Tag Archives: NYT

Qualifying Parties via Internet

digital-signingNew Orleans In a piece about the feinting being done by billionaire NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Matt Bai in the New York Times correctly pointed out that not only money but “ballot access” was a huge impediment to alternative political parties and candidacies.  A throwaway comment though got me thinking when he mentioned that qualifying such efforts would be easier in the internet age because “…signature-gathering…is far easier to organize now, through online communities….”  Bai is simply talking theoretically about organizing efficiencies here, but what hit me like a brick was whether or not it was legal now – or would soon be legal – to actually qualify such petitions through direct internet signature gathering, which would be a revolutionary breakthrough.

I don’t fully know the answer about what might be possible now, though my friends at Google pretty quickly revved up their search engines and allowed me to piece together enough in a sideways fashion to determine that internet petition gathering is already legal in California in seems and at least Utah for a certainty.  I don’t normally associate Utah with progressive breakthroughs, so I would not be surprised to hear that other states (I would almost bet on Washington and Oregon for examples) have also joined the 21st century and allowed internet signature gathering to legally qualify candidates and parties.

I have sent a couple of emails out to colleagues who are mega-domes in this area since surely they would already know where this can be legally done, and when I hear, I will definitely share the news.  Whether just these two or another dozen, more interestingly it seems inevitable that within a couple of years or at most a decade, one could qualify alternative parties successfully on a state by state basis via the internet at a fraction off the cost thereby making alternative parties accessible in a way that has not been allowable since the 1890’s when the two-party stranglehold became embedded in law in one state legislature after another.

Visionary thinkers in political strategy and tactics, particularly among progressives, would do well to start tilling these vineyards.  This could be big and a total game changer!  This is a political forward pass in a landscape dominated by three yards, a cloud of dust, and a rock pile of money:  parties, programs, and candidates get ready to step up.


Paul Revere and Darrell Issa: Two if By See!

Paul-Revere-723638 New Orleans This is a gentle reminder to my friends among the Tea-people.  History is a funny thing, comrades, in case you missed this part of high school, it’s based on facts, rather than opinions and in fact you need to base your opinions on facts.

I am reminded of this in looking at the daily screeds among the right wing, professional blogging class.  This is no chattering class, but more of a shouting mass that has to somehow push some kind of garbage out by the curb of the internet highway, sometimes several times per day.  A popular theme over the last week involving yours truly has been to comment on my warning to all that would listen that Congressman Darrell Issa’s elevation to the head of the House Investigations’ Committee would be bad news for anyone who still believes in freedom of association and freedom of speech.

Although it looks like I might qualify as a soothsayer by the right’s lights, since Issa immediately ran his mouth off about wanting to investigate ACORN as high on his list in order to “keep anything like” such an organization ever being organized again, which seemed more to me like a preemptive strike against all things progressive rather than a real “investigation” of any sort.  I wasn’t alone for long either since an editorial in the Times laid out the same concern and a handicapper in last Sunday’s op-ed page on the Times placed an ACORN investigation, particularly of the ACORN Housing Corporation and its programs over the years, to “show” in 3rd place on the most likely list.

All of which brings me back to the lesson in history or legend of the great Paul Revere’s ride warning “that the British were coming” after the real Tea Party in Boston Harbor.  As every school child knows, as Revere rode at night through Concord and Lexington spreading the warning, the watchwords were “One if by land, and two if by sea,” giving the lantern signals for preparation to citizens throughout the land.

Revere’s ride was a warning, not a retreat in fear.  Look it up.

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