Baker Talks Life on the 2020 Presidential Campaign Trail

While he was working on a presidential campaign, Max Baker, BC ’19, barely got to see his friends, he didn’t get to travel anywhere, and he watched so much Fox News that he thought his brain would go numb. He would go to bed between 11 p.m. and midnight, only to wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning.

“It’s also probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” Baker said. “It’s easily the thing I’m most proud of in the world.”

Baker, a current digital and communications aide to Amy Klobuchar, talked to Boston College students and faculty Thursday night about his experience working and campaigning for the U.S. senator from Minnesota. He shared his political insights at a virtual event titled “Fear and Loathing on the 2020 Campaign Trail,” moderated by political science professor Peter Skerry.

As part of Klobuchar’s communications team, Baker primarily wrote social media posts, statements, and press releases. He also provided Klobuchar with daily synopses of political happenings—a task that required him to wake up at 4:30 a.m. every day. 

Baker did not understate the difficulty of his job and campaigning. 

“It’s your life,” he said. “It’s what you breathe, what you eat. All your friends are in this campaign.”  

Baker discussed the structure of the Klobuchar campaign and its nine divisions: research, human resources, communications, field, digital, political, data, finance, and grassroots. 

Grassroots organizing—conducting smaller, localized campaigns—is less important for campaigns in a digitally enhanced world, Baker said. 

“Because of the creation of television, I think that [grassroots campaigning] is somewhat negated,” he said.

Baker noted that some of his favorite moments on the campaign trail included learning that The New York Times had endorsed Klobuchar and that she had placed third in New Hampshire. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever thrown my computer before, but that was the first time I ever have and hopefully the last,” Baker said, in reference to the unexpected New Hampshire finish. “I was just so excited.” 

During the question and answer segment, Baker was asked about allegations by former staffers from earlier this year—as reported by The New York Times, Business Insider, and Politico, among others—that Klobuchar mistreats aides and campaign staff.

“She’s never been mean to me,” Baker said. “I think she’s a great boss.”

Baker encouraged students to seek jobs on the campaign trail. 

“Work really late at night,” Baker said. “Close out some of the crappiest dive bars in Des Moines that you can find, and have a great time.”

Featured Image by Madeleine Romance / Heights Editor

October 14, 2020