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Rich Family Strategy Meeting (ATTN: Bellosh & RainbowFoxxy)

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If there was any lesson that Spoiled Rich had obtained from her long acquaintance with the political process, it was that dedicated and cohesive minorities in the right place and time almost always triumphed over the largely apathetic and unengaged minority.  After all, most anypony could have acquired her influence over Ponyville policy if they had just sat on as many committees as she had, actually read the policy proposals from the Mayoral Office, and took the time to write in their opinions.

 

Elections, however, were the one thing she didn't know much about, but she was pretty certain she had a plan to win.  Not to mention, an ace up her sleeve.  After all, the only other contender in this race didn't have a family ready to rally their support and resources to them, and Spoiled Rich did!... Right?

 

That was what today would reveal, in any case.  Upon announcing her candidacy, she had retreated to Rich Manor, furiously writing up campaign platforms and announcements (or rather, dicating furiously to a long-suffering secretary), finally emerging for a bath, good meal, and an announcement that she wanted to see both her husband and daughter in the Parlor to discuss what the election would mean for them going forward, and what she expected of them.

 

And, of course, if they had any suggestions as well, she would give them all the consideration they deserved...

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Any time her parents had time for her was a wonderful event for DT! She had been practically giddy all morning when the house maid had told her of her mother's request. They would be meeting in the parlor, with daddy too! Diamond was under no disillusion that this would be about anything other than her mother's run at the soon coming mayoral election! It was so exciting! The Rich family was already popular and powerful and basically the best! And now add in Spoiled Rich being the mayor of Ponyville? It was just fantastic! 

 

DT had a plan. A plan to get to spend more time with her parents and to help them too. She'd be her mother's best campaign manager. She'd come up with the plan to make her mother more than popular, Spoiled would be Ponyville's star! Diamond had come to an understanding with her mother ever since she'd run for class president. Spoiled had treated her daughter with most respect since that day and DT had returned the favor by offered the same to her mom. 

 

Diamond rolled up a large parchment she had been working on all morning. Art was not something she'd made a big deal about but DT was very adept with quill and brush! Her mother would be so thrilled with her new design layout for campaign posters! She trotted down the spiral staircase and made her way inside the parlor. 

 

"Good afternoon mother!" 

 

She glanced about. "Will daddy be here soon?"

 

Diamond pranced in place, too excited to wait for her father to enter the room! "I made this for you! It's gonna make you a star!" Diamond unrolled the parchment and proudly held it up for Spoiled to inspect.

 

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It was extremely gratifying to see the enthusiasm which her daughter was showing towards her campaign.  Spoiled Rich had to admit, there was a period when she had almost despaired of making Diamond Tiara a proper dynast.  Her failure to win a school presidential election didn't bode well for her political skill, and her subsequent behavior towards here, well she never!

 

But, once the initial shock ha died down, a more thoughtful Spoiled Rich had to admit, that failure was only a part of life, one which a pony sometimes had to learn from in order to reach greater heights.  And while those (former) blank flanks showed little promise in terms of social advancement opportunities (proxy proximity to princesses notwithstanding), they had been the winning team behind the school election, and if one wanted to become a winner, hanging out with winners was usually a good step.

And, wouldn't you know it, but the time spent was actually bearing fruit!  "Oh my, that is an excellent likeness!  I do hope you have many copies ready to put up."  She gave her daughter a smile of maternal affection mixed with pride.  "Your father should be here any moment now; I believe you sent him on 'opposition research,' was it?  I have to say, you've taken things well in hoof."

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Speaking of the pony devil.....


“I’m back! Sorry to keep all you darlings waiting, but the town hall meeting ran a bit long...” Filthy Rich was back home at his family Manor, clutching a notebook and an opened letter marked with the eyeball logo of the Canterton Maneland Detective Agency. After giving Spoiled an affectionate smooch on the lips, Filthy gave lil’ Diamond Tiara a loving pucker to her forehead, and it was then that the stallion’s eye noticed his daughter holding what appeared to be a poster design.


