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The Tough Realities of Being a Political Party Staffer: What You Need to Know

Politics is a rough and tumble world, and nowhere is it rougher than working as a staffer for a political party. Whether you’re just starting out in your political career or you’re a seasoned veteran, there are certain tough realities you need to be aware of. In this article, we’ll explore what it’s really like to work for a political party, including the long hours, the stress, the office politics, and the need to always be on your A-game.

The Long Hours

Working for a political party is not a 9-5 job. It’s a 24/7 commitment, particularly during election season. Staffers are often expected to work long hours, including weekends and late nights. This can make it difficult to have a work-life balance, particularly for those with families.


– During election season, campaign staffers are often putting in 12 to 16 hour days, 7 days a week.
– During the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, campaign staffers were told to move to their respective states and work on the ground for the final weeks leading up to the election. Many slept on office floors and worked around the clock.

The Stress

Politics is a high-stress environment, and working for a political party is no exception. Staffers are often under intense pressure to perform, particularly during campaigns. The stakes are high and the consequences of failure can be significant.


– In the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was plagued with infighting, leaks, and other issues. This resulted in a loss to Donald Trump, and many staffers felt personally responsible.
– In the run-up to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, both campaigns were under immense pressure to win, particularly given the heated political climate. Staffers worked tirelessly to ensure their candidate came out on top.

The Office Politics

Working for a political party can be a tricky business. Office politics are a large part of the job, and staffers need to navigate these waters carefully. This can include dealing with power struggles, cliques, and other issues.


– During the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, there were reports of infighting between staffers on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Leaked emails and other documents revealed tensions between different factions within the campaign.
– In the U.K., political parties have been accused of bullying and harassment of staffers. A 2019 survey found that over a quarter of political party staff had experienced bullying or harassment.

The Need to Always Be on Your A-Game

Working for a political party requires a high level of skill and expertise. Staffers need to be on their A-game at all times, and any misstep can have significant consequences. This can include getting fired or damaging the party’s reputation.


– During the 2020 Presidential election, Joe Biden’s campaign was praised for its digital strategy. However, the campaign’s use of a stock photo from Shutterstock as part of its outreach to Latino voters was criticized and seen as a misstep.
– In the U.K., a Conservative Party staffer was fired after being caught on camera discussing “gossip” about Labour Party leaders. The staffer’s comments were seen as damaging to the Conservative Party’s image.


– Hunt, E.M., & O’Connell, R. (2020). The long hours, tough decisions and high morale of being a political campaign staffer. ABC News. Retrieved from
– Parnell, P. (2019). Quarter of political party staff experience bullying or harassment, survey finds. The Guardian. Retrieved from
– Toosi, N., Isenstadt, A., & Montellaro, Z. (2020). How the Biden campaign created a winning digital operation. Politico. Retrieved from
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