The power of the Internet in helping capture the Presidency of the United States for Barack Obama and his team can now be harnessed to gain control in other political contests. A group of web-savvy Democrats has come up with a means of influencing or conquering the upcoming New York City primaries next Tuesday September 15.
Just link to this site for information as to how fewer than 100,000 people can turf out the old, tired, corrupt and incompetent and bring in a new, web-smart bunch to run the city better.
Any New York citizen or organization can use a Facebook application with political action tools that political parties don't provide their members.
Here's the pitch and it's compelling.
In November, some 1.8 million people in New York City voted for Barack Obama and at least a million of of them registered as Democrats, thus qualifying themselves to vote in the upcoming primary next Tuesday on September 15.
New York's 51 City council districts, mayoral seat and nine other positions are up for grabs this fall. But getting the right people in doesn't require millions of votes, thousands of volunteers or millions of dollars in campaign efforts. In the 2005 primary, council seats were won by an average margin of victory of just 3,027 votes (1.8% of a district). The highest margin was 6,476 (3.9% of a district). The lowest margin was 16.
Obama supporters -- about one million registered Democrats -- can vote next Tuesday and only a tiny fraction of this number could swing results. Traditionally, most people do not bother to vote in a primary, but they should because a minority of them can swing the entire election plus make their issues and needs known.
This is notably true In New York where Democrats always win the final election. This means that, in other words, the Democratic primary is the real deal, the election vote that really counts because winners end up in office. In 2005, for instance, only about 150,000 people voted in the Democratic primary election, deciding who ran New York City for four years for a populace of more than eight million people. Put another way if only 5.5% of registered Obama Democrats (150,000) voted in unison for chosen candidates, they would sweep the result.
Instead what goes on is voter apathy, not democracy. That's just plain stupid. Instead, this website allows voters to use the web to bring about the audacity of hope and change instead of letting party insiders and candidate cronies re-elect an elite of tired incumbents or hand-picked buddies who are mostly out of touch with the real world that savvy New Yorkers occupy.
Through the use of Facebook, organizers such as Britt Blaser, have made it easy to grab the web's reins of democracy to elect candidates who listen to them. Just go to the link above (http://nyc.ivote4u.us/) and navigate into the council district, mayoral candidate site or whatever election contest interests you, and then join the next generation of digitized, participatory democrats.
Groups can be organized, contributions made, independence verified so that politicians take notice and networks formed.
"Politicians care about constituents who vote in primaries and in the past this has usually been friends, associates or party insiders," said Blaser.
New York's upcoming primary is the first effort to democratize the primary process as well as to give voters the tools to participate in governance and to communicate or criticize those running for, or holding, public office as well as their policies.
This Facebook innovation will be rolled out across the country to help democratize democracy by helping voters organize, pressure and "game" primaries across the country.
Diane Francis blogs at National Post.
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