WOMEN IN POLITICS

Actress and comedian June Diane Raphael is inspiring women to “Represent” with her step-by-step guide to running for office.

Aired on January 14, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

FOR MOST OF RECORDED AMERICAN HISTORY, POLITICAL POWER HAS LOOKED A CERTAIN WAY.

PORTRAITS OF POWER CALLING IMAGES OF MEN DRESS IN THE SUITS.

HOWEVER, AFTER THE 2018 MID-TERM ELECTIONS WHEN WOMEN ACCOUNTED FOR MORE THAN 100 SEATS IN CONGRESS, IT WAS CLEAR THAT CHANGE AND REPRESENTATION IS UNDERWAY.

BUT WHAT OBSTACLES CAN DeTHEY FACE GETTING TO OFFICE?

AND FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN RUNNING WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW BEFORE ENTERING THE RACE?

THE WOMEN'S GUIDE TO RUNNING FOR OFFICE AND CHANGING THE WORLD, ACTOR, COMEDIENNE, WRITER, JUNE DIEANNE RAYFIELD GIVES WOMEN A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO RUNNING.

IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

I PREFACE THIS BY SAYING IT IS A MARVELOUS BOOK AND INFUSED WITH GREAT HUMOR WHILE STILL FOCUSING ON VERY SIGNIFICANT ISSUES.

THAT'S A DIFFICULT BALANCE TO ACCOMPLISH.

SO MY COMPLEMENTS TO YOU RIGHT OFF THE BAT.

FIRST QUESTION.

I'M ALWAYS CURIOUS, I'VE WRITTEN A FEW BOOKS MYSELF.

I'M CURIOUS FOR WRITERS AS TO WHY THEY DECIDE TO FOCUS WITH ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES YOU HAVE ON THIS PROJECT.

AND YOU TALK IN YOUR INTRODUCTION LETTER THAT YOU DO ABOUT WHAT GOT YOU TO IT.

GIVE AS YOU QUICK SENSE OF THAT.

AFTER THE 2016 ELECTION, I WAS FEELING, THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO PUT IT.

DEVASTATED.

AND HUMILIATED AT HILLARY'S LOSS.

AND I WAS CONSIDERING RUNNING FOR OFFICE.

I KNOW I'M NOT THE ONLY WOMAN IN AMERICA WHO FELT THIS WAY BUT PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PRESIDENCY CERTAINLY MADE ME FEEL LIKE, WELL, SHOOT.

MAYBE I CAN DO THIS, TOO.

AND DID I SOME GOOGLING AND I COULD NOT FIND A LOT OF INFORMATION ON WHAT THE FIRST STEPS WOULD BE.

I THINK THAT CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IS KEPT AWAY FROM A LOT OF US.

MAYBE ON PURPOSE.

AND WE DON'T, FOR MOST WOMEN, WE THINK THE PROCESS IS MISS TEAR JUST OVERWHELMING AND ALSO BEST LEFT TO OTHERS TO DO.

I REALLY SET OUT TO WRITE A GUIDE BOOK TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS THAT I HAD.

KATE BLACK WAS SOMEONE I FOUND, THE CHIEF OF STAFF AT THE TIME AND SHE HAD ALL THE INFORMATION.

SO WE REALLY SET OUT TO DEMYSTIFY PROCESS, TO MAKE IT, YES, FUN, DARE I SAY, AND ACCESSIBLE, BUT ALSO FILLED WITH GRANULAR DETAILS ON HOW A RUN FOR OFFICE COULD LOOK IN A VERY REAL, VERY FULL LIFE.

LET ME ASK YOU A BIG PICTURE QUESTION.

IN PUTTING THIS ALL TOGETHER, WHAT DID YOU FIND IN TERMS OF THE BARRIERS?

BOTH THE REALITIES OF BARRIERS AND MAYBE MORE IMPORTANT, THE PERCEPTION THAT WOMEN HAVE OF THE BARRIERS?

