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The Cash Ceiling$
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Nicholas Carnes

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182001

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182001.001.0001

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Why Don’t Workers Run?

Why Don’t Workers Run?

(p.72) 3 Why Don’t Workers Run?
The Cash Ceiling

Nicholas Carnes

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the personal or micro-level factors that discourage qualified workers from running for public office. Using surveys of citizens, candidates, and political party leaders, it shows that workers are less likely to run for public office because they do not have the free time or the economic security to do so, and because they are seldom encouraged by political and civic leaders. These factors differ from what people often hear: for instance, it is not just the high monetary costs of campaigns that discourage workers (those costs deter workers and professionals alike, actually), it is the high personal costs associated with campaigning—burdens like taking time off work and losing out on income during the race—that seem to make running for elected office impossible for many qualified workers.

Keywords:   American workers, working-class Americans, public office, US elections, politics

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