Getting Elected September 30 2011

How to Get Elected 



I've always had a dream of being mayor of my city, or maybe even governor. I'm a decent-looking guy with a solid educational background (lawyer). I just don't even know where to start if I wanted to run for mayor in four years. 

-Yearning for Power


You’ve got three options: the Tony Montana route, the Barack Obama path, or the Mayor Daley journey. 

Getting elected is about power and influence. The first thing you need to do become successful in the cesspool of American politics is to cultivate your ruthlessness. Principled people don’t get elected. Calculating, bare-knuckled, backstabbers do. It is what it is.  But you need to be smart about it.  Ruthlessness is only effective when surgically, strategically, and dispassionately employed. Otherwise it’s unsustainable and will destroy you.

Once you’ve come to terms with this reality, you have three options: The Tony Montana Route, the Barack Obama route, and the Mayor Daley route.

Tony Montana best captured the essence of the American dream when he observed that, “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” You want political power? Focus on making as much money as possible. Everything follows from there, and every door you want will open on command.

The Barack Obama route harnesses the power of ideas, emotions, meaning. Everyone wants to be part of something greater than themselves, and everyone wants to believe in something special and meaningful. It’s human nature. Create a compelling biography and figure out how to inspire with rhetoric and promote ideas that play on people’s emotions. Make them believe again. Exploit purpose and belief like Obama did and it becomes your own personal political nuclear weapon.

The Mayor Daley route is old fashioned political ladder climbing, and it’s the surest way to succeed, but it also takes a long time. Start small with some volunteer position in city government or at the PTA, neighborhood organizations, or whatever. Then network. Quid pro quo is the name of the game. Trade favors, make promises, and use who you need to use. Make sure you keep your promises to those who can help you. Move on to small elected positions like the school board, park and recreation board, etc. Rinse and repeat all the way to the top.


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