Our Chief of Business Development, Kathryn York, offers insights from her unique perspective as parent, elected official and political consultant on the current climate between parents and school board members.
When I was on the campaign trail in 2019, I stepped off the stump to a smattering of lackluster handclaps. A veteran candidate who had seen my speech approached to share some sage advice. “They don’t care how much policy research you did — they just don’t care that much,” he said. “Unless you find a way to talk about what makes them angry, they won’t.”
And he was right.
In 2021, we’ve seen plenty of anger. And as a school board member, I’ve felt first-hand the specific wrath of a parent (who believes they’ve been) scorned. From the outside, it can feel easy to dismiss this vitriol as part and parcel of our current political climate, but as a parent myself, I offer a counter opinion.
There is a great opportunity for Democrats to engage with previously disengaged parents — and potential voters. As we’ve talked about here before, the anger parents experience when they feel left out is real. More often than not, I’ve seen Democrats turn away from this reaction. But, if candidates turn towards those folks, harness that energy, and channel it as an opportunity to include parents in the political conversation, there is a world of voting potential in that demographic.
As we head into the 2022 midterms, I invite you to consider: How do we engage with parents who have been previously shut out by the system, harness their passion for their kids, and channel it towards political momentum for Dems?