Friday, September 12, 2014

Lesson from Teachout: It won't be as easy for Rahm to buy the next election

You've really got to go back to Bloomberg's narrow escape in his 2009 victory in the NY mayor's race over relative unknown, Bill Thompson. Bloomberg poured $90 million of his own fortune into the race, a sum without equal in the history of municipal politics that gave him a 14-to-1 advantage in campaign spending. He won by only 5%.

Without Bloomberg's billions in the race, money wasn't a big factor in Bill de Blasio's landslide victory last year. BdB won because he ran as a progressive and had strong organization on the ground in the form of the Working Families Party.

Teachout a winner.
ZEPHYR TEACHOUT just ran a strong race for governor against Republicrat Gov. Cuomo despite the fact that she was outspent 100-to-1 by Cuomo's Wall Street patrons. Cuomo raised $40 million to Teachout's $40,000 and political neophyte Teachout sill got 35% of the vote.

The New York Times described Teachout's strong performance as "an embarrassing rebuke to Mr. Cuomo, and it could put a dent in any national aspirations he may hold." I have no doubt that Cuomo, the favorite of the charter school hedge-funders and school profiteers like Eva Moskowitz, could have been beaten had Teachout received support from N.Y.'s chicken-poop teacher union leaders who are tied to Cuomo and the Democratic Party leadership by a thousand threads. Her defeat was also a defeat for the WFP which lost credibility when they endorsed Cuomo.

Lincoln Mitchell writes in the New York Observer:
Ms. Teachout’s strong showing, however, demonstrates the enduring relevance of the activist wing of the Democratic Party, reinforces the ability of a smart but poorly resourced candidate to use social media and less expensive forms of communication to significantly balance out a huge fundraising disadvantage, and shows that establishment Democratic candidates would be well served to run with clear and compelling messages, rather than simply on inevitability and incumbency.
In Illinois...The more of his own money billionaire Bruce Rauner pours into his campaign for governor, the worse he seems to be doing. Latest polls show him blowing his lead and now trailing incumbent Pat Quinn. It seems that the more money Rauner spends on TV ads, the more people remember how much they dislike him and what he stands for. Quinn's biggest problem isn't lack of money. It's the fact thousands of the state's rank-and-file union members and retirees (who all vote) still remember his sellout on the unconstitutional pension-robbing bill and want to punish him for it. He can still squeeze out a win simply because so many IL working people righteously fear devil, Rauner.

Similar problems exist for Rahm Emanuel even with his $11 million war chest and his huge army of professional media spinners. The more press he gets, the more his ratings suffer, especially in minority communities. Even as he tries to slide to the left, cut last-minute deals with ministers, the police union, and his few council opponents, Rahm seems vulnerable in the face of two likely credible, progressive opponents, Karen Lewis and Bob Fioretti -- no matter how many TV ads he buys.

A REVOLUTION OF VALUES...With the latest run-up to war, I'm remembering to words of Dr. Martin Luther King who spoke continuously about the "triple evils" of POVERTY, RACISM and MILITARISM
“A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war- ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This way of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” -- Dr. Martin Luther King (1967),  “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” 

1 comment:

  1. You might have mentioned Ras Baraka's historic victory in Newark. The corporate reformers and hedge-funders poured millions into Jeffries' campaign in a futile attempt keep control of the city and its schools. But Ras, with a strong base in the black community and support from the WFP, overcame the big money and won handily. Good luck Chicago.


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