FOR THEM RUNNING FOR OFFICE.

I THINK THAT THERE ARE THE VERY REAL EXTERNAL BARRIERS THAT EXIST.

AND THEN THERE ARE THE INTERNAL BARRIERS.

AND THE VERY REAL EXTERNAL BARRIERS ARE AROUND MONEY AND ACCESS TO WEALTH.

AND HAVING PERSONAL WEALTH, OR ACCESS TO WEALTHY CIRCLES MAKES THE PROCESS A LOT EASIER.

ALSO, WOMEN HAVE A HARD HE TIME FUNDRAISING.

WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE AN EVEN HARDER TIME THAN WHITE WOMEN.

AND THESE ARE FACTS AND THEY'RE REAL AND THEY'RE SOMETHING TO CONSIDER.

THEN THERE ARE THE INTERNAL BATTLES.

THE FEELINGS AROUND, ARE WE QUALIFIED ENOUGH?

THE FEARS THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE EMBARRASSED.

WE'RE GOING TO BE SEXUALIZED, HUMILIATED IN SOME WAY IF WE TAKE A STEP INTO THE PUBLIC.

ARENA.

AND THE BOOK DOES NOT DISMISS THE FEARS OR SAY THERE IS NOT A REALITY TO THEM.

BUT WE ALSO OFFER WOMEN, I HOPE, A LOT OF WAYS TO COMBAT THESE INTERNAL FEARS, AND TO ADDRESS THEM.

AND I THINK ULTIMATELY, BY PROVIDING WOMEN WITH A CHECK LIST, AND A PASS AND A ROAD MAP, THAT THEY CAN REALLY WORK AND THAT THEY CAN REALLY INTERACT WITH, BY THE END OF IT, MY HOPE IS THEY'RE REALLY ARMED FOR THIS PROCESS IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

AND THAT WHAT THEY REALLY WALK AWAY FROM, THE BOOK WITH, IS THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY'RE NOT ALONE IN THIS.

THAT THIS IS NOT SOMETHING SOMEONE DOES ALONE.

THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE ENGAGING A LOT OF PEOPLE AROUND THEM TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

WHY DO YOU THINK?

YOU MENTIONED THE QUALIFICATIONS.

I WAS STRUCK BY A COUPLE THINGS IN THE BOOK.

ONE WAS THAT SURVEYS HAVE SHOWN, EVEN MEN WHO ARE NOT QUALIFIED THINK THEY'RE QUALIFIED.

EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THEY'RE PROBABLY NOT QUALIFIED, THEY SAY YEAH, I'M QUALIFIED ON RUN FOR OFFICE.

SO MANY WOMEN WHO ARE HIGHLY QUALIFIED MIGHT QUESTION THAT ABOUT THEMSELVES WHY.

DO YOU THINK THAT IS?

YEAH.

WELL, I THINK HONESTLY, IT IS BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A SEXIST CULTURE.

AND WOMEN ARE NOT PRIMED AS LEADERS.

WE ARE NOT PRIMED THE BELIEVE THIS IS FOR US.

I THINK REPRESENTATION MATTERS AND SO IT IS HARD TO IMAGINE YOURSELF AS SOMETHING WHEN YOU DON'T SEE MUCH MODELING FOR IT.

SO I THINK THERE ARE A NUMBER OF REASONS WHY WE'RE INTERNALIZING THESE MESSAGES.

AND WE'RE INTERNALIZING THAT THE PATRIARCHAL CULTURE THAT WE LIVE IN.

WE'RE ALSO A PART OF IT.

AND IT SEEPS IN.

SO I THINK THE FIRST STEP, OF COURSE, IS TO IDENTIFY THAT THESE ARE MESSAGES AND JUST THAT.

THAT THIS IS NOT SOMETHING INHERENT THAT'S TRUE.

AND THEN WORK TO DISMANTLE THAT.

THE CHAPTERS, THEY'RE ALL INTRIGUING.

