yesterday how the whole system of economic advisers worked, and today, I got
an answer, from someone who’s helping to advise one prominent presidential candidate:
People in the policy world get to know one another. People seek advice first
casually and, if there’s a fit, more formally. The record of advisers
getting senior administration posts is very good, you’ll find. That
said, there are plenty of folk who have no Potomac fever. That’s likely to
be true of some, but not all, of the prominent academics advising candidates.
But if their guy or gal gets into the White House, there’s wonderful access
from the early involvement at a minimum.
I think that most of us have the occasional "if I were president"
moment. And so I suppose it’s only natural that for anybody who’s never going
to be elected president themselves, the next best thing would be to have real
policy influence over the president – which is something you might be
able to get by hitching your star to a campaign early on.
My informant is currently working on an unpaid basis, so one can only assume
that s/he does genuinely support the candidate in question. On the other hand,
maybe the benefits of working for the eventual winner mean that people will
work even unpaid for a candidate they think has (a) a good chance of winning,
and (b) a good chance of taking at least some of their advice.