As covered in the previous entry in the Guide to Presidency series, most presidents have had political experience prior to being elected, which brings up one important question: how would you even go about getting political experience? And as you would expect from a blog post that starts with a question, explaining ways to get into politics is what we’re talking about today. In particular, we’re going to go over methods to start small in local politics and work your way up.
Know Your Local Politicians
If you’re looking to get into local politics, you’re probably going to want to know about your local politics. Learning about your local politicians can help you get a good idea of who you support, who your potential competition is, and the general structure of your local political landscape. Luckily, Voterly is a wonderful source for information on any politician you could think of and more.
Get Your Name Out There
No matter how much you know about the political scene in your area, you’re never going to make any impact if you don’t put yourself into the public eye. Making connections and gaining supporters is possibly the most important thing for any politician — after all, a politician who no one knows isn’t much of a politician at all. Some ways to get your name out there are:
- Volunteer For Local Campaigns — Supporting local politicians by volunteering for them can help you build connections with your local political leaders and fellow volunteers or other politically active community members. Everyone you make a good impact on is a potential supporter, so the more people you meet, the better. Volunteering can also help you understand the inner workings of your local political scene, which will allow you to plan campaigns better.
- Organize and Attend Local Political Events — If your city/town has any political events — protests, parades, speeches, rallies, etc. — you should consider attending them. They’re a good place to meet other politically active people and connect with important political figures in your area. Getting in contact with the organizers of these events and working with them in their future plans can help you get more connected with the people who run your local political community.
- Speak Up — Attend town hall meetings and other local political discussions and actually speak your mind. Of course, you don’t want to be rude, but just sitting in the corner in silence isn’t going to get you noticed — you have to make yourself heard.
Make Use of Resources
There are many organizations that are devoted to helping various groups get elected into office, such as Emerge America and Veterans Campaign. These organizations and others like them provide training in order to give underrepresented groups the skills needed to get more influence in politics. There are also many books written by politicians that give insight into how to run for office and become influential in politics.
Run for Local Office
Once you’ve made a name for yourself in your local political scene, it’s time to become one of the local politicians who you’ve been following for so long. Smart small — run for city council or mayor — and make use of your connections. The people you’ve met and worked with are more likely to help you than some other candidate who they don’t know, which is why having connections is important. Being elected to your first political position, no matter how small, is a huge step in your journey to presidency. From your first political position, you can work your way up to the presidency, making more and more valuable connections along the way.
Why Do it This Way?
This whole process is a ton of work, so why do it this way? There’s been presidents with no prior political experience, after all, so why should you go through such a long and arduous political journey to achieve your end goal — the presidency? Well, not having had any political experience will put you at a disadvantage in comparison to all of your fellow presidential candidates with political experience — most people will trust a politician in a political position more than a pizza delivery person, for example. Plus you’re going to need lots of connections to properly advertise yourself as a presidential candidate, and this pathway just happens to get you lots of connections.