“Hmmm, what’s that?” Setting his own stuff down on the closest table in leg’s reach, Filthy scooped up Diamond’s parchment. Almost immediately, the stallion grinned as he beheld Mrs. Rich’s alluring visage. “You made this just now, Diamond Tiara? My my, it certainly captures your mother quite well...” Filthy offered his wife a knowing glance.....

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DT was oh so glad she and her mother had been able to come to an understanding. Even though they didn't see eye to eye on everything, she had always respected her mother and always wanted to be like her. She had poise, grace, and knew what she wanted! These were all excellent qualities and Diamond only hoped to emulate these attributes in her own ways. She of course, differed on how other ponies should be viewed, but that was a conversation for another day. Right now she would focus on the wonderful things about her mother and use those to help Spoiled become the leader Diamond Tiara so much admired. 

 

"Daddy!" Diamond giggled as she got smooched on the forehead. She blushed as he complimented her work. "Yes I made it daddy! Oh and to answer your question mother," She turned to Spoiled. "I have the town press churning out some right now. I did want to make sure you approved before I ran off enough for the whole town."

 

She turned back to Filthy. "Now on to business daddy," She glanced at him as though she were in charge of the whole operation...which she had no inkling as to otherwise. "How did the research go? Were you able to dig up any dirt on our opposition?" 

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Ah, Filthy Rich, could Spoiled have asked for a better husband?  Well, theoretically, perhaps, but the real question was who else would have said 'yes'?  Nopony that could compare to the sharp and successful business stallion currently kissing her, that was for sure!  "Not a problem, dear, I of all ponies know that they never stick to their schedule.  That's the tradeoff one gets for focusing the council's culture on actually accomplishing tasks."  She smiled at him, eyes darting to the notebook.  Oh, he hadn't cheaped out on the private eyes!  Definitely something to give him sweet gratitude for later.

 

"Diamond has an eye for art, and fine hoof as well.  Remind me to see if there are formal lessons available; or better yet, bundling that into a larger cultural initiative.  As you demonstrate, there's a well of artistic talent in this town at severe risk of languishing."  She gave her daughter a decisive nod and another smile.  "I approve this poster; I want to see it all over town tomorrow."  Initial campaigning policy set, she turned her attention back to her husband.  Once she had the intel, she would set out the plan to take down their one and only rival to greatness!

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For a brief second, Filthy Rich looked almost taken aback by Diamond Tiara’s sudden assertiveness. Truth be told, the middle-aged stallion had serious misgivings back when all this election campaigning started when his still-young daughter volunteered to assume the role of campaign manager. Before then, Mr. Rich’s planned on hiring a professional with a proven track record out of Manehattan to do the job. As he saw it, giving that responsibility to a little filly was a huge gamble when her only prior political experience involved a school election.


Spoiled Rich however saw things in a different light. Yes, Diamond Tiara was not yet an adult, but she was bursting with potential. Mrs. Rich was quick to remind her husband about the stupendous sky-high success the Foal Free Press enjoyed under Diamond’s brief tenure as editor-in-chief, proving the child had a knack for understanding adult audiences. On that note, Diamond also possessed the vital attribute of being Ponyville-raised; something no outsider consultant could match when it came to a local election.


It was with that point that Filthy’s gaping flaw with his own plan became apparent. Spoiled had always been a headstrong mare, habitually prone to disagreeing with anypony with a contrary opinion to her. Although Mrs. Rich made a show of making nice every now and then, for the most part, the one pony she’d shown consistent respect for over the last couple years — even more so than Filthy himself — had been their precious daughter. It took a little time to do so, but Mr. Rich eventually conceded that nopony else could get through to Spoiled the way Diamond could, which would be important if his wife didn’t want to be done in on the campaign trail by her own prickly demeanor.


