On June 26, 2018, the residents of the Ninth Congressional District had an opportunity to test leadership in Congress on criteria established by voters. The discussion here is about political leadership. New York leaders are useful when they respond to a sense of urgency whether it is a single issue or an outright fear for the democracy.
Step one is to have a good long look at the candidates and their “watchers.” (See examples: Inside Elections, Sabato’s Crystal Ball.) Leaders with skills in critical thinking, creativity, responsiveness, and humility will do well. Proof of unselfish giving is through service that includes a record of judgments publicly specified with grace and dignity. After reviewing the public expressions of our federal leaders, are challenges within the party positive and optimistic? Does the officeholder or the challenger have a bias toward getting results? Finally, good leaders know how the practice of listening to be heard gets their constituents to help themselves do the hard stuff.
The 9th Congressional District Primary
Drop the candidate a line at email@example.com and if you want to know more before you do that, visit Adem’s Website: Facebook and Twitter accounts. He also has Instagram: and Snapchat if you must. If snail mail is your thing you can write them to this mailing address: Friends of Adem, P.O. Box 130-427, Brooklyn, NY 11213.
Drop the candidate a line on the federal website. She has Facebook Twitter and YouTube accounts. To write via snail mail the local address, 222 Lenox Road, Suites 1 & 2 Brooklyn, NY 11226 and a D.C. address, 2351 Rayburn HOB, Washington D.C. 20515.
To understand leadership outside of the chilly nature of digital communications, the warm intensity of attendance in person is essential. A town hall, brief meets and greets, presentations and issue workshops with candidates brings your personal choice to the crucial voting moment, but to get past gut decisions a little more thinking is required to get that moment right.
New Yorkers benefit from thoughtful, progressive reform movements. The federal campaign finance issue is very different, but in NYC the Campaign Finance Act has kept the local government on the side of working New Yorkers for the last three decades. A $6-to-$1 match of small donations turns a $100 donation into $700. The law has strict contribution limits and an outright ban on all corporate money and an excellent enforcement record. The national Campaign Finance Institute confirms the long-term success of this legislation in its testimony to the NYC Campaign Finance Board in 2017. (The Act). After thirty years, the NYC CFB has protected voters. Perhaps the best example is NYC representatives sustain the “F” rating from the NRA in their demand for stringent legislation regarding the use and purchase of weapons for war. That is where the feds (your representatives in Congres) come into the picture to confront and confirm national policy.
The Political Action Committees (PAC) come into the picture. PACs are a permanent part of federal election campaigns. They represent almost 40 percent of an elected candidate’s campaign funding. A challenger is far less likely to be held by PACs. The PAC phenomenon began in the 1950s, but since then their corrosive influences over Congressional Representatives reflect the concentration of wealth in the U.S. and the rule that corporations have a right to political speech as people, and that money is speech.
Unlike people, wealthy corporations can live forever. Corporate outfits such as the NRA and the Koch brothers have a large bag of political tricks designed by well-paid political operatives to protect specific interests, not including the bot/troll issues that confuse voters further. It was a sign of real trouble when New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer asked his constituents to help fight against Koch Brother attack ads against a fellow Senator, Joe Donnelly (D) from Indiana with a help him Keep His Seat! email blast.
Representative Government, Election Waves, and Money
Three Republican Congressmembers (Faso, Tenney, Katco) in NYS may have “toss-up” elections in 2018. To keep things in perspective Faso’s 2016 spending was: $2,904,089, Tenney’s was $885,895, and Katco’s was $2,384,152. These races could contribute to a wave-election referendum on the chaos in the Executive Branch and the House of Representatives and shift as many as 25 seats to Democrats. (See NY Mag summary here). The 2018 mid-term election might have a single issue. Here is the main candidate:
The 9th Congressional District’s Money
In comparison, the spending projected for 2018 in the 9th Congressional District primary will be less than $1 million. Clarke reported just $715,000 spent on her 2016 re-election, her opponents Joel Azumah (Ind) reported $0 spent on his election effort, and the Conservative third-party candidate, Alan Bellone also spent very little, yet pulled 17,500 votes of the 232,000-total votes produced on November 2016. How did Clarke’s campaign funds stack up against the latest challenger Aden Bunkeddeko?
Ballotpedia’s fine details are here. Money equals victory. A national watch group, Open Secrets has the data to prove it, including the outliers that illustrate exceptions. The deep end of the data pool is with reports at the New York State Board of Elections.