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Monday, December 15, 2014
Democratic Primary 2016: Connecting The Dots
This is a theory but I'm sticking to it.
Progressive / leftist (pick your term) organizers are apparently gearing up to challenge the presumptive Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
I say presumptive, because in some quarters she is anathema. As in, too centrist.
I also say that because I believe that these organizers are very good at the art of disinformation and practice it brilliantly, and much better than their counterparts on the "right" side of the political spectrum.
In order to mount the successful challenge, the progressives (for lack of a better term or one which is most understood by the most readers) need to keep their armies organized. That is because the most effective army is one which is obedient, follows orders and keeps its collective eyes on the singular prize.
(Attention, conservatives, this is where you fail!)
I believe the Eric Garner / Michael Brown protests are nothing more than a cover to keep the radicals, progressives, anarchists, socialists, Marxists, etc. all pumping, all active, and all involved so they can be mobilized to action at the right time.
Think of them as revolutionary sleeper cells. (Activate!)
BREAKING -- Here's my new term -- they're not leftists or progressives. They're revolutionaries! Got that?!
Think back to Obama's 2008 presidential election. Those armies of excited and generally young revolutionaries needed to be kept intact. That led the Obama campaign organization to quickly set up a new organization known as the OFA -- Organizing For America -- before even his inauguration. They wasted no time. This became the grassroots operation of the Obama re-election campaign, and is still intact albeit with a new but similar name: Organizing For Action.
In the interim, you had the Occupy Wall Street movement and its affiliated copycat protests. Those groups all had the goal and fulfilled objective of attracting, collecting and retaining hard-core activists. Worker bees to "make the case." To change this country. To change the world.
Detractors can deride them as human cannon fodder or useful idiots, but here's the rub: These people carry petitions. These people knock on doors. These people get in your face. And these people vote.
Now you have the protests citing the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. On the surface, these are protests against claimed police brutality.
In reality, these are merely exercises to identify more ground troops, keep existing troops organized, motivated and angry, and get them ready for action when ground organizing for suitably-revolutionary Democratic presidential primary candidates starts in the summer and fall of 2015.
How effective can these groups be?
Consider that strongly-liberal New York State had a popular Democratic incumbent governor from a political family and with 100% name recognition run for re-election last year.
Andrew Cuomo's opponent was a no-name law professor whose name was barely known outside of her classroom at Fordham Law School.
But that professor, who previously was also a Howard Dean and Occupy Wall Street organizer, tapped into the revolutionaries. Zephyr Teachout got 33% of the Democratic primary vote statewide.
And if you think she did better in the supposedly-more-liberal New York City, think again.
Street organizing pays off the most in low-turnout areas. Get this: Teachout won numerous low-population counties by substantial margins, revealing Democratic organization weakness.
In fact, Zephyr Teachout won over 40% of the primary vote outside of New York City. Look closely at these county-by-county results.
Now tell me that supposed favorite daughter Hillary Clinton is a sure bet to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
Hillary Clinton isn't even a lock in her own adopted home state.
If legitimate political scion / incumbent Andrew Cuomo couldn't crack 60% against no-name Teachout and barely-on-the-ballot Randy Credico, are you sure Hillary would win a contested New York primary?
Particularly if the establishment vote gets split a few ways and the revolutionaries all pack their support for one candidate?
Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer and strategist.