Political strategist and author Lis Smith says women are needed – Hollywood Life

Image credit: Courtesy of Lis Smith

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Most voters don’t know Lily Smith. But thanks to his work behind the scenes, ‘Mayor Pete’ Buttigieg became a household name during the 2020 presidential campaign. He became a strong contender to become the Democratic nominee, instead of Joe Biden. This is largely thanks to Smith using all of his experience and skills working on numerous Democratic political campaigns, to implement innovative ways to introduce Buttigieg to American voters.

Lily Smith
Lis Smith, Democratic political strategist and author of “Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story.” (Courtesy of Lis Smith)

She broke Democratic candidate taboos, including putting Buttigieg on FoxNews to do interviews, and had him do interviews with sports sites, local news outlets, student news sites, entertainment sites, etc., instead of just the standard serious news outlets. “It’s really important today that candidates meet voters where they are, and don’t shun non-traditional media, because if we don’t speak to those audiences, chances are readers or listeners don’t. never heard of us,” Smith explained on the HollywoodLife podcast.

“The way to reach young voters is to talk to people on sites like HollywoodLife or sports stool. My advice to Democrats, Republicans, anyone – is to reach all the voting audiences you can and never think you’re too good for anyone. ‘Cause if you’re too good for someone, then why would they show up and vote for you?

Smith’s efforts helped Buttigieg rise to national prominence and so impress fellow Democratic nominee Joe Biden, that when he became president, he appointed Buttigieg as U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Smith takes readers to his new bestseller, Any Tuesday: A Political Love Story, by his decision to work with Buttigieg, and then by the whirlwind of long days and nights on the presidential campaign trail.

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” she says. “After the 2016 elections, I was one of those people who were disenchanted with politics. It was horrible to see someone like donald trump elected. Someone who was an outspoken misogynist and had all these hateful opinions. I thought maybe it was time to get out of this case. And Pete really helped me redeem my faith in politics. Why it was important and why it is so important.

Smith had had that faith in politics and fell in love working on campaigns when she was just a college student and volunteered for the senator John Edwards’ presidential campaign in 2004. After college, when her classmates left to work in New York, Smith began her career as a worker in various campaigns that took her from a very unglamorous place to another place unglamorous across the country.

She moved to Missouri to work on Claire McCaskillof the senatorial campaign, in Virginia to be press secretary on Terry McAuliffe‘s race for Governor in 2009, worked in Ohio and Kentucky. “My friends lived in New York, they were investment bankers or lawyers and went to all the cool clubs. And meanwhile, it’s kind of me sitting alone on the floor of an empty apartment, drinking good wine walked in a plastic cup,” she recalls. “Why I did it, obviously it wasn’t for the glamor but because I understood that it was really important, and that politics touches every aspect of our lives, whether we like it or not.”

Today, Smith says she has no regrets for all those years of sleeping on mattresses in empty apartments. “It’s not like I could wake up one morning and walk into an office and be Pete Buttigieg’s senior adviser. To get to where I found myself as a rare woman in the upper echelons of American politics, I I had to be willing to make those sacrifices. I had to be willing to go anywhere. It was all worth it. But it impacts your personal life. That means you’re going to miss a lot of fun parties…but if you’re passionate, it worth it. And it will pay off in the long run.”

Because Lis believes it is worth it for other women to follow in her footsteps and rise through the ranks, she decided to write her new best-selling book. New York Times sellers. “I think back to when I was an 18 year old girl and started getting interested in politics and wanted to volunteer for a campaign. There is no real guide or manual on how to get involved. The closest I had was the famous political documentary, The war room(a 1993 documentary about bill clintonof the presidential campaign with his campaign manager James Carville and George Stephanopoulos) but there are really no women in The war room. So I thought it would be interesting and necessary for a woman to write what it’s really like behind the scenes of politics.

It’s Smith’s description of the long days and frantic nights of showcasing his contestants at their best while undermining opponents in a way as fierce as anything you’ve ever imagined that makes his book impossible to put down. . She almost always worked for candidates she admired, whose policies she believed in. And while political campaigns have historically been led by men, Smith is part of a growing group of women who have persevered and risen to the top of their field.

Jen O’Malley Dillon was Joe Biden’s campaign manager during his winning campaign for president. Kellyanne Conway led Donald Trump’s successful campaign for the White House in 2016. But Smith believes it’s imperative that more women both run for political office and work behind the scenes – “especially when women’s issues are on the ballot. We understand these issues on a much more visceral level.

Any Tuesday
The cover of Lis Smith’s new book. (Courtesy of Lis Smith)

It’s because women’s reproductive health care is on the ballot, along with the actual survival of democracy (now that Republicans are running candidates for office) that Smith thinks Democrats will come out and vote halfway through. mandate. “Now if you’re a Democrat, it’s kind of hard to sit on your hands and say, ‘oh, there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans and this election didn’t really important. My vote will not count. Yes, your vote will really count. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in a blue or red state, especially if you’re in a red or purple state, your vote really, really, really matters,” she points out.

Smith thinks the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade will motivate Democrats to vote in a big way midterm. “It will persuade a lot of those suburban voters that we saw opting for Joe Biden in 2020, just because they couldn’t bear to vote for Donald Trump. They could have been sort of disgruntled Republicans, independents, moderates, people who might otherwise have gone back to Republicans in the midterm elections. I think we’re going to see a lot of them stick with the Democrats in 2022 because a majority of Republican voters don’t support banning abortion without exception. But the majority of Republican candidates we see, both for the US Senate and for Governor, support the bans with no exceptions. »

Smith’s research on how voters feel about losing the right to abortion tells her that “American voters don’t want politicians to make private decisions about women’s health care. “. Now that Lis’ book is published and in the hands of readers, she will be advising some rising stars in the Democratic Party, like the Michigan state senator. Mallory McMorrow.

And she is still so in love with the political world, and hopes Any Tuesday inspires other women to jump on the court. She reassures all women who would like to dive into the world of political strategy but fear that it is a career that makes it very difficult to have a family. “I’m not going to lie. I’m not going to water it down and say it’s the easiest thing in the world. It is difficult because the majority of candidates are men. It is very difficult for boyfriends, even as sure as they are, to pay second fiddle to another man, ”she explains frankly. “You need to find someone who is willing to sometimes play second fiddle to the candidate you’re working for – someone who’s very confident and understands that you might not be there at the table every night. “

Smith doesn’t regret the decisions she’s made, many of which are risky. “Taking risks is important. I know women tend to be more risk averse but hopefully I’m proof positive that yeah they might not all work out. But when they report, man , it’s really worth it.

Lola R. McClure