Project Wonderful

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hands Down My Favorite Conversation on Twitter Ever

I thought I was geeking out when Joshua Lyman tweeted me, but this is a whole other kind of surreal, mostly in its greatness.

As you may remember, earlier this month I posted about an ad from fellow Jumbo and Congressional candidate, Carl Sciortino, who is running in the special election to replace Ed Markey. At the time I was promoting the ad, not the candidate, but after this convo I am all in for Carl Sciortino.

It all began when my first boss on campaigns and good friend, who we will call M because he doesn't know how the internet works, responded on twitter to my post. M recently transitioned to being a Chief of Staff for a Congressman who we will call Rep. X, because I think that is a cool name. JC refers to M's predecessor.

Okay that's awesome, right? But it gets so much better.

And to top it off, M's boss, who is my favorite Congressional tweeter.

Just A+ to everyone here, the campaign staff, the Congressman, the future Congressman, the future spouse of Congressman. This is why I love campaign people. Go Carl!

Doing Volunteer Appreciation Right

This is from some of my dear friends at the Bill Thompson campaign who threw a post-election party for their volunteers with a sign-in sheet cake! I LOVE the creativity and I love even more that they took the time to celebrate their hard work even though they had a disappointing result. Lots of love to them and congratulations on a hard-fought race!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ask an Election Nerd: Will Volunteering on a Campaign Help Me Get a Job?

Now that the NYC primaries are over I have gotten questions from no fewer than three non-campaign colleagues asking if volunteering on general election campaigns might help them get a job in the administration. The short answer is no, probably not, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Here's why volunteering for a candidate is a bad strategy for trying to get a job once that candidate is elected into office.

1) Campaign staff can't even get the jobs they want in government. After every campaign there are always a plucky bunch of campaign staffers who attempt to follow their candidate to the hill, the state house, or respective government and district offices. While some are successful, time and time again I have seen my friends passed over for government jobs because there simply aren't enough positions for people who don't have previous legislative/government experience. It's true, lots of newly elected New York City officials will be looking to hire staff in November, but many will be bringing their staff with them. The remaining positions are likely to go to staffers with experience elsewhere in the city or state government who have just lost their jobs to the new election. Then there are political favors to account for, interns, campaign staffers etc. If it's so competitive for campaign staffers to get these jobs, what are the chances of you as a volunteer making the cut through the same avenue?

2) The ratio of volunteers to staff jobs is insane. Even on the crummiest, most bare-bones campaign I have ever worked on, I had 100 volunteer shifts on election day. Sure, not all of these volunteers are patronage seekers, but supply and demand is just not in your favor here (see above). To the extent that campaign volunteers do wind up hired on in the administration as a result of volunteer efforts, these are almost always people who have been working non-stop since the beginning of the campaign. If getting a job is the only reason you are thinking of volunteering, given the amount of work you would have to put in to make that plausible you would probably be better off putting that time and energy into applying for jobs or networking in other ways.

3) The work you will be doing bears no resemblance to the work done in a government office. Perhaps you think you will be able to usurp these supervols with your public policy skill set and political acumen. If you come in to my office to volunteer, I am going to ask you to knock doors and make phone calls. If you tell me you really think you would be more valuable to the campaign working on policy or communications, I am going to laugh at you and be even less inclined to help you. Then I am going to tell you to knock doors and make phone calls again. The type of volunteer work we need on a campaign is not very cerebral and won't give you the chance to show off your knowledge or talent, impressive as they may be. It is also very hard work to sustain doing happily if you are in it for the wrong reasons.

Bottom Line: No matter how dedicated or talented you are, you are not going to waltz in with a little over a month to go and waltz out with a community affairs position.

