There is a common theme among successful politicians I have covered. It is the event that many of them have said defines the start of their ambition to run for elected office.
It’s not a first race they might have made for City Council or Congress or a judicial position.
Nope. Ask a successful politician about his or her origins and in many cases they will tell you about the time they ran for class president or something else in high school or college.
Add Cong. Steve Cohen to the list with this article in “Roll Call.”
We also came across this phenomenon earlier in writing a piece about Karl Schledwitz, the CEO of Monogram Foods who, while not a candidate, worked in many, many Democratic campaigns over the decades.
Schledwitz recently spoke at the weekly meeting of the Frayser Exchange Club and began by noting that Shelly Rice, the president of the club, had been his campaign manager when he ran for student government office the first time at Trezevant High School.
He lost and all these years later playfully put the blame on his campaign manager, noting that with a different manager, the next year, he was elected.
Fellow students, it turns out, are an early test of political prowess when you think about it. There is the intensity of a campaign that is probably magnified because it’s not an electorate that you can dodge. They and your opponent are face to face every day in a relatively small space. Not only is every action you take immediately visible to your rival, you feel every action your rival takes immediately as well.
It is pretty relentless as campaigns go and its intensity is further magnified by the shortened campaign time.
Sounds like a pretty good crucible for those who think politics is for them.