Re: Local Politics

1

Friending lesser known office holders here would probably mean the ward chairs and block captains. This would involve figuring out who these people are and they would almost certainly ask me to do stuff if I tried to get to know them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:55 AM
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I think your second paragraph is the key to it. If you want to try this, your best bet would probably be to identify some young up and comer, latch onto them while they're unknown and follow their career.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:56 AM
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3

Moby is apparently commenting from the 1970s.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:04 AM
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4

Pretty much. The old-style, pre-hippie Democratic Party is crumbling, but still there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:13 AM
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5

Block captains are making a comeback these days in super-hip post-Obama campaigning.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:20 AM
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6

Thing is, even a low-level politician is going to keep their person social media identity private. If they have a public social media presence, it will be run by their campaign. If they are small time enough that their campaign doesn't have a professionally staffed social media presence, they aren't going to have a social media presence at all.

I just looked around for the mayor of my leafy outer suburb, and all her online presence is campaign oriented.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:24 AM
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7

I would guess, Moby, that the Democratic Party in your county has the same organization as in mine: the central committee is composed of a man and a woman elected from each precinct. And yes, if you go to a meeting, they'll be so excited to see you that they'll elect you recording secretary or corresponding secretary or something like that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:26 AM
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8

5 isn't true. My Volvo mechanic is on the city council. Our contractor is on city planning. The mayor went to high school with three of my friends.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:28 AM
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9

8 to 6, not 5.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:29 AM
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10

Also fucking relational/transactional models. Bleurgggghhh.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:30 AM
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11

What I mean isthat none of them besides the mayor have PR teams, but they're all ordinary people on FB.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:31 AM
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12

To the OP, this is the sort of thing that works much better in a reasonably sized polity, not the overstuffed mega-states most of you people inhabit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:32 AM
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13

This relies on both posting/sharing political stuff on Facebook and friending strangers (politicians, no less). Neither of which I have any desire to do.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:32 AM
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14

8: Do they have social media presences?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:33 AM
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Also, even if you're only barraging the PR team with your opinion, it'll affect their notion of what pisses the constituents off.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:33 AM
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14: they're on FB, at least.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:34 AM
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12 -- Texas is an overstuffed megastate, but most of the counties are small enough, and cities as well, that you can know the people. If you lived in Dallas or Houston, I think you'd need to be an activist to have the same kind of connections.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:35 AM
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I'm being repetitive bc I'm on my phone and half distracted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:35 AM
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If they are small time enough that their campaign doesn't have a professionally staffed social media presence, they aren't going to have a social media presence at all.

This doesn't seem to be true here. Not all of the small-time candidates have social media presences, but most of them do. I voted for one guy basically because he's one of the two candidates for office who follows me on twitter. The other one isn't sane.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:37 AM
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13 is a super good point.

I think that it's easy to overestimate how professional a given campaign is, given that a vast part of campaigning is making yourself look more professional than you really are.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:37 AM
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7: The central committee is fairly powerful. I don't think I'd get anything nearly so glorious if I showed up for the first time. Of course, I've never tried showing up, so I don't really know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:42 AM
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22

90% of everything is not showing up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:46 AM
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23

The other 10% is showing up and sitting in the very back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:02 AM
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24

21 -- You live in an overstuffed megacounty, but it looks to me like there are a shit-ton of precincts. And just clicking on election results (2008 primary is on line), it looks like well under 100 votes still gets you on the central committee in most any district. The precinct I represent on our central committee probably has about 2,000 people -- let's say 1,500 are adults, and 500 are Republicans, so it's not really difficult for an interested constituent to get a relationship going with the central committee. The ratios will be higher for you, but probably not shockingly so.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:02 AM
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In general, in any electoral division smaller than 1 million people, you can become someone (i.e in the 100 or so people who form the functional body of the Party in that division) merely by showing up and being reliably competent. Of course, quite how valuable being someone is is debatable.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:08 AM
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24: There are a shit-ton pf precincts. They haven't shifted the boundaries since they created most of them. I'm in one of the larger ones since it was more suburban when created, but it still isn't that crowded. There are under 600 registered Democrats with turnout of just under 50% in a primary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:15 AM
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26 -- That's crazy. We just shifted ours a bit, because we had to match the new legislative district boundaries. I don't see how AC can avoid that: otherwise, your elections people would have to have some sort of further subdivision at your polling place to know which ballot to give you.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:23 AM
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They just have to keep the precincts together.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:36 AM
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29

There are three or four districts (precincts?) that vote at my polling place, plus two other polling places are a short walk away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:43 AM
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I live in a decent-sized precinct (the ward & precinct lines get redrawn regularly after re-districting/census) with ~1,500 registered voters and ~2,500 eligible voters. I went to a caucus in 2010 at the urging of cow-orkers, and was browbeaten into being the alternate precinct chair, as well as a delegate to the state senate district convention and a committee member for the convention. I'm sure there would be slightly higher barriers to entry if I lived in a richer, more politically connected area, but on the other hand, there is essentially no Republican Party in my city, ward or precinct, so if you're somebody in the DFL here, you're not encountering significant opposition to anything until you start working on statewide races.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:53 AM
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If I weren't so disgusted with every form of activism right now, I would be tempted to get involved with mayoral and city council races this year, as several of them are actually contentious, so it will be at least somewhat interesting for once.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:56 AM
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Anyway, it is obviously defective and so far as I know, there are no active efforts at reform. The winner of the recent Democratic mayoral primary (i.e. the next mayor) did not submit his name to the central committee to seek endorsement. He had been making a fair effort to get his people on the committee, but still avoided it.

