I think sometimes, it's otherwise practical people, temporary fallen prey to cynicism or venting frustration. There are a small number of people who feel this way full time, and a larger number of people who feel this way part of the time, or at least talk this way. I want to combat the attitude, not condemn the people who hold it.
The scenario you describe is simply impossible, and all you're doing is restating it, not explaining how it could happen.
Show me any set of ballots you can concoct, in which Kerry has 50% of the #1 votes, and loses. (The rule isn't "50% wins" because a tie is still possible - but only if everyone who didn't vote for Kerry #1, did vote for Bush).
Shoe me any set of ballots you can concoct, in which Kerry and Bush are the top two candidates in #1 votes, where the switch of any number of Kerry #1 ballots to Kerry #2 - with Bush not marked on those ballots - throws the result from Kerry to Bush (that is, Kerry would've won if those same ballots had listed Kerry #1 instead of #2).
Both you and a commenter suggested that a more open source netroots endorsement process would be based on a central website. I think there's always a role for a central website, but not as the center :)
To me, the phrase "netroots endorsement" when I first saw it almost instinctively called to mind a sort of organize coalescing of endorsements by a number of the major blogs and netroots communities, each through its own process. And that's what I'd like to see it be.
I'd like to see each progressive netroots blog come up with its own endorsement process.
I'd like to see a central netroots endorsement clearinghouse web site that lists those blogs and communities that want to participate, and their endorsements.
I'd like to see the term "netroots endorsement" refer to some collective agreement among most of the participating blogs/communities, endorsing the same candidate, through their separate processes.
I urge people to do this too, and I think a great place to go shopping for local, state, and minor congressional candidates, is the DFA-List, candidates endorsed by Democracy for America. Unlike most of the other progressive Democratic groups, DFA's endorsement process is truly grassroots: DFA national won't even consider endorsing a candidate unless a local DFA group has already endorsed. Usually, they hear about the candidates from the local groups to begin with.
So every candidate you see listed there on DFA-List, you know that at the very least, they've captured the support and attention of a local group of progressive grassroots activists in or near their city/county/district, people who meet once a month, volunteer on campaigns, and organize online.
If you want to drill further, to find more candidates, you can search DFA-Link for candidates that have applied for endorsement. If any local DFA groups have endorsed the candidate, it'll be listed on their "voice support" page. For example, my candidate, John Bonifaz, has been endorsed by six DFA grassroots groups, all listed at the top of the "grassroots supporters" section on that page. (and there's my plug for Bonifaz! :)
This reads like a chapter in an ongoing story, that assumes readers have been following along and are already familiar with the context. For a new reader such as I, it is tantalizing, but off-putting: I know there's a good story here, but it would take significant time and work to track down all the threads and references and understand what you're writing about. You know what the important details are, and what the necessary context is, but I don't, so I'd have to read a lot of background to figure it out.
Consider re-writing this with new readers in mind, people who don't know who or what you're talking about, and aren't familiar with the region and years this is set in. Give us some introduction.
When we cover stories like this, I think we should take care to make it clear we're heaping disapproval on the hypocrisy of moralizing politicians/organizers/lobbyists/leaders
whose private lives don't hold up to the standards they're trying to foist onto everyone by law, or preaching to us all. But we're not condemning the same behaviors they condemn.
This post skirts the edge of that a little too closely, and one particular line I think is on the wrong side of it: "In his personal behavior, Burkman acts out his perverted fantasies."
There's nothing wrong with trying to pick up girls (or guys). Nothing wrong with offering to pay for the hotel room. I'd even say, nothing wrong with offering to pay for sex, though I know many people here would disagree. From what little we know of the incident, yes, it does seem crass, entitled-without-awareness, and clueless, but "perverted"?
As the original poster said, in her now-private post, "not with Republicans". The big offensive thing here wasn't merely his proposition, but the juxtaposition of that proposition with who he is and what he does in public.
[ P.S. Yeah, it is mildly funny to point out that gay pride may not be the best place for a man to pick up women... but in reality, at least at the pride festivals I've been to, there seem to be more bi women than lesbians. Though their sexual preference is still overwhelmingly Democratic/Green :) ]
The point of the netroots endorsement is to beat Republicans directly, lock down their resources indirectly, and support local infrastructure (including the 50 state strategy)
This statement of purpose doesn't apply very well to Democratic primaries. In a case like Tester, you could argue that we were supporting the candidate more likely to beat the vulnerable Republican. But what about Ned Lamont?
I think part of our goal is to reform the Democratic party as well, by supporting grassroots/netroots-friendly reformist Democrats against unsatisfactory Democratic incumbents. And certainly here in Massachusetts, that's where the majority of the action is - other than Governor, Republicans are irrelevant and most of our important contests are between Democrats. Yet Massachusetts will never live up to its potential as a showcase of progressive politices for the nation, if we don't shake things up and elect better Democrats.
