Saturday, November 19, 2011

Time for the 99% To Seek Elected Office

This is a guest post by Ben Donahower who blogs about campaign lawn signs at Campaign Trail Yard Signs. Ben's an expert on political marketing and recently edited and coauthored a get out the vote guide with seven other political consultants.  Here's his take on the Occupy Wall Street Crowd.

Ben Donahower
99% of people in this country are hurting while 1% of Americans are incredibly wealthy. It's almost  no wonder that 11% of people think America should become a communist country edging out support for Congress by two full percentage points. That's not a joke. That's the results of a recent Gallup poll.

To make a long story short, we're in desperate need of political leadership. The good news is that it's coming. There are occupiers in small towns and every major city in America who are taking a stand. Voters across the country sent a strong message in the last election that we won't stand for turning back the clock on workers' rights or voting rights or  a variety of other issues.

The 99%  literally can't afford to leave a stone unturned. In addition to voting and activism, the 99% must run for, and win, elected office. In addition to occupying the streets, The 99% needs to occupy town halls, state Capitols, and Congress as elected officials. And now is the time to start doing it! 

The Populist Era Is Coming

I'm no historian, but I do know that the last time  captains of industry had it so good, and everyone else had it so bad, the 99% of the day took political power back from the ultra rich. You only need to look around you for a few moments to see that this happening again. It's time for ordinary people to get involved in politics. It's time for the 99% to make their voices heard in government.

Advice to the 99% on Running for Office

  • You don't have to run for Congress right away. In 2012, therer are many state legislative races and some local races in some states. These lower profile races are more manageable to win and have a huge impact on our daily life.
  • Money is easier to raise than ever and you need less than you think How many people  do you know? Think about it for a second. Between  family, friends, coworkers, alumnae from the schools you attended, members of your church and other clubs or organizations you might belong to, you know thousands of people. Now multiply that number by $50. That's enough money to run a winning campaign in 90% of the local elections in 2012.
  • You're not doing this alone. Whether you are working with local activsts who know their way around a campaign, searching on Google for direction, or working with a professional consultant, there are resources to walk you through the process of running for office.

Don't let me fool you, though, running for office isn't a walk in the park. I know because I've been a volunteer, professional staff, and a candiate myself. There will be times that you will curse the day that you decided to run or feel like you don't have a chance at winning.

Fortunately, the opposite is true too and with some strategic thinking and hard work you might just win!

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