Glennon Doyle and Biden Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon on Politics, Motherhood, and Doing Hard Things


One, again, I have my kids to anchor me. They could give a shit about all this. Around the time of the decision around the running mate, we were having a serious meeting. It was Dr. Biden, and it was the vice president. And my daughters came in, and Katie was like, “Oh, hey, Joe Biden, what are you doing?” Like, no concern. He was happy to talk to them, but it just kind of puts things in perspective.

And the second thing is, you as one person actually can’t take in the totality of what you’re responsible for. I had this amazing team. There were so many other people. Ultimately, it was the President-elect who really carried the burden. But for me, I couldn’t focus on the bigness of it. I just had to know that we were headed in the right direction. And I had to ask myself, what did I have in front of me that I had to accomplish? You can’t let yourself get distracted in the abstract.

I’m going to put a Post-it on my computer that says, “Do not get distracted in the abstract.” That is so good. I read a piece in which your husband said of you, “I’d vote for her. I’d go to the mat for her.” That is so beautiful to me because it struck me that there’s so much connection between love and politics—it’s about who you show up for, how much you believe in them, the risks you’ll take for them, and the world you want to create for them. So love and politics, can you talk a little bit about that connection?

I’ve never thought of it quite like that, but it’s passion and belief in values. Those are the things that drive the work. My dad and my mom are teachers, and they taught us that it was important to be part of your community and to find ways to give back—whether it was through a job or just in your own life. I think that’s what I found when I started doing organizing work, which meant figuring out what other people cared about and what mattered to them. It wasn’t just a one-sided thing. That showed me that you couldn’t be successful in politics if you didn’t understand what another person needed, if you didn’t understand what a community needed. And you had to be open to listening.

Like Joe Biden says all the time, “Great leadership starts with listening.” It’s challenging for us to do that right now, because of how polarized we are. But politics breaks down to one-on-one conversations and not being afraid to talk. I get that you’re not supposed to talk politics at the holiday dinner. Well fuck that. It’s because we don’t do that that we are in this situation now.

I also think, as in love, compromise is a good thing. The atmosphere in the world now is like, “Oh, if you compromise, you don’t believe in something.” No, it’s: I believe in it so much that I’m going to work to find a path we can both go down together. That feels to me like the heart of relationships and love and success across the board.

That might be what we’re missing—is that redefining of compromise. That it is or it can be the ultimate victory.

Yes, exactly. And frankly, that’s what we need. The President-elect was able to connect with people over this sense of unity. In the primary, people would mock him, like, “You think you can work with Republicans?” I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of fuckers. Mitch McConnell is terrible. But this sense that you couldn’t wish for that, you couldn’t wish for this bipartisan ideal? He rejected that. From the start to finish, he set out with this idea that unity was possible, that together we are stronger, that we, as a country, need healing, and our politics needs that too.


Source link