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Become a Politician

Updated on August 14, 2012

How to Become a Politician

A how to guide for people wanting to become a politician. How do you become a politician? How do you get started? What skills do you need?

This site features easy concepts, intuitive ideas, and helpful links to understand how to really become a politician. "Become a Politician" is an easy guide to becoming a local, state, or national politician. Learn how to get involved with a political party, campaign and what are the necessary characteristics of politicians.

Essential Political Books: Must Reads for Every Politician - Here are a few books which are helpful in the process of preparing to run for a political office.

The following books have been chosen because they set the foundation for your political thought. It is vital that you are grounded in American political philosophy and current on public policy alternatives. Each of the following books below I have read and studied.

Get involved with a Political Party

The most important step to beginning a political career is to get involved with a Political Party

Political Parties are a means by which politicians, voters, and platforms can be united. Under the banner of a political party politicians generally vote, and act upon the influence and platform (ideology) of the Party and Party officials.

Voters often choose who to vote for based upon which party the Politician is affiliated with and not always the ideals of the politician. This is especially evident in local and state elections where the politician campaigning is less recognizable to the voters.

The United States is a multi-party system, but favors two parties in particular. These political parties are the Republicans (Grand Old Party-GOP) and the Democratic Party. The majority of all legislatures and executive branch members on the national and state level are only from these two political parties. If you are interested in looking at multiple parties you can check out 25 political party websites here: Political Parties

The importance of getting involved in your party is to meet like-minded people that will help you in the future to get elected to different offices. This becomes important because the party is the life-blood to your early elections, and the only way to become President.

Ways to get involved

Help the party by volunteering to help your neighbors register to vote. Look for donations for local candidates and the party itself. Go to conventions on the state and local levels. Go to town hall meetings and other political meetings held by the party.

Meet the leadership of the party through emails, phone calls, or personal visits. Know your local officials and candidates. Be of service to them. Meet State legislators and get involved in the issues they face.

Campaign Tips

A list of tips to guide your campaign

1. Know why you are running! This is what will motivate you and voters will want to know.

2. Know why you are better than your opponent and be able to explain it to others well. Your opponent most likely has great attributes as well so do not discount them, just explain clearly why you would be a better choice.

3. In the beginning hold small private meetings with possible volunteers and fundraisers. Be specific about your ideas and your goals. Get them behind you. Tell them what they are really in-store for. Let them know your expectations. Then find out theirs.

4. Fundraise night and day! A politician, while campaigning is nothing more than a full-time fundraiser. When you are meeting people fundraise. When you are driving, sitting, or not in meetings call and fundraise. Money is the life-blood of your campaign. Good ideas and strong values wont get you elected if you can't share them with others.

5. Fill your staff positions with volunteers. This could mean recruiting at local colleges, community centers, high school government classes, etc. You can find skilled graphic artists, web designers, flyer distributors, and phone callers this way. Don't pay anyone you don't have too! This will save you lots of money and allow you to spread your message further.

6. Save money everywhere you can. Get discounts for buying in bulk. Look for ways to save money constantly. If you are always fundraising, it seems like a waste to be misusing your hard earned donations.

7. Be transparent. The donations you receive need to be recorded. Know when, where, and who gave you the money. Also know where it will be going. This is not only the law, but a great way to be throughout your political career. People feel like they can trust you.

8. Have a budget and most importantly stick to it!

9. Know what your constituency really thinks. It is important that you stick to your values, but you need to know what values voters want to hear about!

10. Listen. Too often politicians spend time talking and not enough time listening. Listening is often where your greatest ideas will come from. Listen to advisers, friends, family, and especially voters and other politicians. Don't be afraid to listen to your adversaries. Just because someone does not agree with you, does not mean that all their ideas and solutions are bad.

Politicians and "the People"

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute.

Abraham Lincoln

Necessary Characteristics for Becoming a Politician

  • Confidence

    In yourself, message, reasons for running, platform, values, staff, party, experience, abilities,and other necessary skills listed below.


