This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long, long time which I’ve written about many, many times.
Yes, if you’re a candidate you ARE a politician.
And saying you’re not when you are doesn’t score you any points with voters…nor the media.
It’s actually more of an indication that you’re a “newbie” – which doesn’t exactly instill the level of confidence voters and donors are looking for when weighing your credibility and viability.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Steve Sebelius, Politics & Government Editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and host of the weekly PoliticsNOW show, had to say on this subject in a recent tweet…
“My favorite emails from people running for office are the ones that declare, ‘I am not a politician.’ Yes, you really are. You may never have run for office before. You may not be that good at running for office. But once you file, you become a politician. Own it.”
At best, “I am not a politician” is a boring, unpersuasive, overused, worn-out cliché. Thousands upon thousands of candidates before you have said the exact same thing.
Most never got elected.
Now, if you’re running against an incumbent, especially a long-term incumbent, you can fix this problem and draw a credible contrast by simply adding just one word…
“I’m not a CAREER politician.”
You see, words really do mean stuff.
Dr. Chuck Muth, PsD
THE CAMPAIGN DOCTOR
Professor of Psephology*
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* Psephology (see-follow-gee): The study of campaigns and elections