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Sender: Sean Long
Subject: Re: Why Partyism is Wrong
Date: Sat, Nov 15, 2014
Msg: 101160

As a college senior, I recently experienced a similar feeling to that of the student in Brooks' article. I am a Democrat considering working for a Republican office in a Republican-controlled Congress, and one office's legislative assistant recently told me an "unwritten rule" for working in Congress: staffers are only allowed to switch parties once. Another staff assistant and a friend who interned in a Senate office confirmed this tacit rule.

I wonder: what would a "transpartisan" approach be to discussing previous partisan involvement in an interview with an opposing party's congressional office?

The reason for this "unwritten rule"? One must show a "commitment to the cause"--meaning party loyalty. And if I interview for a Democratic office, the staffer urged me not to disclose the fact that I spent last weekend calling voters for Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial campaign in Illinois.

For me, "the cause" is better governance or a particular policy issue, and I am trying to search for a way to phrase this that also fits with congressional offices' interest for staffers to commit to the party. In light of David Brooks' article, does anyone have advice?

Sean Long Senior, University of Notre Dame


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