  • Ability to Analyze objectively

    This means evaluating yourself, constituency, legislative body, agency, contemporaries, opponents, media, and party. It is not just evaluating, but also doing so without personal interests and feelings of included parties.


  • Speaking Skills

    They come in a different variety: average joe, teleprompter, off-the-cuff, emotional, charismatic, etc.


  • Writing Skills

    Politicians write a lot... as much as you think that they just get someone else to do it, they do a lot on their own. Especially local and state officials. Politicians write briefs, summaries, letters, proposals, bills, agendas, platforms, speeches, campaign material, biographies, personal statements, recommendation letters, etc.


  • Editing skills

    For those times when you are not the original writer. It is valuable to be able to edit important writing materials by staff members.


  • Intelligence

    After some of the politicians you have seen, this one seems obvious that you cannot do the job without it!


  • Cooperation

    Nothing ever gets done in politics without it. You hear too many "I will..." and not enough "Together...",and "We will.."


Warnings:

*Avoid making enemies, they will come naturally.

*Rudeness is always wrong and is not the same as confidence.

*Be sure of who you are, not what they want you to be.

Poltician's are...

Politicians really are...

American Democracy and Classic Liberalism - Now if you are a Republican, don't turn away... You are a classic liberal too!

The Liberal Tradition in America
The Liberal Tradition in America

America is based upon liberalism, not left or right, but true liberalism. Republicans and Democrats both fit under this category of political thought. Read the book and find out why.

 

Political Brick Wall

It hurts, doesn't it

Your campaign can stagnate fast if you are not careful. It only takes a few days to loose the momentum you have been working for all along. Often political campaigns are plagued with early efforts and a period of withdrawals. Volunteers dry up, donates cease to exist, and within a week you are broke.

That's when the polls change too! Don't hit the brick wall. Remember, campaigns are like sprint races. Watch a 100 meter run sometime. Athletes give everything for under 10 seconds! The key though is that they hold nothing back.

Likewise your campaign is short. It is no more than a year, unless it is Presidential, and requires you to give everything for the entire duration.

More helpful Books to get you started! - Some very important how-to guides, and political philosophy

It is vital that your platforms and policies are grounded in a philosophy that can be defensible. That is why these books are necessary for any campaign. For more Political Science books check out Cheap Political Science Books...

Albert Einstein

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs."

Reader Comments - Come on, you know you want too!

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    • seodress profile image

      seodress 4 years ago

      Very informative.

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Great info thanks...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a great idea for a lens. I hope that many, many good people come across this lens and that this lens manages to escape the attention of bad people! :) Well done!

    • bruce21st profile image

      bruce21st 5 years ago

      With US citizens being more skeptical toward politicians, the bipartisanship system that dominates the legislation of the US is starting to falter. Transparency is a very important concept more than it has ever been, and it is often turned into an election soundbite - among other things.

      If you desire to be a politician, always remember that the most important things that matter to the populace are things that you do not need a degree or paid training to find out. It takes personal investment to build consistent beliefs.

    • Travel Shepherd profile image

      Michael Shepherd 5 years ago from Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland

      Excellent lens. I would suggest a module about committee work as a solid basis whether school, church, business or community.

