Most people in powerful positions – and lots of people in powerless positions – must undergo a background check between being offered a job and being given a contract to sign. But some of the most powerful people in the world don’t give HR anything but their social security number before their start date. Those people are politicians, and for them a background check is nothing more, and nothing less, than their constituency’s scrutiny.
In my generation one of the largest and longest-lasting figures on the national stage has kept his seat for over forty years. Between elections – of which he won a 23, consecutively, – Baby Boomers came of age, the Greatest Generation faded away, and Millennials began voting. His city burned and was rebuilt. His district moved – geographically stretching north and demographically expanding to include people who didn’t look or sound like him. During that time his district went from being a drug-dealing stronghold to a bastion of economic development to a gentrified neighborhood. Yet, through it all, his district hold one thing to be true – Representative Charlie Rangel was the right man to represent them. A junior congressman, a friend to the civil rights movement, a leader of the most powerful congressional committee, or a man censured by his colleagues, Rangel held his seat and helped his people. Want to know how he’s done it? He’ll tell you about it with his signature smile. Or you can read selections of how to do things so that, like Rangel, you’ll never have a bad day.