Over the weekend I enjoyed a late night strategy session with a friend who might be the closest thing I have to a campaign manager right now. Bless his heart, he studied the numbers and based on demographics actually thinks I have a chance to win this thing.
“You have a really good chance at winning the 18 - 35 year olds and a lot of the college-educated crowd.”
“Oh you mean of whom 99.999% currently have no idea who I am?”
“Yes!” He replied, with unrelenting confidence. “But we need to get you prepped. Quick — what are the top three things you would want to accomplish in Congress?”
“Accomplish? I'm not sure. I want to fight for higher pay and better treatment of workers, universal healthcare…”
"No, no,” he interrupted, “Not fight for. Accomplish!”
“You can’t accomplish any one of those things as a single rep! I would be another fighter towards getting those things eventually done. And if you believe in those causes, you need more representatives like me. However, those are long-term ambitions that need more support in Congress to get done. It is not something I can promise to ‘accomplish' by myself."
“That’s not good enough, Chris. People want results, voters want to know your plan, they want to know your…”
“…my what? My agenda? Why do I have to come into Congress with any sort of agenda? How is that my job? Last time I checked, my job title would be representative. My job is to be my district’s vessel. My job is to be their voice, to get done what THEY want me to get done, and unfortunately right now, I don’t have their wishlist in front of me.”
We continued on for the better part of two breakfast platters and continuous refills of the weakest coffee I’ve ever had. I fell asleep like a baby when I got home despite having at least four or five cups. The takeaway was that I have my opinions on certain policies, I have certain beliefs, and certain priorities. I will always be pro-labor, I believe that any civilized society should protect its own with guaranteed no-cost healthcare. However, as pertinent as these and other issues might be in revealing my character to the voters; ultimately if I ever get elected, my job isn’t to push my beliefs onto them. My job is to get the voters to trust that I will always represent their priorities.
“Well that’s certainly unique,” said my friend.
“Yeah, well, it shouldn’t be.”
“Ok, we’ll go with that,” he concluded. “We’ll play the whole ‘literal representative’ angle. But how about coming up with some quick soundbites on at least two other main talking points?”
“Oh you’re giving me homework now?”
“Get used to it.”
And before we left, he made me practice a campaign pitch on an unsuspecting waitress. Thank you to the Norms in Orange for hosting our strategy session and to our server, Martha. I look forward to the next one.