“What Working For Underdog Political Campaigns Has Taught Me About Staying On Message, On Mission, and Unshriveled of Soul In These Trying-Ass Times” with Janani Sreenivasan

BullCon18 is right around the corner! We’re so excited to welcome Janani Sreenivasan to the speaker lineup.

Get a sneak peak into what to expect this fall below!

Hi Janani, can you tell us a tiny bit about your topic and what to expect from you at BullCon18?

Since September of 2017, I’ve worked as a digital strategist on a variety of local, state, and federal campaigns. Right now, I’m working on three red-to-blue midterm races in Utah, Illinois, and California, where the targeted seats have been Republican-held for anywhere from 8 to 40 years.

Fighting to elect a Democrat in deep-red districts that chose Trump over Clinton, or a state like Utah where the entire Congressional delegation is Republican, can feel like a fool’s errand. That’s why Democrats haven’t bothered visiting some of these counties in years or even decades. Sometimes they can seem practically unwinnable without an assist from a pedophile on horseback. So, why try?

Speaking personally, I’ve found that working a red-to-blue amounts to mental CrossFit in maintaining a positive, specific vision when nothing reflects it back to you. Waving that lonely little flag is your daily job, as is shifting from a purely oppositional #Resistance mindset to defining and celebrating the world we actually want to live in. Pessimism has no place in this work; you cannot afford even one thought or action that is not constructive or results-oriented. Or you’ll have hives until 2020.

This mental shift—from abhorring the world we live in, to inviting others to dwell in a new one—is necessary for surviving work, but I’ve also found it spilling over into my personal life. I’m a better problem-solver, negotiator, and yes, campaigner on my own behalf than I was before I began work on these races. And you can be one too.

That’s what I’d like to share with you at BullCon—along with as many funny stories as I can get away with without jeopardizing the polls and/or getting fired.


Without giving too much away, what’s your number one tip for staying unshriveled of soul?

No matter how deeply you are in conflict with your surroundings—your family, your culture(s), your institutions, your government—you have the right to wake up each day and describe the world you want to live in. You’re not stuck with what you have. You’re allowed to desire something different, name it, and go after it.

What do you want more of, right now? Something can always be better. Make a discipline of imagining a world different and better than the one you live in. Imagine what it’s like to inhabit it, right now. Then start telling other people about it, and persuade them to want it, too.

That’s exactly what the administration and the right-wing forces who have worked behind the scenes for 30 years are doing: they are naming and going after what they want. You need to go, with an equal ferocity, after what YOU want. Moving the needle in politics is about deciding, for yourself, without apology or self-defense or explanation, that you and your needs matter.

In the meantime, how can we stay in touch online? 

I am sadly scarce online, but you can follow me on Twitter @jennyvasan, and you can of course follow the candidates I work with:

Jenny Wilson: @jennywilsonUT FB: wilsonforsenate
Lauren Underwood: @lunderwood630 FB: UnderwoodforCongress
Jessica Morse: @morse4America FB: Morse4America


Want more? Join us in Palm Springs for BullCon18! Get your tickets here.

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