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First POST: Emergence

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 10 2014


  • The emergent coalition between open democracy advocates, environmentalists, public school proponents, anti-corruption crusaders, trust-busters and net-heads didn't do badly in yesterday's New York Democratic gubernatorial primary, with Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu receiving 34.2% and 40.1% of the vote (with 98.3% of precincts reporting), respectively, in their challenges to sitting governor Andrew Cuomo and his hand-picked running mate former Rep. Kathy Hochul.

  • Teachout-Wu were strongest in the counties surrounding the state capital, Albany, and along the Hudson River (including Manhattan). Cuomo-Hochul took the heavily populated outer boors of New York City, the inner suburbs, and the region around Buffalo, the state's other major city. (See Politico's county-by-county breakdown for the Hochul-Wu vote here.)

  • As the New York Times's Thomas Kaplan noted in his front-page report on the race, Teachout "was on pace to record the strongest challenge to an incumbent governor since primaries for the office were established in New York in 1970." Another comparison point: in 2006, progressive writer Jonathan Tasini got 17% of the vote in his primary challenge to then-Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton.

  • Capital New York's Liz Benjamin reminds us that Teachout-Wu didn't exist 15 weeks ago.

  • On Medium, Matt Stoller, the iconoclastic netroots activist and Rep. Alan Grayson congressional staffer, who volunteered on the Teachout-Wu campaign, offers "5 Reasons for the Zephyr Teachout Phenomenon, and 5 Reasons Andrew Cuomo is Still Governor." My favorite nugget: "Cuomo paid roughly $48 for every vote he got, where Zephyr paid roughly $2.70."

  • Stoller also compares this race to the 2006 Ned Lamont-Joe Lieberman primary, and suggests that "the Occupy bloc has emerged" (that is, "teachers, librarians, fracktivists, techies and publishers" in the 30-45 year old white liberal demo).

  • Some guy named Sifry gets quoted in an update Stoller wrote to that piece, saying,

    What I find most intriguing about this is the way some tech VCs and entrepreneurs really seem to understand their success as tied to (or born up from) the open Internet and how we may link that to open politics or open democracy (defined as a system where the little guy can enter and compete on an open playing field, rather than one dominated by political and economic monopolists and duopolists). In other words, Comcast and Verizon are to the 21st century economy what the Democrats and the Republicans are to the political system.

  • Before the results were in, Joan Walsh of Salon wrote this piece arguing that Zephyr Teachout's primary bid for governor of New York had the benefit of forcing incumbent Andrew Cuomo to fight for the votes of liberal Democrats.

  • Today is the Internet Slowdown and a ton of popular websites are participating in the online protest against the FCC's proposed "fast lane" option for broadband regulation, including Netflix, Foursquare, Mozilla, Reddit, Digg, Vimeo, Upworthy, and Wordpress.

  • Google is out with a fresh call to action to support net neutrality.

  • VoteRunLead, the women's empowerment network, is launching Invitation Nation, a new peer-to-peer tool designed to draw more women into deciding to run for office. It is being backed by Target (whose leadership team is 45% female) and the Omidyar Network, marking the latter's first women's initiative.

  • Speaking of empowered women, New York City has its first-ever CTO, Minerva Tantoco, our Miranda Neubauer reports. The announcement was made by Mayor Bill de Blasio at the September meeting of the New York Tech Meetup, which is the largest Meetup in the world with 41,000 members, now hitting its tenth anniversary. (Our Andrew Rasiej is the chair of NYTM's board.)

  • Google "right to be forgotten" road show, where a panel of company leaders and advisers are holding public meetings, had its first installment yesterday in Madrid, PC World reports. The company has received more than 100,000 take-down request, its chief legal officer David Drummond told the audience.

  • Making All Voices Count is launching a new global innovation competition next week, offering £300,000 for solutions that make services or decision-making processes more accessible and open to everyone.

  • How the State Department is trying to use social media to counter ISIS.