ABOUT THE AUTHOR

#13MINUTES

Samuel S. Chen has spent over a decade with a front-row seat to America's democracy. He is the founder and principal director of The Liddell Group, a strategy firm recognized for its innovative approach to politics, public policy, and communications, and has served in a variety of roles with various presidential candidates, governors, members of Congress, and state and local officials.

Chen additionally serves as host of anchor of Face the Issues, a news journal television program that works to break through partisan talking points and address issues from their overarching ideas to their pragmatic impact on community.

Outside of media and politics, Chen serves as Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Northampton Community College (Bethlehem, PA), where he directs the George S. McElwee Forum for Excellence in Public Service. He has also been involved in financial strategies, including serving as a financial advisor with a Fortune 500 firm.

Chen completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Baylor University (Waco, Texas), where he holds degrees in philosophy, political science, and church-state-studies. He has received various awards and accolades for his work and his research and is a frequent speaker on college campuses and at various conferences. 

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FAST FACTS

BEST MEMORY FROM THE 2016 ELECTION?

Without a doubt the friendship that was forged with my friend Meredith. (She's in the book.) She is an example of how we ought to lead in government and politics. She's a blessing and Ohio is lucky to have her. That, and I owe my love for Cleveland and, especially, the Indians to her! #RallyTogether

BIGGEST POLITICAL PET PEEVE?

I have two -- 1) the mind-boggling level of importance placed on yard signs and 2) the incessant cry that "this  is the most important election of our lifetimes". Both are grossly overstated.​

GREATEST FEAR IN POLITICS?

The reactionary approach to politics. We no longer differentiate people, ideas, and arguments. The same policies and actions we criticize in our opponents, we employ ourselves. We applaud or dismiss arguments because of who makes them, instead of engaging the ideas and debating their merits. We criticize poor character in our opponents, while ignoring or defending it in our allies. We defend poor character in our allies by pointing to poor character in our opponents. We cannot govern with this mindless approach to politics. We must learn to respond thoughtfully, as opposed to react emotionally. Being better is on us.

BEST KEPT SECRET IN POLITICS?

Politics is far more petty locally than it is in Washington. While there are exceptions, there's a general bipartisan respect -- even friendship -- present in the nation's capital that is dangerously lacking at the local level. In Washington, political opponents are friends with whom we disagree; in local politics, political opponents are malicious dictators who must be excised. It's on us -- in our local communities -- to be better.

ODDEST POLITICAL HABIT?

I refuse to be reliant on caffeine, but consume so much of it during the final weeks of a campaign. So, following Election Day, I often go cold turkey on coffee until Thanksgiving. It's brutal.

ODDEST EXPERIENCE YOU'VE HAD ON A CAMPAIGN?

Too many to list. Everything from mediating a marital dispute in the middle of a fundraiser to voters opening their front door half-naked to ordering wine in front of Dick Yuengling to ordering wine at ... well, let's just say there are a lot of stories that begin with ordering wine.

BEST POLITICAL DRAMA?

Insiders see their jobs as The West Wing and Madam Secretary, outsiders see it as Scandal, but it's really House of Cards ... though some days it feels like VEEP.

ADVICE FOR A YOUNG PERSON LOOKING FOR EXPERIENCE?

Work in food service. It's not glamours, but success isn't built in the spotlight. Your experience will teach you life lessons that no Hill internship could teach; lessons that will ground you in politics and in life. My best hires have come out food service.

ADVICE FOR VISITING OUR NATION'S CAPITAL?

Stand on the right; walk on the left.

© Samuel S. Chen, 2020