      Cheers,

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Do I need a degree to be a politician?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      f I were to consider politics as a career, I would definitely need to know more about the basics. but as of right now I see our government as stability, a way to live our lives and do much more, much easier than if we tried by ourselves. government seems like its main purpose is to help people. so we can live in an environment knowing we can do as we please (in a positive sense) like build a house or start a small business. or travel to other places around the world. or trade with others around the world. I feel as if we've come soo close to being one big connection.. the world.. we've established buisnesses with other countries across the globe, we've created agreements with people living in places like africa and mexico, even japan. we have them growing goods for us so we can feed our people, I find it incredible that we have ...these relationships and that humans have evolved so much that were able to do these things.. BUT THEN I hear of conflicts taking place around the world. I hear that people aren't happy with their lives. I see videos in school of coffee farmers in africa suffering because of the drop in coffee prices, I hear of children dying in distant countries from starvation or dehydration. I immediately feel the need to do something.. the need to help the people I'm hearing about.. then I realize that I'm not the only person that knows of what's going on in the world.. I realize that there's a problem at hand and it hasn't been dealt with yet.. HERE I AM with questions that need answering.. I feel soo grateful when I think of how lucky I am to be apart of such a wonderful place.. where a government system allows me to think beyond my wildest dreams.. and experience such amazing things in life.. BUT I need some advice.. from someone with a positive mindset, or even people with positive mindsets.. I need to brainstorm here... and its a lot easier with more than one head..

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      f I were to consider politics as a career, I would definitely need to know more about the basics. but as of right now I see our government as stability, a way to live our lives and do much more, much easier than if we tried by ourselves. government seems like its main purpose is to help people. so we can live in an environment knowing we can do as we please (in a positive sense) like build a house or start a small business. or travel to other places around the world. or trade with others around the world. I feel as if we've come soo close to being one big connection.. the world.. we've established buisnesses with other countries across the globe, we've created agreements with people living in places like africa and mexico, even japan. we have them growing goods for us so we can feed our people, I find it incredible that we have ...these relationships and that humans have evolved so much that were able to do these things.. BUT THEN I hear of conflicts taking place around the world. I hear that people aren't happy with their lives. I see videos in school of coffee farmers in africa suffering because of the drop in coffee prices, I hear of children dying in distant countries from starvation or dehydration. I immediately feel the need to do something.. the need to help the people I'm hearing about.. then I realize that I'm not the only person that knows of what's going on in the world.. I realize that there's a problem at hand and it hasn't been dealt with yet.. HERE I AM with questions that need answering.. I feel soo grateful when I think of how lucky I am to be apart of such a wonderful place.. where a government system allows me to think beyond my wildest dreams.. and experience such amazing things in life.. BUT I need some advice.. from someone with a positive mindset, or even people with positive mindsets.. I need to brainstorm here... and its a lot easier with more than one head..

    • profile image

      CharlieGibbs 5 years ago

      Very nice lens. If you ever decide to run in Florida, let me know. =)

    • R Toney profile image

      R Toney 5 years ago

      politics is a sport where only the strong dedicated and truly gifted ever get far enough to shaft the public in ways unimaginable...

      but hey if the people won't vote them we get what we deserve

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      If there is only one thing to take away from this lens it should be that even if you don't want to or don't intend to run for office you should still get actively involved in the political process.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I always found that this helped me get somewhat noticed http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-b...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i would love to become a politician i have wonted to become one since year 6 im in year 8 now and im studying like crazy i got a part time job to provide political books and stuff and im getting really good grades now that i have a career to look forward to and hoping to graduate and go to university and hopfully become a politician

    • CarolineS01 profile image

      CarolineS01 6 years ago

      Nice lens.. But for me, I've never wish to become a politician. Nice thought.

    • ResJes profile image

      Jessi 6 years ago from United States

      Great lens. As a Political Science major, I really appreciate all the information and helpful tips on this lens. I guess the only thing I would add is a brief description of the major political parties and some of the minor political parties. :)

    • greetingcardsinfo profile image

      greetingcardsinfo 6 years ago

      really good lens thanks for sharring this with us

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      I left my views in your duel module but not sure if it loaded. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      if i ever became a politician i would start by cutting my own paycheck in half. I hear all the time how they need to cut the budget and it always starts with the little person in life. I have a good question, whens the last time a politician took a pay cut? if they care so much like they say why wouldn't they take a pay cut. i make 35,000 dollars a year and would gladly do Scott wlakers job for that. Thers is so many other ways to cut the budget. why not police gov. asistance a little more. ive seen so many people abuse the food stamps or sec 8 housing. we are wasting millions a year on this. i think if you get any kind of asistance from the gov you should have to submit to random drug test. with the millions we would save from not housing and feeding drug attacts and the hundreds of millions we would save if every politician took a pay cut we could save jobs of upstanding hardworking americans like cops fire fighters and teachers. i think we need some new faces and new ideas because the ones that are in control now are not politician for us there politicians for themselves. VOTE FOR ME THE NEW FACE WITH THE NEW IDEAS

