Anonymous asked this question on 5/9/2000:
I have recently read the book "Plunkitt of Tammany Hall" and it has sparked a political sensation I never knew I had. I would like to become involved with my local government and eventually work my way to the top. I am very opinionated and like to consider myself like McCain. To the point honest(or as honest as any politician). I have a problem though I'm only 19. Anyway to my question: how do I get involved and get my name known so that I can eventually run for a council position or even something smaller when I finalize college and get set for life?
Any help you could give will be much appreciated
JesseGordon gave this response on 5/10/2000:
1. Start getting known in your community. If you're planning to run for a council position, it's a small community -- get to know everyone in it. Name recognition is the most important aspect on voting day in local elections.
2. You can "get known" by regularly attending council meetings, speaking out when you have an opinion, writing letters to the local paper, and so on.
3. Start building a record of your views on local issues. Writing letters (or a column) in the local paper will do that, even if not all of them are published. Writing pieces will get you in practice for speeches later. (And writing is how I fell in love with politics!)
4. Finish college and get a job. You're a better candidate if you've got some real experience.
SusieB_11 asked this question on 8/7/2000:
Hi! I am 15 years old. I like politics a lot, everyone I know says that I would be a really good politician. What are some things that I can do? Do teenagers that can't vote have any say in what goes on in our country? What are some qualities that make a good politician or senator or anything? Please help!
madpol gave this response on 8/7/2000:
There are all kinds of things you can do.
Study the issues and write letters to the editor. Contact your local party committee or candidate's campaign office and volunteer to work on campaigns. Just because you don't have the vote yet, doesn't mean that you can't encourage others to use theirs.
The most important qualifications for anyone in elective office are good communications skill and a good memory. There are ways to fake this, but you will want to have as much of the real stuff as you can.
Develop your listening, critical reading, writing and speaking skills and do what you can to spend time hanging out with politicians. Develop a specialty, a few related issues on which you are an expert.
That way, when you do reach 18, people will already be thinking about you as part of the team.
morrisonhimself gave this response on 8/7/2000:
Let me disagree with madpol again: The most important quality for a person in elective office is a rational and honest philosophy.
Madpol is right that your being 15 is not a handicap, that there many things you can do to help both your chosen candidate and/or party and to guide yourself toward a career in politics.
By the way, when your friends say you "would be a really good politician," are they complimenting or insulting you?
* do* have a lousy reputation, and one that is, alas, well deserved.
George Bush, for example, promised "no new taxes," but then signed a tax increase anyway.
So did Clinton, even making his increase retroactive, which is also illegal.
The 1994 Republicans promised a lot in their "Contract With America," and actually did keep most of their promise, but sold us out on the National Endowment for the Arts and Term Limits issues.
One quality, therefore, you should acquire is honesty.
Learn what the U.S. Constitution says. It is a remarkable document, far from perfect, but coming closer to it than any other nation's.
Study economics. No government should ever be involved in the economy, but they all are. Learn just what a government does and
* why* it shouldn't.
After you have learned some of those basics, you can prove again how much teenagers do "have any say in what goes on in our country." You can write letters to editors of newspapers and magazines, you can call talk-show hosts, you can start or join political clubs at your school or in your community.
I began my political "career," really my political participation, when I was 12.
Be warned that grown-ups won't pay a lot of attention to what you believe, but will be tickled to death when you volunteer to do door-to-door canvassing or to lick stamps or stuff envelopes -- and you in fact should do those things. It lets you get to know the political leaders and lets them know you.
Madpol made an excellent suggestion in the Tocqueville book. Also read another Frenchman, Fredric Bastiat, and the Americans Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.
Read "Economics In One Lesson" by the brilliant Henry Hazlitt.
And read "Anything That's Peaceful" and "I, Pencil" by Leonard Read.
Beware: Politics can be addictive. I was at three national old-party conventions (but have kept my integrity by becoming a Libertarian), and know first-hand that the excitement can override good sense.
People can get so caught up in the process they forgot about principles.
I hope you won't let that happen to you.
Very best wishes.
SusieB_11 rated this answer:
NO when my friends say that I would be a good politician is because I am understanding of the needs of others, honest, and I am able to see both sides of issues! But thank you for all that information. Next year when I get my license I will volunteer at a campaign. Thank you so much!
A viewer asked this question on 8/21/2000:
I AM VERY INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN POLITICS. I WOULD LIKE ALL THE INFO I CAN GET ON ACHEIVING THIS GOAL. IF YALL CAN OFFER ANY KIND OF ADVISE OR ANYTHING I WOULD REALLY APPRICIATE IT. I WOULDN'T MIND A CAREER ON THE LOCAL LEVEL BUT I AM MORE INTERESTED IN THE STATE OR NATIONAL LEVEL. I AM SPECIFICALLY INTERESTED IN HOW TO GET STARTED. I AM TWENTY-TWO NOW. I AM AFRAID THAT I MIGHT BE TOO OLD TO GET STARTED.
stevehaddock gave this response on 8/21/2000:
First, get involved with the political party of your choice. Political campaigns NEVER have enough help, and many require help even in between elections. Your local campaign office will be happy to sign you up with your party to give you more standing than merely registering to vote for your party.
This road is hard and long. Volunteers work long hours in miserable weather doing canvassing (door to door to do informal polling), putting up signs, calling people who have provided support in the past, giving rides to older people to the polls, volunteering to count ballots on election day, and cleaning up afterwards. No matter what your skills (or lack thereof) there is a job for you.
Strangely enough, the party out of power gives the best opportunities. Everyone wants to follow a winner and if your party has a bad history in your part of the country they will be begging for candidates. You have a better chance of losing, but also a better chance of being nominated. Many politicians with great careers have come from the "out of favour" party. George McGovern was probably the only Democratic Senator from South Dakota in the 20th Century.
Run for dog catcher if you have to. While a pattern of winning is nice, many famous politicians have lost - and a lot. Lincoln only won three elections in his political career - two of those for president.
Choose a university career of your choice, but aim for a degree in politics, law, or business. The overwhelming majority of elected officials are from one of these three disciplines.
The last part is the hardest - getting money. Unfortunately, unless you're rich already, that means you have to suck up to people who have some. Luckily, there are a lot of rich Democrats too.
As for men in their mid-20's who started in politics, there is one such gentleman who, despite his father being involved in politics, didn't get involved until after he graduated university. He's been doing it ever since. You may have heard of him... Al Gore.
A viewer rated this answer:
EVEN THOUGH I AM A REPUBLICAN I HOPE TO ACHEIVE WHAT AL GORE HAS. THNX
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