I just came across a cool new tool for anyone who has ever toyed with the idea of running for office. It’s a new site, RunForOffice.org.* You simply enter your home address, and the site finds all the offices you’re eligible to run for (assuming you meet other qualifications) in the next few years. You can then select from the list an office you’re interested in, and the site gives you a description of that office and instructions on how to get yourself on the ballot. The site also has some tools to help you run a campaign. I don’t know enough about the topic to judge the quality of those tools, but I love the idea of the site just making it so easy for people to get started.
For Democrats/Progressives hoping to fight Trump & the Republican agenda and also hoping to win future national elections, it’s going to be really important to start building from the ground up, getting involved at the local level. Republicans have been really strong in recent years at filling elected offices at every single level of government, from local school boards on up. Democrats have mostly neglected everything other than the highest federal offices. So while we anti-Trump peeps were shocked & devastated by Trump’s win, we also have to take note of the fact that Democrats have been demolished on a local level. This didn’t all just happen in 2016 – it’s been happening throughout the Obama presidency, growing steadily worse with each election cycle – but 2016 really underlined the problem. With Republican gains in 2016, they now control 69 out of 99 state legislatures and 33 out of 50 governorships. They have complete control (where they control both the legislature & the governorship) in 25 states. Democrats have complete control in just 5.
Needless to say, this is not good news for Democrats in the here & now, and it also makes it hard for them to develop candidates for higher office. Democrats and others who oppose Trump are going to have to find multiple ways to combat him. But getting more people into office who can battle him at every level & building up a strong bench is one of the ways we can begin. This new site is a clever way to help people who want to be part of that but aren’t quite sure how to start.
*I found this site because it was recently posted on Talking Points Memo, which is one of my essential daily reads. It’s a great source for breaking news, and founder & editor Josh Marshall also has really smart insights in his “Editors Blog” posts. While he and the site do have a lefty lean in terms of editorial viewpoint, they’re very careful about always being accurate and honest and making sure they get the facts right.