In May's "The High Road," we consider what a staffer might do if his or her employer suddenly switched parties—a timely question given Sen. Arlen Specter's announcement today that he's joining the Democrats. How would you handle the switch? Weigh in here.
And be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine or subscribe—the May edition will be out soon.
You land a job on a well-known office holder’s staff. Even though your boss is more moderate than you, he/she is in line with their constituents, and you believe in him/her completely. Then your boss announces a party switch. What do you do?
I would give my resignation, ASAP. My party is how I get my jobs: People hire me as a Democrat, not a fence-straddler. I’d stay on staff only if the politician was elected for life and I didn’t have to worry about working in the real world ever again.
—A.J., Democratic field director
If you made it that far and didn’t realize your candidate could switch parties then you are an idiot and should not be rewarded with any paid position.
—S.B., Republican political consultant
I think the job market is the ultimate indicator of the best course of action. A staff position may be too valuable to give up, especially if your current party has few lobbying or staffing jobs open. If your party is in the minority, those jobs are few and far between.
—T.D., Democratic legislative assistant
So long as I still believe my boss is still the right person for the job I have no problem working for him/her. And as long as I am working I’m going to support their policies as best I can.
—B.K., Green Party organizer
Go with your boss—if not you, someone else will. After a year you will be viewed as very versatile. The parties will look at you as having insight on both sides of the aisle. That type of experience is rare. Look at the big picture and make it work in your favor.
—L.M., nonpartisan political consultant
Depends on when the switch is announced. If it’s at the beginning of the campaign, you have to think about whether you can deep-six your core beliefs and loyalty to take the ride. If it’s announced well into the campaign, run like the wind. If your candidate were truly “honest” then he/she wouldn’t be taking the constituent’s volunteer time, their money and their trust and throwing it into the crapper to switch parties.
—M.S.G., Democratic political strategist
Have a better idea? Weigh in below.