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      hi

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      why on earth do you need skills and qualifications to be a politician it's a joke you don't need to be able to understand rocket science or go to university to understand what a mess this country is in it tends to be people with qualifications and degrees don't really understand the state of the nation because they have been raised with big silver spoons its people who are not so well of who really understand how this country should be run not all these politically correct twats

    • profile image

      alyssa87 6 years ago

      hey nice and a very detailed information, Thanks

      well i have been doing research on the political science degree for my lens and i think a degree in this domain will also help a politician or an individual interested in pursuing a career in this domain.

      The books you have mentioned are good enough to be concerned, on the whole i want to say that your lens is for sure a guidance.

      Keep it up

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

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    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      crishboy48@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      TaxAttorneys 7 years ago

      It is nice to find a site about my interest. My first visit to your site is been a big help. Thank you for the efforts you been putting on making your site such an interesting and informative place to browse through. I'll be visiting your site again to gather some more valuable information. You truly did a good job.

      IRS Tax Attorney

    • Violin-Student profile image

      Violin-Student 7 years ago

      Interesting lens. I usually respect folks who are just getting into politics. But once they're in they frequently just fall into the same traps that so many others have experienced.

      SUPPORT TERM LIMITS!

    • profile image

      Obscure_Treasures 7 years ago

      Great Lens! So glad I found you! Might share some of your info on my Blog too!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @anonymous: fuck you

    • profile image

      projmanagment 7 years ago

      A fantastic lens. I hate bad politician. Nice information to be a politician here. Helpful and important post.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      oxynom 7 years ago

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      politicians are sooo stupid. all they do is say what the people want to hear. anyone can do that.

    • BigFish1 profile image

      BigFish1 7 years ago

      Great info, I will know what to do if I decide to run for office. Thanks!

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    • BigFish1 profile image

      BigFish1 7 years ago

      Great info, I will know what to do if I decide to run for office. Thanks!

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      i love content

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      good idea

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    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      what's a lens??? confused. so totally confuseddddd

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      Great lens! I have never dreamed of becoming a politician because I always believed that any person can help and make a difference. You need not have the riches in the world to help. Simply share what you have and offer yourself to those who need your help. 5*

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      Good lens - you've laid it out very simply. I hope more people will be inspired to run for local offices.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      i hope to be a poilitician in the future. They incompass all the things i aspire to be; intellegent and strong. They write a lot which is not as easy as it seems. They can take on a lot at once and hindle it with no problem. I am not quite sure how to get there though. I am still in High School and unsure of what classes i should be sure to take and what college to atttend. I would love to major in criminal law/ and political science as well as minor in journalism. is that a smart move? After all that, how do i get into the actual politics part? HELP ME

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      all gays from kenya reach me at mastergaysperfect@yahoo.com . utafurahi!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to ASHISH] U SAID MIDDLE CLASS?PLEASE KEEP OFF POLITICS. MONEY DRIVES THIS ARENA BUT THAT'S FOR THIS PLANET. TRY MARS 4 I HEAR THERE IS LIFE.....

    • Seth1492 profile image
      Author

      Seth1492 8 years ago

      [in reply to ASHISH] Your family or income does not matter, if you work hard and educate yourself. Then you can make a difference and actually change things in your area.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I want to become a senate/ a member of Parliament not only that a minister/ a recognised Woman in Uganda.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi i m ashish and doing electrical engg and want to be a god politician,but i m from a low middle class family and dosn.t know much about how to enter in politics.I want todo something good for my country and for the people.So plz if u have any suggestion u may help me.Iwould be thankful to u.By TAKE CARE

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      dude that was awesome thanx. 4 the tips when im governor ill make sure 2 tell every1 of the help i got from u.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Like it, but it's lacking some minor details.

