After working on Hillary Clinton’s campaign for two years as E-mail Director, the 27-year-old Fairfax,VA native sums up election night in one word: grief.
“I remember thinking ‘What are all of these little boys going to think about how they can treat girls?” says Litman, referring to President Trump’s long list of offensive remarks towards women.
I spoke with Litman over the phone, who described her efforts working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign as both “exhausting” and “devastating.” Litman worked six months straight prior to election night, only to be defeated by Donald Trump.
Following the loss on election night, Litman needed time to recover. However, in the weeks following Clinton’s loss, she kept getting interrupted. A flood of old friends and acquaintances began reaching out to her, looking for guidance on how to launch a potential political career.
“After the election, I had friends reach out and say ‘you know about politics. What do I do next?’ There wasn’t a clear organization that existed where if you were young and new to politics, you could go to to help you run for office,” says Litman.
While many organizations catered to individuals looking to run for office with shining political credentials, Litman struggled to find an institution which backed a young and inexperienced demographic. “It was a problem I decided to fix.”
After discovering a need and an opportunity, she connected with Ross Morales Rocketto, a political operative married to one of her coworkers on the Hillary campaign who had similar aspirations. Together, Litman and Rocketto created Run For Something, an organization that supports young progressives to run for state and local office and supports them throughout their campaigns.
Litman and Rocketto say they initially started Run For Something as a way to “cope with their sadness.” She continued saying that her and Rocketto thought Run For Something would be “a small, but fun side project.”
On Inauguration Day, Run For Something launched, receiving over 100 inquiries. In its first nine months, Run For Something has recruited 15,000 young and progressive potential candidates, turning it into Litman’s full-time job.
The duo have pushed 32 out of their 72 backed candidates into office. Their success stories include Danica Roem of Virginia, who had no prior political experience and is now the first transgender person elected into the U.S. state legislature. They’re currently seeking potential candidates for the 2018 elections for the House and Senate.
So, how can you run for office without having any prior experience? Litman has these tips:
Remember: Values Over Experience
The perfect applicant for endorsement doesn’t exist,” says Litman. “Run For Something volunteers screen applicants strongly based off of their values, not their work experience. We’re more concerned about what you can offer your community, as a reflection of your passions and beliefs.”
“We think of our (admissions) process like a funnel. At the top of the funnel, you have any young, progressive who wants to run for local office for the first or second time. Our volunteers then screen all of those people, looking for candidates who are progressive, authentically rooted in their community, willing to work hard, and charismatic. If you meet these four criteria, then you gain access to all of our resources…Then we endorse from there.”
Millennial Interests are the Future
“Both figuratively and literally, the future of the country is in the hands of our youth.
“5 percent of state legislators are 35 or younger. That’s a massive generation of our people not being reflected in our governing. The 2016 election has shown that millennials cannot afford to not step up.”
“Go local. Your dollars and efforts will go further for a local candidate. Your efforts as a volunteer or as a candidate will mean a lot more as a big fish in a small pond.