In the summer of 2014, I started filming a documentary about Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu -- corruption scholars running against the most powerful man in New York. They had no money, time, institutional support or previous political experience. When campaign manager Mike Boland asked me to put my camera down and join the campaign as communications director, I had to decide whether I wanted to be a spectator or actually enter the arena. I chose to enter.
"Do you care about your political reputation?" Boland asked.
"Ha, no," I said.
Teachout and Wu ended up winning half of New York's counties and proving that a strong, traditional Democratic message that addresses income inequality, corporate monopolies, crony capitalism, environmental destruction and the relentless attack on public schools will resonate with voters -- even conservative ones in rural counties.
Our campaign proved what's possible when you start with nothing -- and how much more we can achieve if we're fearless, stick together, and don't care about our bad reputations.