Advice from the Right

The people you need to woo are not the political junkies — the
folks who watch political talk shows and already know who you are.
Nor are they the growing numbers of apathetic Americans who are
disengaged from public life and don’t even bother to show up at the
polls. The people you need to woo are the antipolitical voters.
These people are concerned with the state of the nation but
cynical; they are interested in politics but disgusted by the way
it is currently practiced. They don’t see why there has to be so
much conflict, so many scripted attacks, so much wasted energy.

They long for leaders who are not cast in the usual political
mold, and who therefore seem capable of changing the tenor of
American politics. In past elections, both national and local,
these voters have swooned over such unconventional possibilities as
Ross Perot, Jesse Ventura, Colin Powell, and John McCain. And they
are ready to swoon over you — but you’ve got to get out of your

Excerpted from The Atlantic Monthly (Oct. 2003).
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