Running for office is not for everyone–and it may not be for you. There are many ways to change political outcomes without having your name on the ballot. One of them is to work. Work for a campaign. Work for a community effort. Just get to work.
This writing may appear hypocritical to write for a PAC that supports candidates of color. But, here is the thing–working builds the bench more effectively than a first-time candidate with no prior political experience running and losing. Our country needs your passion, energy, creativity, and activism for a lifetime. If you run without experience and support, you will most likely lose. You’ll be marred by the experience. You’ll feel jaded by how you were treated (or ignored) by the establishment. You’ll be in debt because your campaign was woefully underfunded. You’ll be worn out because you did not enter the race with a group of supporters who would stuff envelopes, make phone calls and knock doors with you.
Instead of jumping into the race now, get to work. Find a candidate or two that you like, and volunteer for their campaign. Make phone calls and knock doors for them. Attend events and speak on their behalf (with permission). Serve as a body-man and attend events with the candidate. Throw a fundraiser at your home or favorite restaurant. Show up at a rally or parade and engage voters. Work the polls on election day–better yet, become a Precinct Committeeperson. Join a local political club. Many are based on the township, county or special interest (African American, Latino, LGBTQ, Union, etc.) level.
This is how you build a name for yourself in politics. This is how you learn how politics works. This is where you build relationships and create a following who will support you when it’s time to run for office. This is how you build a base. This is where and how the work is done.