Election Reflections

Brandi Malarkey, artist.


The election is over! I must say, campaigning is the most bewildering way to apply for a job–not only bewildering, but also terrifying, rewarding, exhilarating, and a complete emotional roller coaster. On one hand, there are so many truly amazing moments. You meet new people, make new friendships, get reminded about how truly generous and supportive your friends can be as they help with everything from editing your thoughts into something that makes sense, to hosting a yard sign, to promoting you among their networks. I have had people wander the neighborhoods on my behalf, and give me five dollars to get a coffee on a day I might need a pick me up. Then you get such surprising votes of support from people you’ve never met before that for some insane reason think you will do a good job, and from people you don’t know well, but respect greatly, who suddenly throw in behind you. The lovely thing is that all the candidates can have that experience and support at the same time, since there are more different perspectives than there are candidates. It is truly unfortunate that running for office has become such a divisive, and often negative, endeavor. It certainly doesn’t have to be.

The experience definitely shoved me out of my comfort zone, however, as I was forced to do a lot of things that are very hard for me. Like door knocking.

Door knocking is an odd thing. On one hand, it is such an incomparable opportunity. You get to make connections, and learn from people what they observe, what is important to them, what things they are passionate about. I’ve had so many amazing conversations ranging from large topics like finances and communications, to smaller, intense conversations about garbage cans. I’ve been offered baked goods, helped corral pets that have escaped their homes, and helped someone fix their front screen door. I’ve seen amazing yard art, admired truly spectacular gardens, and enjoyed free little libraries. You get a completely new view of the neighborhoods you pass through every day. On the other hand, there is no way to do it “right”.

Brandi Malarkey, artist.

It is impossible to know who wants you to come to their door, and who would rather you didn’t, and no way to get to even a quarter of the people who would want you to if you live in a large area. So you do the best you can, and in my case get tied up into anxious knots each time you ring a doorbell.

This year door knocking was particularly memorable, as I managed to fall down the stairs in an apartment building. Fortunately, I was with friends, one of whom I thought was taking my photo, but instead was videoing me laughing like a loon, since what else can you do when it hurts that bad, but it is inappropriate to scream?

Losing more than two weeks of door knocking time because you are a klutz is not particularly helpful on the campaign trail, by the way. Although it certainly reinforces how generous friends can be, as some offered to take my literature about for me, and one friend offered to push me in a grocery cart.

Brandi Malarkey, artist.

We didn’t actually do it, but doesn’t it sound like a hilarious time?

The second most terrifying thing for me was interviews. I am always convinced I will get nervous and say all sorts of things I don’t actually mean. Also, everyone wants you to give short answers and anyone who has ever met me knows I have rarely ever said anything in less than 60 seconds.

Brandi Malarkey, artist


As I said, running for office forces you to grow in all sorts of ways!

Now, however, the election is over. I didn’t win, which means I have more time for other things. I will be trading in my door knocking literature for my paint brushes. I intend to create a LOT of art this summer–starting by completing a lot of projects that got abandoned during the campaign. There may be more frequent posting during the process, so if you don’t like lots of messages, time to unsubscribe.  😉

However, before I launch boldly forward with my new plans, this is going to be my preferred activity for the next day or two…


Brandi Malarkey, Artist

4 Responses

  1. Sorry that you didn’t win the election but I know that it really wasn’t a loss, just another learning experience as you gave it your best. Next time will be even more incredible and hopefully you won’t fall down any stairs in the process. (It really was a funny video though!)

  2. I wonder if the fact that you live in North Fargo had anything to do with the results. Seemed anytime I read anything it seemed to make a big deal out of a north fargo woman running for Park Board?

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