(Mon May 11, 2009 at 07:50:00 PM EDT - promoted by Kenton Ngo)
Non-DC denizens may not have even heard of the DC Examiner, but, probably because it is free, it is omnipresent in and around the capital. It's also important to note that it draws upon many of the same models employed by Fox News to maintain its relevance: exploit racial fears? Check. Owned by far-right religious conservative billionaire? Check. Mouthpiece for Republicans? Check. Corrupt business model? Got that one too... twice actually...
Anyway, I'm not blogging today because I want to bring attention to an also-ran rag that barely even merits mention as a bit part in the Republican noise machine... To me, if a tool like Anschutz wants to throw good money after bad into a money-pit in support of the all-but-irrelevant Republican Party... well, somebody needs to feed Byron York. If he's shameless enough to collect his wingnut welfare check, I won't begrudge the arrangement...
Apparently not even will.i.am can draw a crowd for Terry McAuliffe in Norfolk, as the Virginian-Pilot wrote in their exhaustive, 410-word article.
Exactly what types of gigs and producing will does might have been lost on some, though not all, of the 30 or so people assembled in a room at the Norview Community Center.
All this for 30 people? That's 13 words devoted for every person that attended. Saturday's kickoff at the Werkheiser for Delegate office drew a larger crowd! And we didn't have a singer with the #1 single currently saturating the airwaves out there!
Having someone following you bashing coconuts together and making music doesn't make an army of volunteers randomly appear! It certainly doesn't help that said musical coconuts have to be imported from out of state.
Oh, hang on...
Of course, with a tiny crowd like that, the Virginian-Pilot ran "In Norfolk, musician will.i.am backs McAuliffe for governor" as a headline, instead of the perhaps more accurate "Puny Crowd Greets McAuliffe."
It's too bad that observers seemed too starstruck by will.i.am's presence to look behind them and notice that nobody really cared.
I remember back in the summer of 1991 I was working as a company man in a Teamsters cannery in Lodi, California, as an emergency medical technician. The politickin' was going on union-wise. That December, the Teamsters, in a contentious election, voted in a guy named Ron Carey as their president.
Ron Carey served less than a year of his second term. He was accused of engaging in financial improprieties during his re-election campaign in March 1997. As an investigation by federal officials continued, Carey led the union in a nationwide strike against UPS in August 1997 which led to significant contracts gains. But just three months later, Carey took a leave of absence as president due to the ongoing investigation into his 1996 re-election campaign. Carey was barred from running for president the same day he announced his leave of absence, and he was permanently ejected from the union in July 1998. James P. Hoffa was elected president of the Teamsters in December 1998.
So I found this Washington Examiner piece today to be of interest:
Aimee and I brought our cameras to Greg Werkheiser's campaign kickoff against Del. Dave Albo (R) in Springfield today. This week, both of us start as interns with the WerkForce (don't roll your eyes, the campaign shirts said that four years ago). Werkheiser was joined by about 80 supporters. Werkheiser will share an office with 2-term Delegate Dave Marsden (D) of the neighboring 41st District.
Greg Werkheiser points out his family.
Crowd milling about before the speeches in the gleaming (and carpeted!) Werkheiser office.
First, we reprise the map of top vote-getters by precinct in Tuesday's city council election.
That doesn't tell the entire story. Lovain, despite carrying precincts, did not win, and Smedberg coasted in without placing higher than 2nd.
Here we have ranked all precincts by the number of votes cast per ballot. Every Alexandrian can cast votes for up to six candidates for the six slots, but cannot cast more than one vote per candidate. A lower average indicates that more voters bullet voted or filled out a less-than-full slate.
Republican precincts cast the fewest number of votes per ballot, indicating that an effort to game the system by encouraging voters to bullet vote worked. Lastly, perverse incentives combined with strong regional bases cost two Democrats their seats, as we see below where each candidate's rank within a precinct is displayed.
Not all Democrats were unified. The only candidate with consistent citywide performance was Smedberg, who did not carry any precincts, but finished 3rd to 6th in most of the city. Donley, Krupicka, and Pepper were able to ride their strong regional bases to victory. Lovain's base was too small, and Wilson, the newest member of the council, trailed the rest of the Democratic ticket in every area of the city.
Since the top vote-getter is presumed to be elected vice mayor, even Democrats have a perverse incentive to bullet vote for the candidate of their choice, leaving Lovain and Wilson especially out in the cold. Remember, if reliably Democratic precincts had all voted straight-ticket for all six, regional differences would not be accented, and Lovain and Wilson might have stood a fighting chance. Even though Democratic precincts did cast more votes per ballot than Republican precincts, it wasn't enough to overcome Republican bullet votes.
An unranked block voting system like Alexandria's is open to bullet voting by minority groups like Republicans. Coupled with the fact that in order to be elected vice mayor, a Democrat must win more votes at the expense even of their fellow Democrats, the likelihood of a Republican winning a seat was far greater than most had imagined.