Looking for online communities for newbie politicians?
August 20, 2007 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for online forums/community for politicians, especially for newbies, especially for independents, especially on how to get elected, best states to run in for different political bents, etc.
posted by libertaduno to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think anything like this exists, save for Campaigns and Elections, the magazine. Is it that you are looking for political experience or are you looking for a weak seat to run for?

Don't set your sights too high. The best way is to start small, like school board or council, in a town where you are already known. Moving rarely works (except for Mike Gravel, who moved to Alaska to become a senator and had no previous experience there.) I would recommend that you contact people in your own community who are elected in the bent you are ready for run with and get yourself set up with that group and see who might be stepping down or who they might want you to step up against. You should also contact some losers, people who ran with your bent and did not win so that you can learn what did not work and that you should avoid.

I am planning on running for mayor of Berkeley, CA in 2008 and have followed this plan to the letter.
posted by parmanparman at 11:00 AM on August 20, 2007


thanks for your reply.

i'm looking for a bunch of things.

- how to get started
- what states will be most receptive to my basic political beliefs (fiscal con, social lib)?
- what states are most receptive to independents, or what states have the weakest dem/repub machines?
- others like me to network with, learn from, assist.

I have lived 8 yrs each in Phily and Chicago, but that was awhile back. I've been living in Asia and South America for the last decade, so I suspect I could really live anywhere in the US and politically I would face about the same hurdles. IOW, moving back to Philly or Chicago will not be much easier than starting fresh in New Hampshire or California.

Thanks for your advice and best of luck with your run.
posted by libertaduno at 11:30 AM on August 20, 2007


If nothing else, i think you've all identified a GREAT new kind of website to start. Runforoffice.com or something to that effect.
posted by rileyray3000 at 12:17 PM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


We need more "normal" folk to run too. This career politician thing is the cause of a lot of our corruption and mismanagement issues.
posted by crewshell at 12:30 PM on August 20, 2007


PS. Runforoffice.com is taken.
posted by crewshell at 12:31 PM on August 20, 2007


- what states will be most receptive to my basic political beliefs (fiscal con, social lib)?

The Free State Project identified New Hampshire as the most libertarian-friendly, small state. Their criteria sound pretty similar to yours.
posted by ewiar at 1:41 PM on August 20, 2007


New Hampshire can pretty insular, though - it's some sort of New England tic that seems to be especially prevalent in NH and ME, where it helps to have lived there for three generations before you're considered a "local." People who move to a distric and run for office higher than school board are often looked at as carpetbaggers; as a long-time voter and no-time politician, I do at least want my candidate to be very, very familiar with the community s/he wants to represent.

I imagine that one of the best training grounds for running for office is to work for a campaign. Find someone who's running that you like, and volunteer for their campaign. It doesn't have to be a high-visibility campaign (e.g. presidential); start local, or at least regional, and you'll have a better chance of doing something more than flyering or stuffing envelopes.
posted by rtha at 2:07 PM on August 20, 2007


anyone want to collaborate on building such an online community? I have web design/programming skills, some time and lots of servers with a tier1 connection to the net.

obviously I don't consider myself an RFK or Hillary Clinton who can move anywhere they like and immediately run for US Senator.

For me, this is a lifetime project and I certainly do intend to start very very local.
posted by libertaduno at 4:14 PM on August 20, 2007


You may want to have a look at Richard Winger's Ballot Access News, although it is focused on issues of ballot access.

There have been a lot of laws passed in the last few years to make it more and more difficult to run for office, or to get any sort of visibility if you get past that. I tried running for state representative last year, and you need to have a small team organized well in advanced and have laywers at your disposal when you begin.
posted by action man bow-tie at 5:06 PM on August 20, 2007


For some background on the kind of battles you might face, take a look at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/sep2006/illi-s22.shtml

The 2-party system is increasingly putting up a mighty fuss about any challenges to their monopoly.
posted by action man bow-tie at 5:18 PM on August 20, 2007


This site sounds like what you are looking for: GrassRoots Initiative . (I know the person who started this.)
posted by sweetkid at 5:50 PM on August 20, 2007


thanks, good links, tho GRI appears to be just for new york (city) and is more top-down where i would love to have a bottom-up peer to peer community/forum.

those shenanigans in IL are ridiculous. i am no fan of socialism but this 2-party hegemony is not democratic. "I do not agree with your platforum, but I'll defend to the death your right to campaign on it." ;)
posted by libertaduno at 7:24 PM on August 20, 2007


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