The most crushing rejection of my life was neither college, job, nor even romance related. It was, as is fitting my rather nerdy life trajectory, about public policy. After 6 months of elaborate econometric work, countless late nights staring, bleary eyed, into the dull glow of Excel, and more study of Census data than should be undertaken by any sane human being, I presented my policy recommendations to the relevant stakeholders.
It was, at first, a great day—the boss liked it, the staffers liked it, heck, even some Republicans begrudgingly admitted it might be alright! And then I made the mistake of asking a simple question.
“So, what’s next?”
My boss chuckled.
“Well…when Democrats retake the House…and the Senate…and the Presidency…” he went on, as his words faded out and my heart sank.
I learned something that day that most people in progressive politics already know: the obstacle to change is not a shortage of clever white papers written by clever wonks.