Task Force: Design a Campaign
You are part of a group that helps find candidates for office from communities that have been historically underrepresented in government in the US and design campaigns that highlight the need for greater representation.
Why Are We Doing This?
Political and social representation is the act of trying to make all citizens crucial influencers in the public policy making processes. However, there is a clear gap in whose voices are heard and whose are underrepresented and neglected. Political campaigns at the national and state level aim to represent a candidate to the public and garner support and votes for his/her goals and ideas. Here, we ask you to consider who has most power in the government and try to increase representation for communities and individuals whose representation is or has been at risk under the current system by designing your own political campaign.
- Before you begin, research some statistics about the demographics of the US Senate and House of Representatives.
- What is the racial, gender, and age make up of these institutions? What other factors feel important? (family background, socioeconomic status, job experience before entering politics, etc).
- Do you notice any patterns in who holds positions of power? How might this limit opportunities for other communities/individuals?
- What groups (if any) are underrepresented? How might being underrepresented impact those groups’ social influence to speak up and feel represented by their elected officials?
- Why do you think certain groups may be underrepresented in government institutions?
- Then, try to come up with a political campaign for a candidate that increases representation (politically and socially) for one or more groups you believe are not fairly represented by the government.
- Describe your candidate.
- What office are they running for?
- What characteristics, background, and experiences do they have that make them a good candidate for office?
- How do they represent a community that is currently underrepresented?
- What issues are most important to them?
- How will you advertise your candidate? What characteristics will you highlight and how?
- Will your campaign have a slogan? What will it be?
- Describe your candidate.
- Think through the possible objections to your political campaign.
- Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your political campaign best increases representation for neglected communities in the United States.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of solutions for increasing representation in the government. Focus on a few you are prepared to defend.
- Consider solutions proposed by activists fighting towards increased representation for various communities.