Bloomberg and Democrats were the biggest losers last night, not Obama
First of all, congratulation to John Liu for becoming the first Chinese-American to be elected to city-wide office in New York City. That's a huge slap on the face for the New York Democratic Party establishment; an establishment that's never been too keen on grassroots movements unless they can co-opt to solidify their status-quo.
The other big grassroots story of the night was Bill de Blasio. He walloped Mark Green, one of the darlings of the New York political elite, in a run-off election and breezed into the Political Advocate's office with 76.9% of the vote.
For a political establishment that doesn't suppor grassroots movements unless it's ready to line their pockets --remember of all the so-called grassroots progressives and Democrats defecting to the Bloomberg campaign?-- these two wins are a wake-up call for the NY Dems political establishment.
Well have to see how these two fare for or against the status quo in the next four years.
1. Obama is not the Democratic Party.
Virginia is the best example of this phenomenon: Even though Obama carried the state, voters repudiated the slim pickings pushed on them by the local Democratic party. Creigh Deeds, the genius Democrat who lost the election, ran as an anti-Obama Democrat. In a state that Obama basically swept during the general elections. WHAT KIND OF STRATEGY IS THAT? Oh right, the strategy of a Democrat who rightfully doesn't look at Obama as representing him.
The biggest mistake for the Democratic Party was to sucker themselves into thinking that whatever genius political strategy Plouffe and Axelrod were able to use in getting Obama elected was going to absolve them of their state and local sins of nepotism, cronyism, corruption but most importantly utter ineptitude.
Last night was a big wake-up call for Democrats who think they'll be able to coast on the coattails of Obama for the next 3-7 years.
Which takes me to the big story of the day: Bill Owens will for New York's Congressional District #23. What's the moral of that story?
2. Carpetbaggers better not fuck with upstaters.
The sleepy corner of upper New York state became an ideological battle ground for the extreme right of the Republican party with a non-Palin-looking Dede Scozzafava being muscled out of the election by the GlennBeckian non-resident of the district Hoffman. Yet in the process of eating their own, out-of-state extremists revealed the awful truth about the New York State Democratic Party: They suck.
Democrats in New York state are rarely differentiated from their Republican counterparts. Abortion is not one a political lightning rod for New York politicians. On the contrary, NYC boasts a rather disturbing amount of African American and Latino right-to-lifers on their rolls. What separates Republicans from Democrats is the amount of money their willing to put at the feet of the political establishment in both Albany and Washington DC.
NY23 happened to be one of those districts that NY Dems didn't look as particularly profitable for them until the teabaggers came into town. And that's basically their modus operandi: Many districts in the state are marked as losses from the get go. NY23 proved what a dangerous strategy that is --especially in a year when one more Democrat in Congress could make a huge difference in Health Care and Immigration legislation.
The challenge for true progressives in New York state will be to not only get rid of anti-gay, misogynist, immigrant hating Republicans. The challenge will be to find progressives to run against Democrats Democrats with similar political views, from local all the way up to Congressional, regardless of whether it is a "red district" or not.
3. Michael Turk put it best, Can we now agree that 2008 was a referendum on Bush and GOP arrogance, and not a vote for radical liberalism?
This bears repeating over and over and over again. Obama wasn't a choice for radical liberalism. Obama wasn't even a choice for the Democratic Party. Obama didn't even win because he was a centrist. Obama won because he successfully sold himself as an outsider from the political establishment who had a vision of a United States that could be better without partisan politics.
In other words: Obama won because he was the ANTI-IDEOLOGICAL, ANTI-PARTISAN candidate. He didn't win because people believed he could change the swamp of Capitol Hill or the rats' nest of the Democratic Party. He won because he not only wasn't part of the swamp or the rats but because he aspired to transcend all of that with his presidency.
Michael Turk's comment was directed to Republicans but you might as well use it to bash into the heads of Democrats why they can't rest on Obama's laurels. 90% of the Democrat Party do not represent "Change We Can Believe In" and that's what got played out in all of lat night's electoral losses.
4. All the money int he world is not going to win you a mandate
The race was called in favor of Bloomberg when he was winning by 3%. He ended up tallying a 4.58% win. That means that the Boss Bloomberg plunked down $21,834,061.1 per each point in his margin of win. That's an obscene amount of bribe money; yet it proves that had New York City a true political grassroots movement represented in the Democratic Party, Thompson would have squeaked in a victory.
5. New York City is ready for a grassroots renaissance
Thompson didn't win because he was one of the ultimate insiders just like his losing predecessor, Freddy Ferrer. It's not just that Freddy was Puerto Rican and Bill was black. It was really the fact that these two have been part of the political establishment of New York City for far too long. Every single Democratic mayoral loser since Dinkins has been part of the party establishment.
Yet look at the massive margins that got both de Blasio and Liu elected. If any of these two guys want to become mayor the lesson is very simple: FIGHT MICHAEL BLOOMBERG FOR THE NEXT 4 YEARS.
You can't raise $100 million to buy yourself the local and national media? Fine. Then fight the man every single step of the way for the next 4 years. Govern like you were still campaigning. Amass grassroots support and boost the numbers of your independent allies. Most importantly though, KEEP YOUR FACE IN THE LOCAL MEDIA. That means every single week, every single month, you gotta get yourself out there in front of the cameras, on the newspapers and most importantly on the blogs to move your message over and over and over again.
