There are an endless number of websites, books, magazines, and people who will tell you “the secret to a successful campaign.” Some of these campaign secrets do not work, some work some of the time, and some work most of the time, but no single campaign secret works in every situation. Campaigns are always different and must be treated differently depending on the target audience, your stances, recent events, and many more factors. However, there is one factor that can always be used in a campaign, for you or against you: your past work.
One person that discovered the importance of past work is Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. President Nazarbayev was re-elected to office for five more years in April 2011 with over 95% of the votes in his favor. He had a good campaign and he is very qualified for the job, but his real secret was simply the good work he did previously in office, such as seeking peace between religious groups and fighting political corruption.
Besides being a feather in your hat, past work can also be used against you. There have been countless campaigns that have been destroyed by a candidate’s past work (or lack there of). During almost any campaign now you can simply watch a couple of television campaign ads and see that everyone is more than willing to talk about an opponent’s past failures.
While in office, everything you do is under scrutiny. People watch you for mistakes and for good deeds. Doing a good job and accomplishing what you promise are the only sure-fire ways to secure a re-election.