Third-Party Advocates Will Play a Key Role in a New Political Dynamic

By: Jared Parks, Vice President

To put it mildly, 2020 has not been a year that has been short on surprises and challenges. The first global pandemic in a century which demanded robust policy responses, coupled with a highly-charged and often unpredictable political environment – and a looming election – presented enormous challenges for businesses of every shape and size and across diverse industries. Those businesses and industries also faced unprecedented challenges in advocating for their principals and interests in a virtual environment where constituents and advocates could no longer engage as easily with policymakers and their staffs through shoe-leather lobbying or traditional constituent meetings.

In this context, 2020 has underscored the importance of partnering with like-minded third-party advocacy organizations to ensure that policymakers and staff hear stakeholders’ key messages and fully understand the impacts of a given policy consideration upon them. Third-party groups can be a voice for the often large numbers of grassroots activists among their memberships, offering lawmakers a finger on the pulse of their constituents when direct engagement is more difficult. They also often have a deep well of policy expertise which they can offer to policymakers on the basis of trusted, well-established relationships. Finally, many third-party groups have well-developed relationships with the media and can be valuable allies in getting a message out and shaping a narrative.

Looking ahead to 2021, and with the election now behind us, there are still many unknowns ahead, but it is clear that we will have a new presidential administration and a divided government should the current Senate majority remain in-tact. It is equally clear that third parties will have a critical role to play across the board in the new dynamic awaiting us in 2021.

The incoming administration will confront the immediate task of staffing up at every agency across government. Many third-party policy experts and advocates bring their expertise to bear in government service when ideologically aligned with the administration in power.  If past is precedent, the new administration will draw heavily upon the deep bench of policy experts and advocates at like-minded think tanks and third-party groups as they look to fill key roles. This makes aligned third-party groups a valuable resource to a new administration, effective influencers with key personnel, and powerful advocacy partners.

Additionally, third-party groups often serve not just as advocates, but as incubators for policy proposals ranging from taxes to infrastructure to energy. As any new administration seeks to hit the ground running in implementing its agenda, it can draw upon the expertise, research, and recommendations of aligned third parties that have often spent years studying a given issue, making such organizations valuable partners in engaging and educating a new crop of policymakers.

For the outgoing administration and presumed Republican majority in the Senate, third parties are more important than ever. Many from the outgoing administration will likely apply their expertise, experience, and relationships as outside advocates at aligned third-party groups. And for Republican lawmakers seeking to restore and expand their party’s position in government, support from allied third parties and the vast numbers of conservative activists they represent is critical to their success.

At The Herald Group, our Alliance Development team focuses solely on building and maintaining extensive relationships with national, state, and local third-party groups and key opinion leaders and works to mobilize these organizations and influencers on behalf of our clients. THG’s strategic partnership building capabilities include:

  • Third-Party Audits and Platform Development
  • Coalition Strategy and Development
  • Identification, Recruitment, and Mobilization of Key Third-Party Advocates
  • Key Influencer Communications

In a year that has brought many changes to the advocacy space, the importance of leveraging third-party partnerships has been a constant, and at The Herald Group, we only see its value increasing in the months ahead.