For an illustration of how the Buckley Model is damaging our bench, look at the contrast between the lefty and righty Parkland students who’ve gone on to public life. Yes, professionals did the heavy lifting for the lefty Parkland kids, and yes, the lefty Parkland kids took their turn at punditry; they got publicity, wrote op-eds, and gave interviews. But they did so much more, because their entire movement was structured as a learning experience.
To start with, the Parkland kids’ organization Never Again MSD is a political action committee. That means a bunch of teenagers were taught what a political action committee is, how to form one, and the advantages of forming a PAC rather than another type of organization for what they were looking to do.
Officeholders and teachers’ unions helped coordinate and mobilize a bus trip, which taught the kids how to mobilize a turnout. The kids were involved in the pressure campaign that saw the National Rifle Association lose a bunch of special corporate deals for NRA members. Then they were part of March for Our Lives, which involved coordinating events featuring hundreds of thousands of people in the main march in DC and more in hundreds of satellite events.