Getting his headspace back into the moment at hoof, Filthy Rich swiftly regained his composure and Diamond’s question. “Oh yes,” Filthy retrieved the opened envelope and placed its contents on the table for the others to read; “The private eyes I hired got back to me with the results of their background investigation. See here, this Strong Copper fellow has pretty much spent his adult life chasing off monsters. As far as they can tell, Mr. Copper is very competent at what he does... but he’s never stuck around any one place for long. He’s not a stud who plants roots, as you might say.”


Filthy Rich now laid his notebook on the table; “If his appearance at today’s Town Hall is any indication, Mr. Copper may be making an exception for Ponyville thanks to all the magical critters that live nearby. Humph, I guess our town’s a curiosity case to him, or something..." A rare hint of indignation from the business pony. “Anyway, Mr. Copper spent his time talking about what he did for a living, and how he’d improve monster control if he was elected mayor. He gave little indication otherwise on how exactly he’d run the town outside his area of expertise.....”

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Diamond brought herself up to her full height as her mother praised her work. She was so glad her whole family could work together on this! It gave her the chance she wanted to show how much she would do for her mother and father. Sure her mother had been very overbearing and her father mostly absent in her past but things were different now. If she wanted a chance to work on her ways of treating others, this was it! And who better than the two ponies that had brought her into the world!

 

She wouldn't forget what had happened in the past and she'd never let herself be in that position again, but she could put that to the side and focus on the task in front of them. A task that seemed a bit smaller now due to the intel her father had brought back.

 

"Yes mother! I'll have my ponies working on it and the whole town will be covered in these by tomorrow!" She beamed, Spoiled's praise covering her like a warm blanket. 

 

"Well sounds like the competition has only one corner of expertise." She grinned slyly. "Great work daddy!" She thought for a moment. "You know... if we could get Mr. Copper outside of monster chasing it sounds like he'll crumble like one of Pinkie Pie's sugar cookies!" She tapped her muzzle. "Even better if we could get him to stumble in the one thing he's apparently good at,"

 

She glanced around. "Anypony know of any monsters for hire?"

 

It was only an idea of course. But if this Copper fellow couldn't hold up in a situation with the one thing he was good at there would hardly be any need for debates. Her mother had this in the bag!

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Spoiled sat down to receive her husband's report, steepling her forehooves under her chin in thought as her opponent was laid out and analyzed.  "Well, given the regularity of... incidents in this town, it wouldn't surprise me if Mr. Copper decided to at least buy a house here.  Whether or not he lives here full time remains to be seen.  Regardless, its quite clear that he's far from integral to this community, however helpful his ancillary efforts may be.  We've already developed quite a few good protocols of our own for dealing with such matters ourselves."  Having sat in on every single town meeting that worked out these protocols, Spoiled Rich felt she could take some personal pride in that field.  As to whether those protocols were effective...

 

"Dear, did you find any areas in which he seemed particularly weak?  I don't think we're going to be able to prevent monster control from becoming one of the issues in this race, but we can respond by making the other key tenants of this race things in which he's likely to make a fool of himself out of.  Mention them in every speech, press release, and advertisement we buy.  Force him to answer awkward questions, keep him on the back hoof."  A sound strategy, just needed fill out the tactics...

 

Speaking of tactics, little Diamond was developing quite the devious mind.  Spoiled felt another surge of maternal pride, though felt obligated to refine her daughter's unschooled ideas.  "A good crisis could definitely be advantageous, but again, I think we want to go outside his area of expertise.  We don't want to risk underestimating his core capabilities; otherwise, he might come out looking like a hero, ugh.  Remember the little business with the tramp magician Trixie and the Ursa Minor?  I pinpoint the rising of Twilight's stock in this town to that incident.  No, as tempting as the risk is, it would be far too humiliating to fail in that way.  Do you have any other ideas in that line, though, Diamond?"

