Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Michael R. Walsh (mrw) Wed 3 Nov 04 16:42
You could blend the two procedures if you could capture a smaller, progressive state, such as Vermont or maybe Oregon, winning the governor's spot (choice 2) co-ordinated with a couple of members of the state congress to get hooks in both the legislative and executive sides. There was some crazy talk that this might actually happen under Ventura in Minnesota, until it became clear that he wasn't really interested in reforming as much as just shaking things up.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 4 Nov 04 07:40
Blending is a good idea. Farai, to what extent to you think we could divorce politics - and activism - form the perception that you have to have a lot of money to make anything happen? I've heard a lot of great ideas that went nowhere because somebody piped up and said "Okay, but how are we going to raise money?" I've seen others that worked because the attitude was just do it, you'll find money if and when you need it. But the mindset that you have to have money to make things happen is far more pervasive than the can-do-regardless attitude.
Farai N. Chideya (zimby) Thu 4 Nov 04 07:56
I'm actually working on a project right now that looks at different models of citizen engagement, some of them totally (almost) free; others high-budget (like lobbying), and many somewhere in-between. My hope is to compile a set of "best practices" for several forms of citizen engagement, so people actually have a sense of how to make change. For example, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland has some money--mainly grant money--but they leverage it in interesting ways, gathering students and taking them to speak at government forums and meetings; and running their own record label to do alternative messaging. They're making very strategic use of the resources they have, and in the end, their best asset is the fact that they can convince high school students to go speak--sometimes in poetry/rhyme form--about education and prison policy to elected officials.
Lisa Goldman (lisago) Fri 5 Nov 04 06:45
One of the disturbing things about this election is the sense that the country split into teams - red vs. blue - Fox vs. NY times. There's a great cartoon in the NY'er this week where 2 people are commenting that they should make the ELECTION best of seven, not just the World Series. Do you expect there to be an ongoing rise in citizen political engagement in the blue states, or will the groundswell of political energy dissipate because of the election results?
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 5 Nov 04 11:18
Any thoughts about why missing voters didn't show up? Youth didn't turn up. GOTV seemed to work more effectively among republicans than dems in many places. Despite blogging, cultural outreach, and all kinds of hard work. Anybody know why people sat it out even when they'd registered?
Maria Rosales (rosmar) Fri 5 Nov 04 11:20
I have no evidence for this, but I wonder if some people got over-confident. I can imagine being an 18-year-old surrounded by other people who hate Bush, and being sure that they will all vote for Kerry. The free-rider problem, I think.
Christian Crumlish (xian) Fri 5 Nov 04 11:41
Youth *did* turn up, in largest numbers since 1968, largest percentage since 1972. It's only the *percentage* of youth voters that didn't rise, as turnout increased among other demographics as well: http://www.musicforamerica.org/node/view/67033
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 5 Nov 04 12:08
Yes. They won the GOTV fight, a lot of it church congregation by church congregation, but we got out a huge amount of vote too. This was no landslide.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 5 Nov 04 12:57
Our next interview has moved into the center ring, but there's no reason why this one has to end. Please continue! And thank you, all, for being here.
Lisa Goldman (lisago) Fri 5 Nov 04 13:20
Would the Red turnout have been dominant if it weren't for the gay marriage issue?
Farai N. Chideya (zimby) Fri 5 Nov 04 15:00
Yes, thanks all.... Meanwhile I'll keep talking as long as there's a conversation. And no, sadly, there wouldn't have been the massive turnout of evangelicals if the (totally specious) gay marriage issue hadn't taken center stage. It's also true that youth turnout was up, but all turnout was up so youth didn't stand out. I can't wait to see a full accounting of voting demographics, especially how poor whites and young Americans of color voted. (Among the least likely to vote). Also-will the two parties tell new voters to go fuck themselves, or will they start listening to their demands?
Uncle Jax (jax) Fri 5 Nov 04 16:34
>Also-will the two parties tell new voters to go fuck themselves, or >will they start listening to their demands? That you have to ask sorta answers your question.