THEY RANGE FROM BIGGER PICTURES, YOU TALK ABOUT FUNDRAISING.

WHERE DO YOU GO TO FIND THE MONEY?

YOU MENTIONED EMILY'S LIST AND THE ROLE THEY CAN PLAY.

YOU EVEN FOCUS ON HOW TO SORT OF MICRO FOCUS.

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR.

WHAT SHOULD YOUR UNIFORM BE?

TALK ABOUT THAT CHAPTER.

THAT WAS A REALLY DIFFICULT CHAPTER TO WRITE AND I STILL, I'M NOT SURE WE SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED IT.

THE REASON WHY IS BECAUSE FOR SO MANY WOMEN, BEAUTY STANDARDS ARE COMPLICATED AND POTENTIALLY DAMAGING, AND SO TO WRITE ANYTHING THAT PRE DESCRIBED WHAT TO WEAR FOR WOMEN WAS VERY TROUBLESOME TO ME.

YET WE GOT SO MANY QUESTIONS WHEN WE STARTED TO TALK TO WOMEN WHO WERE CONSIDERING RUNNING FOR OFFICE ABOUT THIS VERY SUBJECT.

A LOT OF THEM JUST WANTED TO BE TOLD WHAT TO WEAR SO THEY COULD MOVE ON WITH THE REST OF THEIR CAMPAIGN AND FOCUS ON THE THINGS THEY ACTUALLY CARED ABOUT.

SO ULTIMATELY WHAT WE CAME UP WITH IS A REAL, CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE.

IF YOU WANT TO GO OUT AND BUY A WHOLE NEW WARDROBE, YES, WE GIVE SOME SOUGSS OUTFITS THAT MIGHT WORK.

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SPEND ANY MONEY AND TIME ON IT, WE TELL WOMEN TO GO INTO THEIR CLOSET AND PUT ON SOMETHING THAT MAKES THEM FEEL REALLY GREAT.

AND IF THEY DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT AT ALL, JUST MOVE ALONG TO THE NEXT CHAPTER.

BECAUSE IT IS A BIT OF A BERMUDA TRIANGLE.

BUT IT TURNS OUT, SOME THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE, IT IS A BIG ISSUE FOR SO MANY WOMEN.

WE ARE A VISUAL SOCIETY.

AND YOU KNOW --

ABSOLUTELY.

MEN OF ADVISERS TO TELL TWHAEM COLOR TIE TO WEAR.

I THINK FOR WOMEN, MEN PUT ON A SUIT AND THEY SEEM POWERFUL.

FOR WOMEN, IT IS A MUCH TRICKIER THING TO DO.

SO WE DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE THAT COSTUME OF POWER TO JUST PUT ON.

FOR WOMEN, A LOT OF OTHER FACTORS THAT COME INTO PLAY.

I TALKED ABOUT THIS INFUSION OF HUMOR BUT IT IS POWERFUL HUMOR AND INFORMATIVE HUMOR.

TALK ABOUT HOW YOU UTILIZE THE CHECK LIST AT THE END OF EACH OF THESE CHAMTS AND HOW THEY BUILD UPON EACH OTHER?

WE START BY REALLY ASKING WOMEN TO JUST SAY IT OUT LOUD.

TO TELL SOMEONE OUT LOUD.

AT THE END OF THE CHAPTER, THEY GET TO CHECK A LITTLE BOX.

I THINK GOING THROUGH THE BOOK AND CHECKING THAT BOX, HAVING DONE THE WORK AND RESEARCH FOR WHATEVER THAT CHAPTER IS ASKING YOU TO DO EMPOWERS WOMEN TO FEEL MORE READY TO DO THIS.

SO MANY OF US, I MEAN, I'M ONE OF THESE WOMEN.

I LIKE TO KNOW THAT I'VE DONE ALL THE WORK AHEAD OF TIME BEFORE I CAN GO DO THE THING.

