Advice to a Young Friend Running for Congress

As long as you’re running for Congress you will be spending six hours a day on your smartphone, dialing for dollars. Did they tell you that in the recruiting brochure?

First of all, I’m glad you’re doing it. You’re young, energetic and smart, and seem to have a moral compass that can still find true north, so you probably won’t do very much harm to anybody. At first. I’m glad you’re running as a Democrat, because the wind is at your back this year. But I have to tell you — you, and your party, are blowing it. Hugely.

You’re doing all the right things that all the right people tell you to do. You’re spending six hours a day and more on the phone, begging strangers for money, answering their inevitable question: “Where do you stand on (fill in the special-interest blank)?” Then with the little time you have left, you’re spending the money on consultants: fundraising consultants, social-media consultants, data-analysis consultants, communication consultants,  campaign-management consultants, consultant consultants. And after all the meetings you need to have with them, you rarely get a chance to go to a public event.

It feels wrong, doesn’t it? The reason it feels wrong is that it is wrong.

Those consultants you’re relying on either are, or were recommended to you by, the people who lost the most winnable campaign in the history of presidential elections. They were beaten by the worst candidate, running the worst campaign, in the history of presidential elections. Tell me, please, how is it they still have impeccable credentials?

They are telling you to do what the Hillary Campaign did — hew to the center line, or maybe a bit to the right, promise only to help some of the people some of the time, mind your donors, and above all be careful: comb and curry every single statement until it cannot possibly offend anyone, or help anyone, or make sense to anyone. Oh, and put your faith in the leading-edge application of Big Data, which will deliver your incomprehensible message with laser accuracy to the people least able to make sense out of it.

She lost. (Forget the Russians. What they did, despicable as it was, did not amount to a bag of hammers and sickles.) The significance of that election is not that Donald won, it is that Hillary lost it. And now you’re being told by everybody who is anybody to do exactly the same things in exactly the same way, in the hope that this time it will turn out differently.

What should you do? Start by taking another look at the 2015 fiasco. Who was the most exciting candidate for people capable of forming complete sentences and consecutive thoughts? Who proved for the first time in modern political history that you can run a major national campaign without either being rich, or paying any attention to the major, perennial campaign donors (his campaign did not even hire a fundraiser for the purpose)? Who drew crowds of unbelievable size, each bigger than the last, and who is today the most popular political person in America?

Of course you know who. And he not only showed you how to pay for your campaign without selling large chunks of your soul, he market-tested for you the perfect issue.

If you turn over your fundraising to the geeks who do email and social media, and from now on you say to every person you encounter the following:

I’m here today because I want every single person in this room to never again have to worry about how to find health insurance, how to pay for it, how to afford a doctor or dentist when you need one, how to pay for a hospital stay or the medications you need, to never again wonder whether you’re going to lose your home or your life’s savings because you get sick — I don’t want you to have to worry about any of that, ever again, as long as you live.

We can take that burden off your back, and we can do it soon. People are going to say we can’t afford it, and I want to ask them this; how is it every other civilized country on earth can afford it, but we can’t? You know who is just now finalizing the implementation of universal, single-payer health care insurance as a right for its people? Vietnam, that’s who.

Say that, and raise your money in 27-dollar increments. Reach out to the suffering millions in this country with passion, offering something that will tangibly, actually ease their burdens and their life. Don’t do it because the polls tell you it’s okay to do (actually, they do) or because the consultants tell you to do it (they won’t) or because the leadership of your party stands for it (they don’t). Do it because it’s right. Do it because you’re a leader. Do it because history rarely presents any candidate with a slam-dunk issue like this one.

Do it and you will win. Play it safe and you will not even be an asterisk in the political history of this sorry time.

You’re welcome.

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7 Responses to Advice to a Young Friend Running for Congress

  1. Craig Moodie says:

    The fact that you kowtow to this left vs right paradigm, shows how much you are out of touch with reality.

    • Robert Schick says:

      Couldn’t agree more Craig, that’s why i ended my subscription. Just checked in today, just in case the author became sane again. Nope.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      Reality is that 45,000 Americans die every year because they can’t get health insurance (according to a Harvard Medical School study). Reality is that health care costs twice as much per capita in the US than in the second most expensive country, with results that are inferior to most. In reality, the majority of personal bankruptcies in this country are due to medical bills. I personally know people who have committed suicide, have died for lack of treatment, have been forced into bankruptcy, or who suffer endlessly from a condition that money could fix. This has nothing to do with right vs left, it has to do with avoidable human suffering and death, from which rapacious predators are making fortunes. No other civilized country on earth permits this. I am very much in touch with this reality.

      • Tim says:

        Well said, Tom. Neither the political right nor left address this issue with the severity it deserves. Speaking to a sorry reality once more, your young friend needs must run with one of the big parties to be taken seriously by the public.

  2. BC_EE says:

    Yup, this is reality checking in on the post too. Since the Winter Olympics are commencing this parable is timely.

    An American and Canadian are competing in the moguls skiing event. They crash into each other and each breaks a leg. What’s the first thing through the American’s head? “How do I pay for this?” What is the first thing through the Canadian’s head? “Where do I get this fixed?”

    That is the difference. And don’t listen to all that bullshit about Canadians have to wait long times for medical services because that’s all it is, propaganda bullshit. My father was diagnosed with colon cancer and the next day he was in the operation room. Cost? $4.50 and that was for the Starbucks coffee once he recovered.

    This side of the 49th we find it both remarkable and absolutely ironically hypocritical that the U.S. fought the USSR all those years denouncing their excessive Pravda propaganda. The U.S. experienced the same, if not more and is still stuck in it.

    Every time we see on U.S news the debate devolve into left, right, Democrat, or Republican we don’t think erudite political debate. We think retards…

    In our system we are not forced into this false political structure of a two party system. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard coming from a nation that is supposed to be the bastion of freedom and democracy in the world. Its about as free as painting all your mailboxes the same in a covenanted community.

    Nor are we held as wage-slaves due to employer provided health insurance. And all this at the exorbitantly high price of 1/2 the U.S. system.

    Finally (just to throw this in because it comes up all-l-l the time to my great nausea), the President is NOT the Leader of the Free world. Never has been and never will be. Not my leader. Being the head of government that boasts hegemony through excessive militaristic might is, in fact, the opposite of a leader of the free world. Think about it. Nor are the NBA champions the World Champions, MLB are world champions because the U.S. is the only place they hold the playoffs. You see a trend here…?

    • Rob Rhodes says:

      I second your comment. My 66 yo Canadian heart is beating to its own rhythm. When I noticed I went to emergency, a stack of tests were done forthwith, a Holter monitor was scheduled (done) saw my GP soon after, she refered me to a Cardio who asked her to order two more tests before he sees me, one was done the next day, the other will happen in a week. And mine is not an urgent case. I am out the cost of getting to the appointments.

      By the way, MLB’s finals are called the World Series because the original sponsor was a newspaper of the same name, not because of any pretence to be the world championship of a game nobody else played. But yeah, that LOTFW crap……..

  3. Rob Rhodes says:

    While your “Young Friend” might prove very popular with such a pitch, s/he would be denied the nomination just as Bernie was.

    As odious as Trump is I still think you underestimate him. He beat both the GOP establishment and the Dems. He was the other guy filling stadiums while HRC couldn’t fill a high school gym. Clinton could probably have beaten anyone else in the Republican clown car, Bernie would have trounced them or the Orange Menace but was forbidden.

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