Michael Bloomberg doesn't have a mandate. Liu, de Blasio and every single Democrat who wants to become the next mayor needs to keep the campaign going until 2013.
Which gets me to my favorite peeve:
6. NY Democrats still don't get the power of new media
Local Democrats are also the last people to podcast, video blog, post
on blogs or needless to say twitter. The height of a lot of these
campaigns is a Facebook page and a site.
They're counting on making it to the local radio and TV shows. Which is why they not only have no interest in either founding their own channels digital communication, they're really not out to support indie efforts like a lot of the local and statewide political blogs.
NY Democrats are the last people to buy ads in blogs like this one. Not all of them, but most of them. It's why I stand by my belief that NY Dems hate grassroots activists and will do anything to if not squash our work, then make it look like we don't exist.
Well, am not going anywhere and neither is this blog. I don't have the kind of cash flow of a Huffington Post or even a Gothamist; but am not going anywhere. The question is how to keep on going with the little money we take in every month.
7. Bloomberg controls mainstream media
I was watching the Maddow Show for like a minute. NBC and MSNBC had declared Bloomberg the winner with less than 50,000 votes in. While NY23 was being held as "too close to call" with Owens' 5% advantage and more than 150,000 votes in, big media was giving Bloomberg his crown rather early.
I tweeted about this and within minutes NBC retracted the call. No, I don't believe it is a coincidence. I am the blogger that nobody in the political and media elite admits to reading or keeping a close eye on. Ask Jake Tapper about me and you'll see what I mean.
8. Gotta watch FOX5NEWS & WOR9 more often
I was just astounded by how FOX, of all media outlets, was down-playing Bloomberg's win. It was epic, to say the least.
Not only did they refuse to call the race for Bloomberg with less than 50% of the votes in, the political reporter, whose name escapes me, went ahead and declared Bloomberg's victory an actual loss. He then proceeded to enumerate the reasons why Bloomberg's win was a charade given his first-term position on term limits.
WOR-9, the New Jersey channel was excellent in its dissecting of the state's race, particularly how losing the big counties really was what did Corzine in.
Not all big media is lost, particularly if it is local.
9. Very few people outside of Philly noticed the SEPTA strike and yet we should have.
There's an awakening of the labor movement happening in the United Sates and big media is paying little to no attention to it. I found it intriguing that SEPTA called a strike during election day and within weeks of the Puerto Rico's island-wide strike. I am not an expert on unions but my comment about it is very simple: #paroPR was the perfect example of Labor stepping in where parties failed. Unions were are the core of Liu and di Blasio's support. Labor is at the core of Working Families Party which in turn was instrumental in getting Bill Owens elected. And had it not been for Labor, Thompson woudn't have lost by such a small margin.
Which takes me to my last take away: What's the real political weapon to use against Bloomberg? It's plain an simple:
10. Bloomberg's power grab is all about real estate and middle and working class housing.
That's why a certain "progressive drummer" bolted from her think tank and went to work for Boss Bloomberg. Bloomberg's "War Against The Middle Class Renters" is what will bring him and all his supporters down. Look at the mess his inability to support rent-stabilized voters has brought to Stuyvesant-Town? The place was sod for $6billlion of Saudi money and pension funds. Now it's worth less than $2billion.
The collapse of Stuyvesant-Town is the collapse of not just commercial real estate but of affordable housing for middle and working class renters all across New York City. This place's going down in flames and bringing a lot of people with it. And Boss Bloomberg & Co will come down hard on rent-decontrol. They will step up the evictions and they will step up ridding the city of the non-luxury tenants they despise. You know, the kind of city dweller that will actually demand services from their government given the amount of taxes we pay each and every year.
Which is why we really need to kick New York City and New York State Democrats in the nuts.
The lesson to be learn is indeed simple: Outlayer liberals and grassroots progressives can win elections in New York City. What is important is to keep in mind that New Yorkers didn't give Bloomberg a mandate this third time around yet they didn't vote in drove for Thompson because he either was unknown too many or too identified with Bloomberg and the NYS Dems establishment. It's why there was no enthusiasm for the man, and yes, count me in as one of those who saw another Freddy Ferrer and Mark Green in the making.
It's time to say ta-ta to the political establishment. It is possible to beat Boss Bloomberg's $100,000,000 political machine. He threw all that money away and still doesn't have a mandate. But you have to get your progressive blogosphere together. You need to ramp up alternative broadcasting and communications channels. And you need to fiercely challenge Bloomberg for the next four years if you want to become the next mayor of this city. On blogs, on YouTube, on Twitter, on Facebook and of course on local, state and national media. Every single week and without pause. As if your political career depended on it because, well, it does.
And what's your weapon? Affordable housing. Not just for the very poor, but affordable and rent-stabilized housing for middle and working class renters. That means battling out every single real estate deal in the city. That means scrutinizing and outing every single development bribe the city gets for yet another luxury condo or multi-billion dollar office tower. That means working with grassroots labor and tenant associations all across the city. They are you're ticket to every rental building in the city and to the millions of New Yorkers who never make it to polls because they don't know what is it they have to loose.
The road to beating the Republican Mayoral stronghold of New York City is right in front of us --but it means we'll have to take it without most of the NY Democratic Party establishment. Are you ready to go down that road? Because, I don't know about you but I did with my first full-slate vote for the Working Families Party.
Good-bye NY Dems political establishment. I hardly knew ya.