How to become a senator in 9 easy steps!

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How to Become a Senator: A bird's-eye view of the United States Capitol on a clear day

Crucial to our democracy, senators help discuss and amend bills that, if passed, will one day become law. Of course a very prestigious job, you have probably asked yourself at least once how to become a senator and participate in probably the most famous democracy in human history.

While it’s a prestigious job without which society probably couldn’t function, being a senator isn’t an easy job. Regardless of your opinions, your opinions will always offend at least one person, either because they disagree with them, or because they don’t think they are going far enough.

Understandably, it is also a physically and emotionally demanding job, but with great rewards and high job satisfaction, as you are literally participating in the politics that so many people worship.

1. Meet the criteria

Just like with running for president, the Constitution establishes a series of criteria to be met in order to run for the Senate:

  • Be at least 30 years old
  • United States citizen for nine years
  • A legal resident of the state where you are running for the Senate

Interestingly, the senate is the body that scrutinizes the qualifications of its senators, not the judiciary as in other cases.

Although this was done to reduce the power of the judiciary over the legislative branch, in the early days of the United States, the Senate did not really control the qualifications of senators. As long as they did their job, they were acceptable.

This in turn resulted in four senators not actually meeting the age requirements set out in the constitution: Henry Frick, who was 29 in 1806, Armistead Thomson Mason, who was 28 in 1816, John Jordan Crittenden, who was 29 in 1817 and John Eaton who was 28 in 1818.

While this hasn’t been repeated since, the belief is that as long as you’re 30 when you’re ready for the oath, you can run for office and be elected to the Senate when you’re 29.

Since the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868, anyone who has engaged in the rebellion or aided the enemies of the United States cannot be sworn in as a senator, even if this has never been used.

2. Get life experience

Before most senators consider working on Capitol Hill, most choose to get some early life experience, both to help shape their worldview and to make them more eligible.

If you currently don’t hold Senate qualifications, getting an education and / or a job will act as a double-edged sword: making you both more eligible and giving you something to do while you wait to meet the age criteria.

3. Choose a political party

4. Start small

5. Woo your party

6. Run for the Senate

7. Get elected

8. (Or) Take advantage of the 17th Amendment

Although parties take every care to ensure their candidate is reasonably fit and healthy, the senators dying in office are not unheard of. Just look at the recent examples of Ted Kennedy (2009) and John McCain (2018) to understand this.

When that happens, a state is left without one of its two senators and naturally wants to replace him as quickly as possible.

As required by the 17th amendment,

9. Keep your promises

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