We've all heard it. 'You Greens should forget about that President stuff and go from the bottom up.'
'OK.' I said. ''We still need the issue-raising and party visibility we get by running someone for President, but I'll work on that.'
If 'all politics is local,' then that would be a good place to start.
I've been calling it a 'farm team.' A farm team, in sports, is 'generally a team or club whose role is to provide experience and training for [new] young players. . . successful players can move on to a higher level.' Wikipedia
So, I coach Greens to attend a city council meeting and a school board meeting. Mitchell Bonga had been thinking of running for city commission until he attended a board meeting of the school district from which he graduated a few years before. He felt compelled to run for that instead and came in a close third for the two seats.
Warm-up exercises include volunteering in the events unique to your locale and in community activities: park clean-ups, a local Rotary or Lions Club, children's library programs, its historical museum.
Local governments are assisted by appointed boards and commissions. Study the ones in your city or school district and find one or two that are the best fit for your background and experience and try out for a spot on that team.
Your training begins by practicing with one of those teams. You'll learn more about your local government and the political persons in your community. You'll get better known and accepted as a teammate as you work together towards the goal.
Getting into the game might be sooner than you'd think. Our 2018 Governor candidate, Jennifer Kurland, taught me to search the ballot as soon as it is issued for offices for which there are more vacancies than candidates.
I found one for Ferndale Library Board, emailed our Ferndale members and Beau Perry jumped on it. He filed to be a write-in candidate so quickly that a weekly newspaper included him in an article about who was running in that election. He got dozens of votes and the second open spot on that board.
I did the same for Fraser Library Board in Macomb County a year later. Christine Munteanu filed to be a write-in and was elected. Those were nonpartisan positions, but it still gave us two Greens in office.
In 2016, we had three Greens who had run for partisan Township Parks Commissions - that's a natural for us! They won, as did Tom Mair for Grand Traverse County Commission - he had been alternating runs for that and for city council, throwing in the bull-pen so to speak.
What you learn about campaigning in those minor leagues prepares you for when you are called up for the majors. Even at that level, you'll answer questionnaires, be interviewed by media and in forums, seek union and other endorsements. You'll prepare 'lit' with clear relevant messaging (and not too many words).
You'll learn to speak with potential constituents. My favorite experience was, 'I'm Sherry Wells. I'm running for Mayor. What do you want me to know?' The man pointed to the other chair atop his steps and said, 'Have a seat.'
And, finally, we'll have solid players ready for the majors.