Lots of people don’t even think about the state legislature. They vote for the president of the United States and that’s all, and a lot of people don’t even bother to vote in the primaries in the presidential elections. Then, the same people wonder why the election keeps on getting decided for them and they don’t understand how they ended up with this particular person in charge. If you don’t vote in the state elections, I have less sympathy for you.
Too many people think of the United States as being a federation. It is one, but this is really not a country that is the same in every state. International visitors make that mistake all the time, thinking that the culture of the American South, or possibly Los Angeles and New York, represent the whole of the United States. Every state is like its own country in many ways, with many different unique laws and many different unique customs, even if a few federal laws unite the states.
The fight over healthcare over the course of the last decade has been devastating, and yet people in certain states have had healthcare the whole time. Gay marriage is now the law of the land, but it was the law of the land in some states for years. Fireworks are misdemeanors or worse in some states, and they are completely legal in others. Marijuana is a prison sentence in some states and a legal and encouraging health aid in others.
Do you ever wish that you could at least carve out a space where people agree with you politically and let you live the life that you choose, even if you can’t make it happen for the hundreds of millions of people in the United States? That’s the whole point of the state legislature. We help people decide how they want to live locally, knowing that getting everyone in this disparate country to agree on everything is really difficult. You have your sandbox and they have theirs. We’re the people in charge of how much sand you want in your particular sandbox, and that’s more than enough.
Lots of people don’t think that it counts unless it is national. However, all this means is that you’re letting people in Texas decide how people in Massachusetts are going to live. People in New York already want to live differently from people in Utah in most cases, and the laws that they have enacted have proven that over and over again. It is that much more important for people to remember that it is actually possible to remedy this situation.
You might not like the president. You might think that every single presidential election represents the battle between a rock and a hard place. Maybe you’ll even think that about state legislature. However, if you at least let your vote count in the context of the state legislature, you will at least be able to make sure that you tried to carve out a space in the country that you’re going to like.
Holding a fundraising gala is definitely one of the best parts of actually being on the campaign trail. Yes, you’re there to work. Yes, you’re there to network. Yes, putting the whole thing together in the first place was a great deal of work for everyone involved and it will be for you as well. However, it is that much more important for people to be able to actually have some fun with the campaign trail at this stage in the game. You can actually do that at a fundraising gala.
Putting the thing together in the first place is so exhausting that there is going to be a big voice in your head that is practically begging you at all times to give it up and somehow use the money in a more ‘constructive’ way, which means a way that is going to be easier for you to arrange. However, you press on, you end up with a bunch of wealthy donors that are there and that are going to actually give you huge portions of the money that you need to actually get ahead.
One night with these wealthy donors can mean more than hours and hours of phone banking. Phone banking is great and you need someone who is going to be able to finance you even in a small way. Getting a bunch of people to contribute small amounts of money is more realistic than getting a large number of people to contribute large amounts of money, even though the latter is obviously better. Getting small numbers of people to contribute large amounts of money is also more realistic, and the two approaches have to be combined.
It seems like asking fifty people to give you a dollar might be a more difficult way to make fifty bucks than asking one person to give you fifty bucks. However, if we’re talking about fifty thousand dollars, finding one person to give you the fifty thousand is often going to be harder than asking for the money from a bunch of different people, all of whom are going to give you varying amounts of money and many of whom are going to give you enough to justify the phone call. However, it is frustrating to do that while still having to keep in mind that one person giving you the fifty thousand dollars would be more than enough to end all of this and that one wealthy donor could stop it all right there. That’s where the fundraising gala comes into play.
You can really have some fun at the event. It is still going to be a glamorous evening in some cases. You know that this is the sort of evening that you always picture when you start working as someone’s campaign manager. You picture yourself in the suit going around to different events and schmoozing with all of the potential donors that are there.
I love being on the road when it comes to a campaign. People act like the traveling is the hard part a lot of the time. It’s not. It’s the downtime. It’s the bus that you take to school the day before final exams. You want to savor the proverbial bus ride because before long, you’re going to have real challenges and real difficulties ahead of you and you don’t know how it’s going to go for you or whomever you’re managing.
I like being on the road and seeing the United States. That’s actually one of the best parts about being anyone’s campaign manager. You actually get to see big portions of the country that you’re trying to run. You can really get the chance to experience the ways in which the United States is different all over. People still try to talk about how the US is really just ‘us.’ If there’s one thing that I can tell you about being a campaign manager, it is that this is not the case.
The US looks different everywhere. The customs and personalities of the people that you are likely to meet will be different everywhere. Everything about this place is completely different from one area to the next, and that is what people are going to have to realize if they are actually interested in finding a way to succeed in elections. The US is a lot of different cultures in one. It always has been. It always will be. You will see it for yourself when you are on the road again, transitioning from the endless forests of the Pacific Northwest and New England to the endless Great Plains of the Midwest to the lake towns to the deserts and to the mountains. You’ll see it in the different campaign issues that people will bring up, and you’ll see it as you try to convince your electorate of different things in different areas.
One of the great things about local government is that this is less of a problem. You’re still going to have to deal with disparate cultures, since even in a state, people are going to be different from one another in a lot of very real ways. People who live in cities and people who live in the suburbs have a very different cultural experience. People who live in the country, if applicable, are even more different still. There is no way of getting around the fact that running a campaign means trying to appeal to a lot of different people at once, and they don’t act like a fluid and solid electorate even when all of you live within the same state lines.
However, once again, it is exciting to see your home state. It’s cool to see the different ways that so many different people can experience the same area. From there, you can start to see things from their perspective a little bit more. You can get a sense of how they live their lives. We all see the same sky at night and during the day, but you have to see it from their corner. I think that this is one of the benefits of actually traveling from place to place during a campaign and that this is one of the things that we’ll lose if the campaigns of the future go online entirely.