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Thursday, January 20, 2011

From a reader: "As a political science professor, I think you're too hard on the degree."

As a political science major, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed my classes, and perhaps came off strong in the book.

But the underlying truth is that the degree does not make you a better campaigner, and it does not make you seem more legitimate by those working in the trade.

Other degrees offer a better chance for social and conversational connections, and help you seem more intellectually diverse and not such a political hack.

If you're reading this, you are a political hack.  But you don't want to come across that way to other people who aren't.  You want to have social connections based on real aspects of commonality.

Most of what's taught in political science classes, as well, are skills and subjects inapplicable to the campaign world.  Being able to command SPSS to do a regression analysis of voting patterns on a particularly piece of legislation in those schools that focus on 'political science' doesn't help you persuade voters or raise money.

Other colleges have a 'government' degree that focuses more on the theory.  Being able to quote Aquinas and cite to Aristotle, however, does not help you persuade voters or raise money.

Campaigns and political organizations have very real, direct and basic needs.  They don't need social science research, they don't need abstract philosophical discussions about the nature of liberty, they need voters, lists and money.

I enjoy political science because I consider myself a hack, but it's not useful to the narrow range of needs in the campaign world.


Learn these skills and more, by buying the book "Getting a Job in Politics, and Keeping it" by Ben Wetmore, right away.