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Okaaaaaay..... Filthy Rich was going to pretend that he didn’t overhear his wife just now schooling Diamond Tiara in the practicalities of unleashing a monster upon Ponyville. He would have a private one-on-one with his daughter later. At least Mrs. Rich had the good sense to recognize the proposal as a foolhardy plan, so at least there was that?


“Uh- maybe,” Mr. Rich awkwardly interjected with great haste; “We don’t NEED any fancy schmancy schemes to beat this fella! Now let’s look at the facts here: Mr. Copper is a newcomer to town, he probably doesn’t have the sort of local friends yet who’d be willing to ring doorbells for him and help out with his campaign... and he DEFINITELY won’t have the sort of warchest that we have!” There was a strong hint of pride in that last declaration.


“I’d say the chances are good that Mr. Copper simply flames out a few months from now. And if he doesn’t... then all it’d take to take the wind out of his sails is Mayor Mare giving you her ringing endorsement! If I was a betting stallion, I’d wager that two-thirds of Ponyville will make their decision based solely on who she endorses, considering how respected our outgoing Mayor is.....”

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Diamond giggled, a bit uncomfortable with how seriously her parents had taken her! She was still getting used to this new found respect and voice in the family and would have to learn to be careful with how she used it! Her mind worked furiously as her mother asked if she had other ideas. 

 

Then Filthy spoke his piece and Diamond couldn't help but nod along. It was solid, all of it! And true, a big scheme could easily backfire as both her parents had noted. 

 

"And Mayor Mare has promised to endorse you mother?" She glanced at both parents. It was nice to have that thought but would she actually say it when things got heated up? 

 

She took in a breath. "All I know is we shouldn't take Copper too lightly. He's new around here but I know plenty of ponies who like new things...new shiny things which copper can be."

 

She thought again. "What can be asked of him during debates that would make him less...well, shiny?"

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Filthy Rich was right.  Spot-on right, in fact, which Spoiled rarely granted unconditionally.  Mayor Mare giving an endorsement would be pretty much the equivalent of appointing a successor, making the whole election a mere formality.  Trouble was, of course, the old mare actually believed in democracy, Celestia alone knew why.  "From what she told me, her own involvement in the election process and counting committee requires her to take a publicly neutral stand.  So, while I am certain of her full confidences... we can't expect an explicit endorsement, as such.  At least, from her.  I think there's some possibilities with other hometown heroes, particularly ones which we have strong ties to.  I've been in correspondence and meetings with Applejack, and the mare has a surprisingly good head on her shoulders, for all that it has a semi-inarticulate mouth.  The mare does herself no favors by sprinkling her speech with country metaphors requiring translation.  Fortunately, I think our general policy goals align, so I'm expecting a public endorsement from her fairly soon."

 

Honestly, that might have been presumptive, though Spoiled was hardly one to doubt herself.  No, all her doubt was externalized, and directed squarely at her opponent.  "Well, Diamond, I should think anything dealing with town life, as opposed to isolated wilderness existence, would suffice, with a special emphasis placed on local history.  He might be able to survive in a forest, but he knows nothing about turning a clearing into a town.  That, I think, is where we shall nail him."

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“True,” Filthy Rich mused; “You can convince ponies to try shiny new things every now and then. Especially if they’re tagged with flashy on-sale stickers, heh heh heh! ...But I also know from experience that ponies ultimately put their trust in dependability and in what they’re already familiar with. Unless Mr. Copper turns out to be Equestria’s best salesstallion all along, my wager is that Ponyville will still elect you darling even if the Mayor herself can’t give out any endorsements. Having Applejack in our camp will go a long way to make townsponies see you as the Dependable Choice.”


“Frankly, the only way this election becomes remotely competitive is if Mr. Copper can build excitement around his campaign. And honestly, let's just say he doesn’t strike me as the sort of fella who’s ever taken a marketing class at business school.....”

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