BUT YES, THERE IS A CHECK LIST.

YES, WE THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT IT.

I THINK IT IS VERY VALUABLE.

AND MY HOPE IS THAT WOMEN DON'T USE THIS BOOK AS A CRUTCH.

IF THEY'RE ON THE FIRST CHAPTER AND THINK, I'M READY TO RUN NOW.

I HOPE THEY CLOSE IT AND JUST START.

BECAUSE I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TIME TO WASTE.

I'VE OFTEN BELIEVED, A COMPLIMENT FOR YOU IF I MIGHT, WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE AS A GOVERNMENT RIGHT NOW, I TEACH IN VARIOUS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.

OUR FOUNDERS ENVISIONED THIS AS CITIZEN LEGISLATORS.

NOT PROFESSIONAL LEGISLATORS.

ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HERE.

WE'VE BECOME MUCH MORE GOVERNED BY PROFESSIONAL LEGISLATORS ALMOST AT EVERY LEVEL.

I THINK ONE OF THE GREAT VALUES OF YOUR BOOK HERE, IN ADDITION TO ALL THE THINGS WE MENTIONED.

LEARNING AND IN A WAY THAT'S ENJOYABLE.

BUT IT ALSO PRESENTS A BIBLE FOR PEOPLE, ALL RIGHT, IF YOU WANTS TO BE A CITIZEN LEGISLATOR AND YOU HAPPEN TO BE A WOMAN, COME TAKE A LOOK AT THIS AND WE'LL HELP YOU GET THERE.

THAT BEING SAID, IF SOMEONE SAID TO YOU, OKAY, I'M A WOMAN, I'M REALLY INTERESTED, WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE ME ABOUT RUNNING FOR OFFICE, HOW DO YOU DISTILL IT?

I THINK THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I WOULD GIVE IS TO START TALKING ABOUT IT.

THAT WAS THE FIRST THING KATE SAID TO ME IN OUR VERY FIRST PHONE CALL.

I THOUGHT IT WAS AMAZING.

SHE SAID IT WAS THE FIRST THING WOMEN SHOULD DO BEFORE THEY EVEN FIGURE OUT WHERE TO RUN.

OR WHAT THE EXACT REQUIREMENTS WERE FOR THAT SPECIFIC SEAT.

THAT THEY SHOULD SIMPLY START SAYING IT ALOUD.

THAT'S THE NUMBER ONE THING.

I TOTALLY AGREE THAT THE PROMISE OF OUR DEMOCRACY IS ABOUT WE THE PEOPLE.

THAT MEANS ALL OF US PEOPLE.

AND ONE OF THE COOL THINGS, COOL FACTS IN THE BOOK IS THAT MOST WOMEN ARE RUNNING BECAUSE THEY SEE A PROBLEM THAT DIRECTLY AFFECTS THEM AND THEY WANT TO SOLVE IT.

NOT ALL MEN BUT A LOT OF MEN ARE RUNNING FOR CAREER ADVANCEMENT.

SO WE SHOULD ALL WANT PEOPLE IN OFFICE, MEN OR WOMEN, ANY GENDER, WHO ARE RUNNING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM THAT THEY SEE.

I THINK THAT IDEA OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, WE'RE NOT REALLY TEACHING CIVICS ANYMORE.

IT IS MYSTERIOUS.

WE DON'T OFTEN THINK IT IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD DO.

I HOPE PEOPLE READ THE BOOK AND WALK AWAY FROM IT THINKING, I AM A PART OF ALL THIS THAT I SEE AROUND ME AND THAT COULD MEAN A RUN FOR OFFICE.

ONCE AGAIN, IT IS CALLED REPRESENT, THE WOMAN'S GUIDE TO RUNNING FOR OFFICE AND CHANGING THE WORLD.

THANK YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

IT IS WONDERFUL WORK THAT YOU AND KATE DID.

WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME.

BE WELL.

YOU, TOO.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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