Top 26 Reasons NOT to run for political office

If you’re considering a run for political office, I’m sure there are a lot of sirens calling you:  the limelight, the paycheck, the posh office, the masses of partisan hacks treating you like a savior, and of course, the opportunity to ‘do good.’  But there are a ton of things that can easily make throwing your hat into the ring the worst decision you’ve ever made.  Review this list (in no particular order) carefully and make sure none of these apply to you before you put your name on the ballot.

  1. Your spouse.  A political candidate must spend every second of every day working, campaigning and fundraising.  Plan to spend most dinners without your husband if he’s running for political office.
  2. Your kids.  Unless they’re very young or in high school or college, you better put off running for office until they’re less likely to feel totally abandoned when you don’t show to the recital/school play/baseball game/spelling bee.
  3. You like the attention.  Nobody can stand the guy who runs just so his name will be in the papers.  Don’t be that guy.
  4. You don’t like the attention.  The media always puts the candidate’s feet to the fire (especially if you’re Republican). If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
  5. A party hack is pushing you into it.  If you can find no solid, logical reason to run for office, but the chairman of the county GOP is promising you the moon and stars and tons of campaign funding if you run, you’re probably just a sacrificial lamb.  Often times the local party simply needs someone to fill the GOP slot on the ballot, especially against impossible-to-beat opponents.  If you think that may be what’s going on, don’t risk your reputation on an impossible campaign.
  6. You might just win.  Don’t forget, if you win, you actually have to do the job.  That will mean (more) time away from family, lots of travel, and lots of listening to everyone else’s problems.  And unless you’re running for a national office, the pay is probably not worth it.
  7. You have an ax to grind. You hate the incumbent with a red-hot passion, or you have a particular bone to pick with the Democrat party for one reason or another.  Whatever the case is, if you’re holding a grudge, it’s too emotional for you.
  8. It’s an easy win.  It’s a slam-dunk Republican district and nobody else has applied for the job.  Sure, it’s nice, but if you don’t have the genuine desire to do the work, you’re doing the constituents a disservice and wasting taxpayer money.
  9. You’re in it for the money/perks.  The money is NOT worth it.  Even if you’re running for POTUS.  Seriously.
  10. You want to change the world.  So, so many politicians run their first campaign on the “I’m going to fix (insert capital city here)” platform.  You think you’re the fresh face who’ll really shake things up.  Oh, you sweet, naive candidate; instead of running for office, preserve your innocence and become a Tea Party activist.  You’re much more likely of succeeding there.
  11. You’re only really interested in one issue.  If you’re the ‘pro-life’ candidate, the ‘traditional marriage’ candidate or you want to run on the issue of the day and not much else, you won’t last long – probably not even throughout one whole campaign.  If you can’t delve deep into a myriad of political issues, stick with a activist group for the issue you care about.
  12. There’s no one else running.  Nobody likes to ‘settle,’ and you certainly don’t want to be the one they ‘settle’ for.  “Because you can” is not a good reason to become a candidate.
  13. It looks good on a resume. This is probably only true if you win.
  14. You have to quit your day job to do it.  Never, ever quit your day job to run for office. Ever.  Quitting is only an option if you’re already a politician and planning to run for a high profile office.
  15. You have to spend your own money to run.  Don’t go into debt for your campaign.  Ever. No exceptions.
  16. You’ll run your own campaign instead of enlisting a campaign manager.  This is the worst thing a candidate can do to himself.  Candidates that try to manage their own campaign usually drive it right into the ground.
  17. You’re special because you’re different. You can not base an entire campaign platform on the fact that you’re a Republican woman, a black conservative, a pro-gay rights Republican or a pro-life Democrat.  If you are one of these things, just ignore it, unless you want to be the flash-in-the-pan ‘token’ candidate.
  18. You’ve been behind the scenes and now you want to be in the limelight.  You’ve worked on campaigns in the past and boy, the grass sure looks greener on the candidate’s side…I assure you, it isn’t.
  19. You think everyone cares as much as you do.  Unless you are actually in the business of politics in one way or another, nobody really cares about politics.  The ‘average voter’ is thinking about 765,493,910 things before they are thinking about you, your race, or your issues.
  20. You owe back-taxes of any kind.  They WILL find out.
  21. You’ve done drugs or have been an alcoholic.  See 20.
  22. You’ve had an affair or other sexual misconduct.  They will find out, and so will your spouse and kids. You’ll lose a lot more than a campaign.
  23. Your dad/grandfather/great-grandfather held political office.  Political offices are not family heirlooms.  At least, not so much, any more.
  24. You just want to be a politician.  There are actually college majors designed to groom people to run for office.  This is the most disingenuous approach to political candidacy I’ve ever seen.  ‘Political official’ is not a career!
  25. You like power.  You’ll actually have a lot less. Especially if you win.
  26. You don’t like asking for money.  Political candidates spend half their time begging people for money.  If you can’t look your friends, family and total strangers in the eye and ask them for $1,000, forget running for office.

Political campaigning is not for the faint of heart.  Think twice before you sign on the dotted line and become a political candidate!

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2 thoughts on “Top 26 Reasons NOT to run for political office

  1. 27. You can’t think of a detailed platform to run on.
    28. You don’t have the infrastructure and support network to run a strong campaign.
    29. You are relatively new to the community and have yet to build rapport in the area.
    30. You are doing it to compete with someone who could be considered a rival.

  2. 31. You can’t afford campaign collateral i,e, professional photos, logo, website
    32. You can’t articulate your positions without bumper sticker slogans

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