Book Review: 'Every Day Is Election Day'
“Every Day is Election Day” is a book by Rebecca Sive. The subtitle is "A woman's guide to winning any office from the PTA to the White House".
This book is touted as a guide for helping women win in every day elections from head of the PTA to school board to higher office. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this book?
Pros of “Every Day is Election Day”
What questions should you ask yourself to determine if you’re right for an elected political office? What do you need to know and agree upon with your family before you run? “Every Day is Election Day” gives you that list in Chapter 2.
How should you engage with constituents? What relationships should you develop? This book gives good actionable advice on how to do so in Chapter 3.
When you’re starting out in politics, recognize that you need to do the grunt work. Few people start out running for high office and winning. You’re more likely to win a school board position if you’ve already served on the PTA. Working as an aid for a legislator improves your odds of winning when you run for that position, since you have demonstrable experience. Or work for the Tea Party so that you have the connections with the groups that already connect the grassroots support you’d need to win an election.
One of the valuable lessons from this book – if you want to become known to everyone in the party and all major constituents, work in fundraising for others before you run for office yourself.
This is one of the few books I’ve seen ever discuss how to work a room the right way.
You get clear advice on how to craft an image – one based on yourself and your values. Know your lines and don’t cross them, but do make sure those working with you know what they are so they don’t promise what you will not deliver. Know your vision and goals, and work toward them.
Each chapter summarizes the important lessons in concise bullet points.
The Cons of “Every Day is Election Day”
The author’s far left political bias is not only obvious from the beginning but colors every chapter. For example, nearly every female leader she interviews is a prominent Democrat politician, countered by conservative women like Sarah Palin. Caroline Casagrande is a notable exception to this pattern. Another example is the repeated portrayal of women at the head of Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, NARAL and other pro-abortion groups as case studies but never the head of a major conservative group.
In other sections, you see both sides of an issue mentioned like government mandated paid leave, followed by a statement along the lines of “but of course the conservative view is bad”. This liberal bias is demonstrated again when the book says to use identity politics; it says to call on “the sisterhood” to rally women together to support family issues, while all solutions the book discusses are socialist.
This book fawns over the Obamas while idealizing Hillary Clinton. Note: this book was written after Clinton’s failed primary race against Obama but before Clinton’s failed second run for the White House.
The book is likewise infected by a strong strain of feminism, down to chapter titles “men are your enemies unless they are your friends” and “men will accept it when you take charge”. The book admits you need men to win most elections but engages in identity politics that pit men versus women.
If you can look past the severe liberal bias of the book (or share its politics), “Every Day is Election Day” gives good advice on how to network, work your way up the political hierarchy, move from local to higher office, gain prominence and become well known while maintaining your image.
The lack of self-awareness by the author on the book’s severe left wing bias and promotion of almost entirely Democrats cost it several stars in my rating. Just a case study on Phyllis Schlafly defeating the Equal Rights Amendment or several lower profile conservative women without condescension and backhanded complements would have been enough to balance out the book.