Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bloggers in New York

Liza Sabater has an interesting post on how little New York Democratic politicians are interested in coordinating with what should be their grassroots allies.

The New York contingency of the Democratic party has made the very deliberate decision to not have a grassroots media strategy. Incompetence aside, the Ferrer mayoral campaign shot themselves in the foot because they kept heeding the NY Capitol Hill's advice to stay away from bloggers.

I personally had set up 3 conference calls with bloggers from all around the country for Ferrer. I had worked up the troops and personally asked Markos, Armando and DavidNYC of DailyKos to lead the charge and put a good word for the candidate. I even was able to speak directly to Fernando Ferrer and ask him "do you want the bloggers behind you". He screamed, YES! Calls in the morning, I'm ready. And every single time Fernando Ferrer's communications people sabotaged the effort.

Ferrer, of course, lost.

Now, as one of her commenters points out, Ferrer lost for a whole lot of reasons. But the general observation is valid: New York is not experiencing the kind of bottom-up, internet-led, grassroots vs. party machine resurgence that, for example, Chris Bowers describes in Pennsylvania.

The biggest New York-centric blogs I am aware of trade information, speculation, and comment. There are exceptions: Take Back New York, take19, a representative from which dropped by here the other day, and a few others. These are mainly focused on Republican-held House seats. Most, though, kibitz. Like me.

I can think of a couple of reasons off the top of my head. First, the Republican Party in New York is collapsing on its own. It has not had anything like the success of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania in recent years, and as a result there is less dissatisfaction among Democrats. Pennsylvania has two Republican Senators, remember, and has been considered a swing state in the last two Presidential elections. Second, as described below, there are major structural obstacles to ballot-based reform in New York.

This doesn't strike me as enough, though. There's an element of culture too, though it's difficult to put my finger on. New York does have an activist tradition, but historically it has not wanted to have anything to do with the Democratic Party, even to reform it. I would blame this on the Democratic Party hacks who seem to control everything down to the door hinges, but the resurgence Bowers describes in Pennsylvania is happening in the face of a highly corrupt Philadelphia machine.

So I ask: what do you think is the deal here?

UPDATE: Chris Bowers has another theory: we're just fucking lazy. And there's something to that. I certainly am.

Tags: New York politics


  • At 8:40 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    NYC politicians are smart about pretending to incorporate activist critiques. The quickest way to get a response from a city council member is to shoot them an email (insane as you see fit) claiming to represent an activist group (er, not that I did that last year about the Atlantic Yards project...). They pander shamelessly (yet meaninglessly) to activists. Of course, attention from politicians (or their low level staff) does not bear any particular relationship to policy impact.

    On the Green campaign I had to "put out the fire" (in the inane language of campaigns) a few times when activists showed up at our events. It was like code red pander alert.

  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Much of that is probably true elsewhere, but I think grassroots/activist pandering is especially central to NYC politics, where there's a real culture of "we all share the same goals, in our hearts at least, even if our policies don't bear that out."


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