The Life of a Political Operative, Explained

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The staffers who strategize, canvass, and coordinate for candidates get in on the latest Facebook meme.

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No doubt you've encountered the occupational meme by now (if not, follow these simple instructions: log onto Facebook, then scroll through your newsfeed until you see one. It should take about 37 seconds). Now there's one for political operatives -- any delay was caused by furious internal disagreements about how to proceed, extensive polling and focus groups, and then a mishap in which an unpaid volunteer briefly misplaced all of the data. It's good for a chuckle, although it's wishful thinking to believe the public imagines political operatives and staffers to be like The West Wing. They've probably got a bleaker impression than that, and besides, the people who truly obsess over the Bartlett administration are typically either political operatives or political journalists.

Image: Facebook

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David A. Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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