The guy who was endorsed was the only person who submitted his name. He dropped out and gave his support to a guy who entered the race after endorsements were made. There was no endorsed candidate. This was mildly amusing because the guy who dropped out had, prior to dropping out, some supporters on the intertubes saying that it was a Democrats duty to vote for the endorsed candidate or (more reasonably but still not applicable to either candidate in the race) that it was wrong for somebody to not seek the endorsement if running as a Democrat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:56 AM
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33

Reading my own comment, I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't get involved just to amuse myself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:02 AM
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34

Moby, my favorite story is the guy at the bar who recognized you from your comments on the newspaper website. I think getting involved in politics could only make your stories better!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:06 AM
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I don't comment at the newspaper. It was local blogs. Also, he didn't recognize me from the comments, but guessed after I said I commented.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:09 AM
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36

Ok, that's actually not as good if you'd already said you commented. But still!!!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:10 AM
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37

If you talk to enough people in bars, sometimes you get something interesting. Mostly, it's just sports and bitching about child support.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:13 AM
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29: We have two precincts where I vote. If I remember correctly, my precinct is quite small, only a few blocks in size.

You should definitely get involved (says the uninvolved person). It'd be amusing, at least, and given the degree of ossification in the party, it could only be an improvement.

I don't comment at the newspaper.

This is a good thing.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:17 AM
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Pace this: http://prospect.org/article/end-solid-south
which was just linked at elsewhere, I am thinking that bilingual education should be the great project of the age. More Spanish-speakers, more Spanish-language media, more organizing for all progressive causes in Spanish. And, as I've said before, more Spanish-language pre-natal and neo-natal care, and marketing of same.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:30 AM
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The mayor of my city is on Twitter and I got him to reply to a bad joke I made, riffing off of something innocuous he had said. Not that he's following me now, but I know that he (or some staffer who is permitted to have a sense of humor) is paying attention.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:31 AM
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When I was walking around DC during the 'con, I really got a strong sense of the appeal of the American Creed, and the prospect of an end to white supremacy. People like Kropotkin and other wild-eyed radicals and reformers of the 19th century used to argue for things like public libraries and public art museums. And now, right there in the hearts of capital (NYC) and empire (DC), there are the finest public libraries and museums in the world. And parks too. Obviously, I still have many, many, many problems with any form of Americanism whatsoever, but when you see what can be done in the name of sharing and learning, against the imperatives of profit and hierarchy, it is fairly inspiring.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 8:35 AM
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42

Pittsburgh also has (or had in the mid 1990s) powerful Democratic "clubs" that were different than the committee organization. It helped to be a member of a white ethnic group but many seemed to be open and ideology-based.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:08 AM
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I am a member of the white ethnic groups that have produced most of Pittsburgh's elected officials. Also, the biggest of the ideologically based clubs is in my ward. They guy in the bar used to head it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:13 AM
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44

Ok then. Hick for Protonothary!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:34 AM
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Don't worry, our social media coordinator will know where to put the h in that word.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:36 AM
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46

Since 2008 or something, prothonotary hasn't been an elected office.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:38 AM
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What! What bullshit kind of good government nonsense is that. What about register of wills -- because I want to be able to vote for a guy who will REGISTER some motherfucking WILLS.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:42 AM
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TNR contributor wants to bring back the Democratic Clubs.

I did a doubletake when I saw Ruy Teixeira was co-author. "Wait a minute! Now you're telling me that the McGovern coalition isn't the key to a durable Democratic majority? Just when I was starting to believe the Emerging Democratic Majority thesis..."


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:51 AM
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At the dawn of blogs, I spent a lot of time trolling the local blogs for items related to our district, and the councilmember I worked for checked them out too from time to time, and it just so happened that a lot of the bloggers lived in and around our district, so you got a lot of stuff like the first item here.

I don't think Heebie's scenario is too far off. I haven't done said (or any) councilmember's social media for a while, but my guess is that typically, the staff handles most of it but they can't keep the electeds from cruising around and getting into interactions themselves. Certainly tagging the elected would get their or their staff's attention right quick, depending on volume and position.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:16 PM
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50

I say this in contrast to 6, which presumes after a certain size constituency, social media is handled exclusively by staff. Anthony Weiner's wasn't. An elected may have a very disciplined social media presence, but what they read is a function of their own interests and habits, and I would bet that quite a few of them read their feeds.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:19 PM
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