Would you consider modifying the statement of purpose to define a bit more clearly how netroots endorsement applies to these kinds of races?
Don't forget a similar victory in California. Deb Bowen, DFA-List candidate for Secretary, started out far behind Deborah Ortiz. by last week, she was pulling almost even in the polls. Yesterday, she won with 60%.
It is critically important to elect knowledgable grassroots-supported election reformers to Secretary's offices all around the country. This is a great start.
The "Montana" link under state blogs here on MyDD goes to progressmontana.com, which has been no more than a MySQL error message all day. I tried it this morning and again now, same error. Does anyone know what's up with that blog? Should the link be changed, or is progressmonatana alive and just needs some attention?
I'd love to see Democrats take all the statewide offices in Ohio (and I think they may), but the races we're talking about here are contested Democratic primaries. For progressive reformers trying to make a better party, primaries are where we have that contest with the party establishment. They're where we pick what kinds of candidates will represent and make up our party.
Bonifaz, like Lamont, would be as good as elected if he wins his primary (which is a steep uphill battle). The general elections in these cases aren't very competitive, but victories in the primaries would have deep lasting impact.
On the election reform front, John Bonifaz is nationally important. He's one of us, and getting him elected would yield dividends all over the country. We'd finally have one secretary of state who publicizes the issues and leads nationally. He's not only a genuine election reformer who truly understands the things we talk about on the blogs - those are rare enough among candidates for Secretary. He's more than that, he's the election reformer of our time. Electing him secretary of state would be like having had Martin Luther King heading the civil rights division in the 60s, or appointing Howard Dean the secretary of Health & Human Services, or tapping Al Gore to run the EPA.
John Bonifaz, a national leader on election reform and voting rights, has a Voters' Bill of Rights as the keystone of his platform in his campaign for secretary of state of Massachusetts (disclosure: I'm his campaign blogger). The Voters' Bill of Rights highlights concepts, then fleshes them out with specific proposals or ideas. I think that makes it a more effective communication tool, and a great starting point for a national agenda.
Here are the 10 points on the Voters' Bill of Rights:
Count Every Vote
Make voting easier
End the big money dominance of our electoral process
Expand voter choice
Ensure access for new citizens and language minorities
Level the playing field for challengers
Ensure non-partisan election administration
Make government more accessible to all of us
Re-authorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Amend the US Constitution to ensure an affirmative right to vote
Each point comes with a paragraph or two outlining the policies that would make it happen, such as public financing, paper ballots, election day on a weekend or holiday, etc. Read the whole thing.
Actually if I had to pick the most important statewide race, I'd say it's Lamont vs. Lieberman. Bonifaz is the next most important one. And if we win both, progressive momentum in reforming the Democratic party(ies) will be on a big roll.
To start the roll, there are primaries this Tuesday with two very important Democratic primaries for progressive reformers: Jon Tester for US Senate in Montana, and Deb Bowen for Secretary of State in California. Both are June 6th. If we win either of those, it'll give us momentum for Lamont, and if he wins his primary, that'll be a lot of momentum for Bonifaz, the following month in a neighboring state - because it'll create a perception in the press that progressive challengers are serious challenges.
P.S. You can recommend Tester, Lamont, and Bonifaz to Democracy for America for their endorsement (you need to make an account on DFA-Link if you don't have one yet). They've already endorsed Lamont (and Deval Patrick for Governor of MA), but not the other two.
There's only one statewide office in Massachusetts that's competitive in the general election - Governor. So I assume that's the one you're asking about. Well, Lt. Governor goes with that. But for US Senator, Attorney General, State Auditor, and State Treasurer, the Democratic nominee is effectively as good as in office. So yes, we'll certainly win those :)
For Governor, I believe if Deval Patrick gets the nomination, we are heavily favored to win. If Reilly or Gabrieli get it, I think it will be harder, but still doable. Other people have differing opinions, of course.
And thanks to Howard Dean, Mass Victory '06 has several DNC field organizers on the job already, undistracted by primary campaigns, and they're already well on their way to recruiting Democratic precinct captains for every single precinct in the state. That would be unprecedented - especially doing it so early, since on most state election years, Democratic activists are all focused on their favorite primary candidates until September.
Umm, no. You're ignoring basic math. If Kerry had 50% in the first round, and you haven't increased the total number of ballots, it doesn't matter how many other ballots from other candidates get transferred to Bush - Kerry will still have at least 50%. Bush can't surpass 50% without getting some ballots from Kerry, which he can't get because Kerry is ahead of him. And you can't increase the total number of ballots through instant-runoff rounds, only decrease. So the scenario you describe is simply impossible.