Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting new faces into politics

Today I came across two American Prospect articles that are timely companions to yesterday's blog post in which I yearned for new people to enter politics.

In the newest piece, Courtney Martin asks Are We Neglecting the Next Activist Generation? She reminds Democrats that the Obama campaign should not have a monopoly on youth mobilization. These efforts need to continue beyond 2008 and will require sustained effort and funding.

Then looking back to June, Ezra Klein wrote Beyond Hillary: By Invitation Only reporting on studies that investigated the roots of the gender gap in politics.

When women do run in primaries, are they more likely to lose? No, actually. There are few women running in the first place. And researchers Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox found something very interesting in their Citizen Political Ambition Study: women were far less likely than men to evince interest in running for office. Women were much more likely than men to cite family obligations, negative feelings toward the process of campaigning, and a belief that they weren't qualified. But the most powerful finding was that the women surveyed were one-third less likely to be recruited to run for office.

Klein's piece concludes:

Yet when women do receive this encouragement, they are just as likely to respond positively as men. "Potential candidates who receive the suggestion to run for office are more than four times as likely as those who receive no such support to think seriously about a candidacy," writes Lawless.

When it comes to convincing women to run for office, it turns out that among the most powerful things we can do is simply ... ask.

Now I am feeling motivated to read Lawless and Fox's book It Takes A Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office--after I get my new Mojo Mom book manuscript draft turned in. As much as I love to read, my writing milestones are looming large right now.

Start thinking about smart Moms you know who would be good leaders, and ask them to consider stepping up to the plate!

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