Why contribute to a New York gubernatorial campaign when you don't live in New York?
Zephyr Teachout is challenging Andrew Cuomo for the Democrat position on the ballot. While a victory is unlikely, it's not impossible. And you, dear reader, are probably not even a New York resident. Here's why you should support Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu anyway.
Send a message to the Democratic Party
The Democratic party has taken to defining their traditional constituencies as "those people whose interests we don't have to represent because they will vote for us even if we punch them directly in the nose."
"Vote for us," Democrats tell teachers. "We're the ones who like teachers." And then they punch teachers in the nose, and trash education. The Democratic party of New York is so sure they don't have to reach out to Democratic voters that Cuomo has barely pretended to be a Democrat at all. If being a Democrat were a crime, I'm not sure Cuomo could be convicted.
Bottom line-- people will take you for granted just as much as you let them. The Democratic Party needs to stop taking education voters and labor voters and not-actually-rich-guy voters for granted.
The race has national implications
See above. New York is not the only place where Democrats have decided they can turn their back on education. The Obama administration has been as anti-public education as any Bush ever dreamed of being. And since Cuomo has his eye on the White House, lessons from this governor's race are also lessons about 2016. If the lesson of this race is that being a pro-corporate, anti-public ed tool will cost you at the polls, that's a lesson that will affect any Democrat running in 2016.
Teachout doesn't have to win
It would be great if she did. And she still could. But she doesn't have to. Cuomo is supposed to be invincible, untouchable. This supposed to be a walk in the park.
This is like one of those stories in which somebody is pretending to be a god. To bring him down, you don't have to outright kill him-- you just have to make him bleed. He's already showing strain and a hint of flop sweat.
There's another race, here
Quick-- name Cuomo's running mate! Yeah, I can't, either. Tim Wu, on the other hand, is the father of net neutrality. There are two races here, and since only about twelve people in New York pay attention to the Lt. Governor race, mobilizing voters could let Wu walk off with that office, thereby handcuffing Cuomo to his own opposition.
This is what rich people do
Looking across the country and picking out people who stand for your own values is a rich person's game. Thanks to the Supremes, we don't even know how many gazillions of dollars have been spread around the country into various races, but based on what we can see, we know it's not peanuts. Rich individuals like the Koch brothers, advocacy groups like StudentsFirst-- this is what they do. Swoop in, bankroll a guy who Sees Things Your Way, and hope it helps.
So here's a chance to live like a rich person and support candidates in races you won't even vote in. Maybe your contribution will be more Grey Poupon than beluga caviar, but you can still feel fancy.
Teachout/Wu stand for the right stuff
Teachout is Not a Politician in all the best ways. She's not ignorant or naive, but savvy and knowledgeable, and she gets it. This is not a protest campaign or a stunt campaign-- this is a campaign of substance and thought. For public education fans, she sees what is going wrong with public ed in this country, but she sees it in the context of larger issues.
People are out of power now, not just in their politics where they feel
that their voices don't matter, but in their workplace and in the
marketplace. I want to revive the old American belief -- exemplified by
Jefferson (who wanted an anti-monopoly clause in the Constitution), Teddy Roosevelt and FDR -- that concentrated private power threatens democratic institutions.
If you don't ordinarily contribute to political campaigns because it's all political crap and the candidates are all bought and paid for by Big Money anyway, here's a chance to support the kind of politician you wish were running. Here's your chance to say to The Machine, "This is the kind of thing I want to see."
Politics are a free market of sorts. Much of the market is driven by advertising and entrenched power, but the consumer always has the power to demand certain choices, and we exercise that power by standing up for those choices when they appear.
Celebrate Labor Day
I live in Pennsylvania, but I have contributed to the Teachout/Wu campaign, and I will do it again. I will not contribute much, but every reader of this blog chipped in ten or fifteen bucks, it would add up to some real money. Teachout has a real chance to make a real difference, but she is up against fully entrenched and well-financed power. There's just nine days left till the primary, and lots of phone calling, flier distributing, sign posting, and general campaigning to do.
So what better way to celebrate Labor Day than by supporting someone who is trying to put the voice of regular citizens back into the political conversation.
Click on this link, contribute some money. Do it in the next 24 hours. Step up and help out.