Fredric U. Dicker called it
This was like one of those bad dreams when you're being charged by a big, fat, slow, ungainly dairy cow that in real life you'd see coming a mile away and dodge no problem, but since you're in a fucked up imaginary world, your legs don't work and she smacks you right in the chest.
Mr. Cuomo received 67 percent of the delegates' votes and delivered a stinging defeat to Mark Green, the former New York City public advocate and the Democrats' 2001 candidate for mayor. Until Tuesday, Mr. Green expected to win 25 percent, the minimum for a spot on the ballot, but he got only 19 percent.
After the vote, Mr. Green lambasted Mr. Cuomo and various Democratic county leaders for what he called bullying delegates to switch from being Green supporters to voting for the Cuomo campaign.
In particular, he mentioned the Democratic chairmen of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Suffolk and Nassau Counties "for their deals and threats at the behest of the Cuomo machine." Mr. Green said he knew of "dozens of examples" in which delegates committed to his campaign were threatened with everything from the loss of contracts to political opposition in future campaigns if they kept their commitment to the Green campaign.
In a lot of ways, New York is a profoundly undemocratic state. Green and the other candidates can still try to get on the ballot by collecting signatures, but it's a huge pain in the ass, and New York's signature-challenge laws are the nation's most ridiculously restrictive. Tons of signatures are thrown out for super-picky "errors:"
This is done by "challenging" the petition signatures, the address of the signer, their Ward, Election district, Assembly district, and Congressional district. (Do you know your Ward/Election district?) Or, by challenging the witness of the petition on the same grounds.
Don't think that this does not happen. In 1994, the 125th Assembly seat challenger's petition was attacked on the grounds that one of the witness's address on the petition did not match the Cortland county's new 911 system address. Some of Forbes' petitions were challenged on the grounds the paper was too short, was signed in the wrong color ink, and transposed wards/assembly districts.
To quote the same DLC graph I lifted last time:
[T]he real issue is the local Democratic Party's uncanny ability to undermine the public's will to participate in the system, in part by throwing challengers off the ballot and making elections meaningless. It is telling that, while just 2 percent of the nation's population lives in Gotham, the city manages to generate more than half of the country's ballot access lawsuits.
Not that this is only a Democratic Party problem. Both parties' bosses are clearly happy with things as they are. In 2000, John McCain had to sue to get on the Republican primary ballot.
As Solomon commented when I first mentioned this issue:
[T]his process question about back room deals is especially disturbing since the Democratic candidate, whoever it is, is almost certain to win.
All this, together, makes the irony in Andrew Cuomo's victory statement delicious.
Whether you voted for me or not, going through the Democratic process had made me a better candidate.
Get it? Big-D Democratic process, small-d undemocratic process. Wotta punster.
Tags: new york, politics, Mark Green, Andrew Cuomo