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May 13, 2003
crazy people don't like me

Hey folks, I am Mooseontheloose and I have been working in American politics and policy for a few years of and on. Last year got a little busy for me, I am no longer working for a local Congressperson, I am now doing policy analysis/lobbying for a local non-profit in the northeast, after getting my Master's in Public Policy/Administration.

Some background: I have been on Senate, House, city council, and state house campaigns in various roles for Democrats. I have a policy degree from a non-ivy. I am by no means an expert or David Axelrod but I have some knowledge on this whole sector. I am not the end all or be all of this subject and my word should be taken with grains of salt.

Some questions off the bat:

1. Is politics/policy worth it?
Yes we need good people with good ideas on how to change/making the government and its policies better. I truly believe that small movements can grow into bigger ones and create positive change. It's not easy, it's not always fun, but it's worth it when you are able to achieve in a small amount of success. Policy is especially worth it to study and learn. Learning how to work/change the system is CRITICAL in passing any policy and understanding WHY policy is put in place gives amazing context for why certain thing are the way they are.

2. Seriously though....
Yaaaah. I know. There is hope to be had though. I think the election of President Trump awoke a lot of millennials that you actually have to show up and there are some signs that Gen X and Millennials are way more liberal than boomers. And again, the system only works if we get more people to participate. Inaction only benefits those in power and especially conservative movements. They bank on your apathy.

3. Should I join a BIG SENATE RACE vs. tiny state house/city council race?
So big races you get to meet a lot of people quickly and if you work hard you meet a lot of good staff people who know other people. The issue is that you most likely have to volunteer to even have a shot of being noticed or to meet enough people to make it worth it. Additionally, jobs are tough to come by unless you are in the ground floor. Smaller races allow you to have more control and make a name for yourself quickly but limits the amount of people who notice your work. You are more likely to get a job because the pool of people is smaller and should this person go some place, you are on the ground floor. Also, you have a good idea of operations.

Age is a factor here too. It is might be worth it when you are young to take the big senate race to make your connections but it also might be worth it to take the risk of a smaller candidate becoming bigger when you are younger.

4. I want to be the next Josh Lyman/Olivia Pope/fictional operative right away...
Ok. Full stop unless you are Bush Clinton Kennedy the VII, these jobs are rare and hard to get to and even those who have connections are thrown into the minor leagues to make sure they are ready. You either have to eat/breathe/sleep politics AND participate on national level (meaning nationally recognized not Presidential) fairly young. It's super hard to skip steps in politics and while there are stories here and there about some 25 year old wunderkin, look at the last few Presidents and their inner circles. Fairly older people, who have been around for awhile. Don't expect quick success, be surprised when you achieve it.

5. Where can I find campaign jobs?
Jobsthatareleft, Mantos List, HillZoo are your best bets. Find local activists groups or consultants, send in your resume. Also, both parties (Democrats/Republicans) congressional and senate election committees have resume banks.

6. Where can I find policy jobs?
I wish I knew, if you can show me let me know! Don't be afraid to ask around.

7. I am a Republican/in the business can I contribute to this thread?

Please do!

8. Can you help me get a job?
It's hard to recommend randos on the internet. I am happy to talk about opportunities and I think it's best to talk over PM.

uh...Please don't doxx anyone in this thread. Politics is a EXTREMELY fickle business and exposing people on an internet forum because you disagree with them or hate politics could be really harmful to people's livelihoods. I know I take that risk posting here but I really believe in demystifying politics.

10. Lawn sings joke goes here.
Alternative titles for this thread: How I learned to hate lawn signs and their waste of resources.

11. Education, politics and policy...what degrees should I get?
Broadly speaking almost any degree can lead to policy or a political career. That being said, DO NOT GET A LAW DEGREE FOR THE SAKE OF GETTING INTO POLITICS OR POLICY. There are numerous accredited public policy programs that can help get your foot in the door. Law degrees are good for practicing law and making connections (maybe) but you by no means HAVE to have a law degree to have a career in politics.

edit: if a mod could put the ask tag on, I would appreciate it! I thought I did.


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