WASHINGTON, D.C. - Looking for a new job? Here’s one that was posted on LinkedIn last week — it’s got a $174,000 base salary, you only have to work 132 days of the year and there’s free travel to the D.C. headquarters. The only catch? You’ve got to fix our government gridlock.
Or that’s the hope, anyway, behind Run for America’s application for the U.S. House of Representatives. Launched by millennial evangelist David Burstein, Run for America aims to recruit talented leadership from outside of the political machine – “No prior experience in elected office is necessary (indeed, preferred).” In the first 24 hours, 150 people applied to the House of Representatives. Using LinkedIn.
Job Description - U.S. Representative
During this volatile period of change, the House is in need of visionary leaders to reverse its historically low public favorability and help the institution overcome divisions that have left its management deadlocked on issues of critical national importance. Run for America seeks to recruit and support a dozen highly accomplished, innovative, future-focused, and passionate candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016.
Upon election, Representatives are afforded a two-year contract, which can be renewed following a public performance review every two years. Representatives are expected to work tirelessly on behalf of their constituents and their country in the pursuit of the citizenry’s general welfare and a more perfect Union.
From the applications and a nomination system, Run for America will choose 12 House candidates to support in 2016. From there, the organization will function as a one-stop political consulting shop. There will be training, promoting, and, most importantly, money.
It’s a strange concept. Politicians seem to be in an elite (read: well-financed) position that is unattainable for most, but the job post points out that the only hard rules are that you are at least 25, a U.S. citizen for seven years and a resident of the district you run in. There’s a good chance that you, yes, you would be eligible to run for the House.
“We’ve tried for the past several decades to let people with background and experience in politics to help us get things done in politics,” Burstein said. “That’s not been working out particularly well.”
By removing the giant, dollar-sign shaped roadblock and giving hopefuls a support system to help navigate the political maze, Burstein believes that Run For America can attract people who can actually run the country – not just run for office.
“Basically the process is, one of the party committees says, ‘How much money can you raise? How many political connections do you have?’” he said. “That’s maybe a great criteria for helping someone get elected, not a particularly great criteria for making sure people govern. We don’t have people who actually have strong backgrounds as leaders.”
And here’s more radical thinking behind Run for America: It’s nonpartisan. The group will focus on finding people who are willing to move things forward regardless of political affiliation.
“Typically we’ve talked about ideology from the left or from the right,” he said. “We believe it’s time for an ideology of action, which is not about compromise and not about the idea that we are trying to seek a middle ground. Our bias is toward action.”
It sounds like crazy talk – attracting smart leaders who will do things such as make decisions and pass laws -- but with Congress’ dismal 16 percent approval rating, there’s really nowhere to go but up.
Now, if Run for American can recruit people who don’t mind having America’s voters as their HR managers …