      Sure it's great to be ideal, but if you watch cspan you hear about the 500 page documents being dropped on peoples desks at 3 am in the morning to be voted on that very day.

      Maybe some tips on how to read the legaleze of these documents let alone common tricks played to destroy new politicians would be helpful for those of us really considering changing things up.

    • schofieldml profile image

      schofieldml 8 years ago

      Great lens! You have put together a lot of good information here. I am adding it to my lens roll on Modern Whig Party lens.

    • profile image

      MikeMac 8 years ago

      Lots of food for thought. Good content and some very interesting books to dig into. Don't believe that I will run for office anytime soon but I do enjoy keeping myself informed. thanks.

    • sherridan profile image

      sherridan 8 years ago

      Good for you Seth...you are already raising your profile effectively!

      Please do me the honour of submitting this lens to my group 'Career and Work Oracle' because it contains some really helpful information.

      Onwards!

      Sherridan

    • julcal profile image

      julcal 8 years ago

      Looks like we have a young politician in the making. Well thought out lens. Thought-provoking. Excellent lens! *****

      ~ Julie

    • profile image

      LordoftheFlies 8 years ago

      Good lens... Are you interested in politics yourself? I mean do you plan on becoming a politician? I have thought about it, but it seems like an awful big risk. Maybe it would be a risk not too!

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 9 years ago from Western Mass

      awesome info, thanks for putting it together so well.

    • profile image

      Zion 9 years ago

      Wow! This is a great info for all of us.

      I really like your lens! so I gave you 5*.. how about that?!...

      Please try to stop by my lens. I would really much appreciate if you could rate mine too!

      Thank you so much!

      Zion

      http://www.squidoo.com/effective-best-acne-treatme...

    • profile image

      GrowWear 9 years ago

      So agree with the Albert Einstein quotation. You've made a great start on your lenses. Keep it up; you have what it takes!

    • stoetzels lm profile image

      stoetzels lm 9 years ago

      In the midst of a political change....I have been inspired by some of the speeches at the Convention, I want to become a person of that caliber. And Your lens is helping the effort...Thanks! Great Job...you provided a bird's eye view to a newbie...

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great idea for a lens - even though I don't like politicians! Lensrolled to mine David Miliband. I think he may become very famous over the next few weeks as I have a hunch he will become the next UK Prime Minister and we are not even due to have an election.

      I love the warning "Avoid making enemies, they will come naturally"!

      5*s

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great and informative Lens. I alsways wanted to understand the make-up of a politician.

    • profile image

      andrphilip 9 years ago

      For a so-called newbie, you seem to have this lens building thing down. This is well-done.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Hi Seth,

      Thanks for joining Parenting On Squidoo,

      I have just featured you as our weekly featured lensmaster. Congrats!

      Ashley

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    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 9 years ago

      Good info - have something to say go to my: https://hubpages.com/politics/dear_mr_president-2 I am not a very political person, but you made this informative. I give you 5 political stars - all red white and blue

    • profile image

      sbucciarel 9 years ago

      Great lense. The Firestorm Forum is great for promoting your lenses and blogs. There's a very active Squidoo community there. firestormforum.com Hope you check it out. I also have a lense about it at http://www.squidoo.com/firestorm

    • profile image

      ThomasC 9 years ago

      I think you have put together a very solid lens here! Maybe make better use of the sub titles, but I am giving you an Angel blessing to help get your lens kicked off!

      great job!

      ThomasC

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Good lens with some great info. 5*

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 9 years ago

      Good Info. Everybody has to start somewhere. Good resource for anybody even thinking about becoming a politician. Keep up the good work.