Farai N. Chideya (zimby) Sat 6 Nov 04 07:16
Not entirely. I think whether the two parties listen to new voters depends: 1) on how much advocacy groups--whether they are christian-right for the Repubz or moveon-style organizations for the Dems--can find leverage post-election and voices willing to listen 2) how much the Democratic party feels this loss was a referendum on their leadership; and whether and how that leadership changes; I'm hearing rumors that McAuliffe is out, as he should be, and that some of the people from MoveOn could take key positions in the party but none of that's confirmed.
Uncle Jax (jax) Sat 6 Nov 04 11:38
As a longtime activist for the Democrats who later became a Libertarian, I opine that you don't know your Democratic Party. The Party has zero interest in listening to the voters for two reasons: 1) They attract activists that the Party believes are left of the mainstream, and since the Reagan era, the Party has been dedicated to moving to the right. 2) The Party is in the hands of its aging and weakening major constituencies, esp. the unions.
Farai N. Chideya (zimby) Sat 6 Nov 04 14:49
That's your opinion, and I'm not saying I disagree on the surface. I know a lot of folks in the Democratic party, too, and have become increasingly disgusted w/ the lack of vision. I don't think the labor unions actually have that much power left in the party. I think the McAuliffe corporate democrats are still holding sway, which was more palatable during the Clinton era because he had charisma, but in the absence of a charismatic leader the party seems divorced (is divorced) from any kind of working-class constituency. And it's not going to win Southern whites back. And it hasn't come to grips with that yet.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 6 Nov 04 17:10
The circular firing squad is working on a local level, too, if the email I'm seeing from Idaho Democrats about state and county efforts is indicative.
Uncle Jax (jax) Sat 6 Nov 04 17:38
The Dems really haven't learned their lesson yet. Not that I've seen. I think they may go the way of the Whigs eventually. They almost learned when they made the conservative Nancy Pelosi, who passes in the party for a "leftist", leader of the House Dems, but they're starting to backslide into me-tooism. My favorite backslide was Kerry in the first debate: "I, too, will hunt terrorists down and kill them!" he shouted. Metoo metoo metoo, the mantra of the Democrats since Ronald Reagan. Off. Off with them. Off into the ashheap of history.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 6 Nov 04 19:22
Well, Bush had some pretty good me-tooisms himself, as I recall.
Uncle Jax (jax) Sat 6 Nov 04 19:26
Yeah, but he has the excuse of being not renowned for original thought. The Dems, on the other hand, had a war hero genius-IQ handsome and rich candidate with a handsome, genius-IQ and rich vice presidential candidate to run against a knuckleheaded, cocaine-addled draft-dodger/deserter and the biggest crook who ever stained the vice presidency of the United States. And they lost on the grounds that the latter Prez candidate was wiser and more patriotic! That took some doing! Only the Democrats could accomplish that!
Drew Trott (druid) Sat 6 Nov 04 23:13
I never heard anybody call Bush "wiser" than anybody. If you're going to make a point, Jack, you're going to have to play a little fairer than that.
Uncle Jax (jax) Sun 7 Nov 04 10:11
Well, wiser about the course of the nation. "Wise" is not an American word, except in "wise guy", anyway, it's English.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 7 Nov 04 10:25
Jax, do you have young children? My daughter watches My Little Pony at her dad's house, and such-and-such a pony is identified as "The wisest pony in the land," so all the little kids talk about 'wise.'
Uncle Jax (jax) Sun 7 Nov 04 10:37
Ah, it's creeping back into the language. Glad to hear it. Children that age? Not for a while. Grandchild that age, but she, like my children did, is growing up TV-less.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 8 Nov 04 09:40
Am I the only one who feels we're drifting off topic?
Farai N. Chideya (zimby) Mon 8 Nov 04 17:51
well, the topic is officially done, so we could kill it, or drift, or return to center.
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