That said, there are a lot of very good reasons to volunteer on a campaign while you're on the job-prowl and I would absolutely encourage you to do so. Volunteering on a campaign WILL help you meet a lot of new people and make some good local political connections. In my experience if you do good solid work for campaign people, we are more than willing to go out of our way to help you when you need it. It might not be a job for the candidate, but maybe we know of an opening in another office, or maybe we will be able to recommend you when you find yourself applying for another position. Getting involved with a campaign also helps add structure and a sense of empowerment during the often very depressing job hunt. It gives you something to get up and do and be proud of, which I think helps you be more motivated and marketable in other parts of your life.

Also, in my personal and biased opinion, campaign people are one hell of a good time. We may not be able to pay you a salary but we are more than happy to pay you in pizza, appreciation and a fun environment that is more irreverent and fast-paced than you will find in most volunteer positions. Come see for yourself! Here's wishing us both luck on our job hunt!

Campaign Love and Mine,


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oh and If You Only VOMIT at One Political Ad...

Hat tip to Buzzfeed for sharing this angry-making, disgusting, fear-mongering piece of political nausea. The irony? Last time I checked it was the Republicans trying to get all up in my lady bits telling me what I can and can't do with my body. Well, a little truth never stopped the people trying to deprive us of healthcare before. Gross.

If You Only Watch One Political Ad Today

Carl Scortino (a Tufts Alum! Go Jumbos!) is running in the Massachusetts special primary to replace now Senator Ed Markey in Congress. Who is doing his media? Brilliant.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Ridiculous Things That Happened During New York's Primary This Week

As you know, I could not blog about specific campaigns during the New York City primaries because I was working on one and am I'm not an idiot. That didn't stop me from really, really wanting to however. And there was MUCH to blog about. For example, an intern talking to the press (WHAT?) and the Weiner campaign firing back and calling her a "slutbag" (BIGGER WHAT?). Maybe it's because I couldn't write, but there were SO MANY things I wanted to write about. Here are 5 things that happened in the last week alone that I wanted to share with you:

1) Corey Johnson Ad on Grindr
Corey Johnson is an LGBT Activist who beat Yetta Kurland for the New York City Council seat vacated by Christine Quinn. Grindr is a gay, ahem "dating" app, popular in the Chelsea district in which Johnson was running. Now THAT's thinking outside the box. (Zing!)

2) Vito Lopez INSANE sexual harassment flyer
Vito Lopez, a disgraced former Assemblyman better known as the Gargamel of Brooklyn politics lost his bid for a city council seat on Tuesday. Not before someone circulated this disgusting victim-blaming flyer about Lopez's sexual harassment scandals. You know someone is trustworthy when the New York Times quote on their literature is, "Denies all charges." Not bragging, but the flyer went viral when my former boss and FOCS, City Councilman Brad Lander, tweeted it.

3) Lawrence O'Donnell's Anthony Weiner Interview

These final three stories involved Anthony Weiner for whom my schadenfreude steadily dissipated as his public breakdown went from gratifying to cringeworthy. However, I think this story actually makes Weiner look good. Like high schoolers hanging out with ugly people to appear more attractive, O'Donnell's hyper-aggressive line of questioning makes Weiner seem sane. He starts out with "What's wrong with you?" and it goes on from there.

4)Anthony Weiner not on the voter rolls
Even as Boards of Election go, the NYC BOE really seems to be in a class of its own when it comes to incompetence. Say what you will about the former candidate, he is a registered voter. VERY alarming considering that few voters who might find themselves in similar predicament have the same resources or motivation to vote as Weiner, who did ultimately get to cast a ballot. Our Finance Director had to leave her polling place because of massive machine malfunctions and return to vote later in the day. Ask not for whom the bell of disenfrachisement tolls, New York City, it tolls for thee.

5) Weinermobile
This is actually a picture I took a couple of weeks ago, but come on guys, brilliance! Zoom in to see the hot dog truck with pictures of cell phones and Weiner's face.

Time to go get glamorous and beautiful for our GOTV (Get Out the Vodka) party! I missed you guys!

Campaign Love and Mine,