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Democracy for NYC 2nd Annual Spring Gala - From a Clarkie perspective

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 01:22 PM
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Democracy for NYC 2nd Annual Spring Gala - From a Clarkie perspective
I posted this for the Clark Community Network, but figured some of you folks might be interested in my reaction to attending also:


The event was pretty crowded, pretty dark, and pretty loud. Just what you would figure at a NYC night club! DFNYC made a point of staging their fund raiser at a place that was wheel chair accessible, and hand signers were present for the hearing impaired.

This was mostly, obviously, a NYC crowd who attended. I think some Congress folk were there, some were event sponsors, none that spoke though. Also some state candidates but none of the biggies. Hillary Clinton wasn't there but a couple of people running against her from the left were. The new Manhattan borough President spoke, and gave a strong populist statement about needing to preserve New York Cities racial and economic diversity.

Norman Siegel was a hard hitting take no prisoners Progressive, and he seems to be a real favorite of the DFA folk there. The Chapter chair ran down the points of unity of DFA-NYC and they are all good talking points that no Clarkie that I know of would have trouble identifying with. I'm not saying they were bland to the point of no meaning, I actually mean it as a compliment. They stand for something real and identifiable, empowerment, participation, addressing the needs of community, etc. in a clear enough but not overly restrictive way.

There were plenty of young people attending, meaning 20's and early 30's, but it was by no means a "young crowd" as Dean supporters were sometimes type cast to be. A lot of "hands on" type people in attendance who probably travel in a lot more refined and traditionally influential circles than I do. Lot's of folk in their 40's through 70's also. Kind of the same surface mix I saw at Clark fund raisers in NYC in 04.

Stepping back for a second I'll say that Howard Dean was obviously a constant positive "presence" (not physical- I mean in spirit) but not a suffocating one. Less so than Clark would be at a Clark related event to give perspective, but then again this wasn't meant to be a Dean related event exactly. DFA is proud to have 650 chapters in I think 49 States. They talked about working for reform in Albany and other things (wanting to elect a Progressive Mayor and then a Progressive President was included).

Jim Dean spoke which I was interested to hear of course. He had a nice one liner about "the citizen" being the highest office in the land. Jim Dean praised his folks for being willing to do the trench work for Democrats, all of the little things that can mean a difference in winning and losing elections. He said in the past that too often Democrats thought a good media campaign could win an election, but we usually lose if we neglect the ground game. He stressed that he hopes that a lot of people who were attending plan to run for public office someday. He made that a central goal of DFA, to get more people involved in the workings of government at every level, to nurture participation to bring talent up through the ranks of the Party into elected office.

He told two short stories. One I think was about a South Carolina City Council race where a DFA endorsed candidate got hit with a Republican mailer linking her to Howard Dean in the last week of the election. She won strong anyway and she credits her victory to the fact that early absentee voting went 3 to 1 in her favor as opposed to the traditional margin in the other direction. And that she credited to a volunteer door knocking campaign on her behalf.

The other story was about a new State DFA backed Party Chair, I think in Maryland, and how now there are many contested primaries in the Democratic Party with multiple people running. When confronted with this as a possible problem by someone else in the Party, this Party Chair responded to the effect: "I wish there were more Democratic candidates running. For every person who decides to get involved on that level they have circles of people who they touch and reach out to to get involved in politics, to pull them into the process. We need to expand participation in electoral politics, not stifle it. That's what happens when communities get energized behind candidates.

So this was an activist crowd, with all the strands of personal inter connections you would expect to find, most of them over my head obviously, but still evident. They have good energy going on for them. Lewis, the primary Event host, made a point near the close of the evening to thank the Clark Community for attending, to only minor applause, but not much of anything was being paid attention to from the stage by that point, or applauded, the sound system was lousy to begin with. Lewis is a very active Democrat activist in New York City, and he clearly was warmly welcoming Clark supporters from start to finish with this event. I felt very much at home with this crowd.



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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 06:50 PM
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1. Tom, I linked to your nice post here at this link.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 08:08 PM
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2. I just went there MF, Thanks
Interesting news about Al Franken also. From reading that DFA seems pretty strong in the Mid West.
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