You don’t get a day off on the campaign trail. You might have to quit your job. Your personal life might go on pause until Election Day. You might not sleep. You’ll be living on old coffee and pizza.
And you’ll probably lose. (After all, incumbents win 90 percent of the time).
Winning isn’t necessarily easy, either. You’ll have to get right to work representing your constituents and keeping the promises you made during the campaign, plus you’ll likely immediately have to start working for your next election. You’ll have to balance short-term and long-term priorities, you’ll have to learn about policy issues you might never have encountered before, you probably won’t make much money, and you’ll spend a lot of time on stuff that’s really important—but you’ll get zero credit for it. You’ll deal with donors, press, coalitions, and constituency groups, and you’ll spend a lot of time in meetings with no results.
Do it anyway. Run for office. Even though it’s hard, even though you might lose, and even if you’re scared—especially if you’re scared—if you care about the future of our country and our democracy, you need to run. You can do this.
You really don’t have a choice. Look at the world right now.
As I’m writing this, Donald Trump is president. (Thanks, Vladimir Putin, for that.) In 2017, the Republican Party has total control of twenty-six state governments, runs the legislatures in seven others, and can have its way with the entire federal government.
If these (craven, spineless, shameless) elected officials carry out even some of their promises, we’re fucked.
The “party of Lincoln,” at any given moment, could take away health care from tens of millions of people (if they haven’t already). They could limit access to abortion and health care for women, disenfranchise minority voters, and deport millions. They want to lower taxes for the rich and in the process screw over the same voters who got them into office. At any moment, war seems imminent with at least a half dozen countries. Our public education system suffers while the private-prison industrial complex grows.