on the phone with him, when KERA’s listeners can hear ice clinking in your glass and draw their own conclusions as to the seriousness of your candidacy.
DO throw out that suit when you’re done. Seriously.