Give Up Now
Editor’s note: Willie Lawson is a political commentator, syndicated radio host, former city council candidate in Florida, and Musician. He recently vented his frustration with the political process taking place in the 2016 election cycle. You can read and hear more by tuning into The Willie Lawson show podcast daily every week.
By Willie Lawson
That’s right give up now before you turn bitter, cold and cynical. Give up while you have your reputation and some dignity. Give up before your disdain for the process and the people in it become too much to bear.
Running for any political office in the 21st century is a huge undertaking. Everything, I mean everything is time consuming and expensive. It will become apparent to you early that only the very rich and/or the unemployed have the time and/or money to run for office.
But if for some reason you just can’t help yourself and you decide to file anyway, give up early before anyone notices. Once they notice you are bound to see and hear faux offers of support wrapped in faux votes of confidence. This is dangerous because you will be tempted to hang in there and continue when you should stop the madness of a campaign.
The truth is that you are not going to get the support that it takes to be competitive in a campaign let alone win. Chances are you running in a district currently dominated by entrenched liberal Democrats or in a more “reddish” district against a much more establish opponent. In either case, you are screwed.
Give up before you get any token monetary support because that will make you feel obligated to hang in until you are eliminated by the qualifying process or much worse you suffer an embarrassing defeat.
You will notice the “buzz” of your campaign get smaller and smaller. You will be able to see this as people ask you less and about it and ask you questions like ” What are running for again?”, “Where is that district?” and other variations of these questions.
Give up and get out, because you will get frustrated and upset!
Even worse a new phenomenon has appeared in the past few years, the mirage of a life boat in the form of PACs that state their purpose is to help candidates like yourself. Their websites and business cards have pictures of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. on them. When you find them, you get a sense of relief because you think that they are to help you with the things you need. At least that what the mission statement seems to say.
But you find out that most of them could care less about your run for school board because you don’t bring any major excitement to the table. And no excitement means no money. So the cavalry you thought was coming is not. I have seen nine of ten of these “organizations” pop up. I have even been sucked into the hopes and change of the claims of these groups.
In 2012 I found such a group and after a great deal of digging found a phone number to call. I called the number (it was a cell number) and left a message. After about three weeks someone returned my call. He asked me about my campaign that I left a message about. I told him that I was a Republican running in a Democrat District, and his next question was if I had a primary. Primary!?! So does that sound like someone that is in tuned to the local Black conservative’s plight? Well, the last I heard from him was right then. He told me that after the primaries his organization would be ready to contribute $500.00 (the max) to my campaign. I said thank you and hung up the phone. I thought to myself how am I going to get past the primaries without the money it takes to have the things you need to at least have the appearance of a real campaign?
In the 2016 cycle, there are even more such organizations, I even helped two them with their with their media release. It didn’t take long to learn that at least one of them had no intention of helping my campaign. In fact, the lead of the organization got angry with me when I even mentioned my campaign. His support was to say he would send out an email to his donors to see if anyone would be interested in helping me. Funny thing, though, no one ever contacted me. Maybe because no email was ever sent?
The other organization is based right here in my state, and I was told to my face by the lead that this PAC was to help campaign just like mine. Remember what I said about the life boat mirage? Well, more than a year has passed, and I have not received a single dime from this organization and now just like the first organization they are telling me that I am running my campaign wrong. That is the totality of support. At the same time, the same organization has been running around the country supporting national candidates.
I have characterized campaigns, especially local one like infants, they need a great deal of care early, or they won’t survive. So this continued being put off until something else happens pretty much getting to be too frustrating for words. I have recently spoken with the lead of the second organization, and the first thing he said was that I was not a “real campaign!” No help for a year but quick with the criticism. Both PACS actually have asked me to donate, and because I am a dumbass, I have!
If you are a Black conservative that has filed to run in a local race in the 2016 election cycle my advice to is, GIVE UP AND QUIT NOW! You are looking for help as your qualifying deadline draws near, I am writing this to let you that there is no help coming. I wish I could say that the future for us will be brighter later, but there is no evidence of that. Give up now.