CD Choice

Examine Your Lack of Choice

It has never been more important.

On June 26, 2018, the residents of the Ninth Congressional District had an opportunity to test leadership in Congress on criteria established by voters. Clarke won by a slim margin. Challenged again in 2020 she won again big time. Adem Bunkedekko was the closest rival, capturing 17% of the vote among four other bird-dogging candidates – all democrats.

Political leadership has gone to hell. New York leaders are useful when they respond to an urgent condition on a single issue. There is no outright fear for democracy, because better than most, they know it is practically gone. None of that is occurring. The only live-die-repeat is incumbency and the dead ones are the challengers.

Step One

Have a good long look at the candidates and their “watchers.” (See examples: Inside Elections, Sabato’s Crystal Ball.) 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.

Leaders with skills in critical thinking, creativity, responsiveness, and obedience 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.

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Adem Bunkeddeko
He got more votes the second time, yet adding votes from the three additional not really serious, probably “bird-dog” candidates he would have still lost. Third time is the charm, I said. Off years are best. I hope a review of the loss will be written. Please drop the candidate a line at [email protected] and if you want to know more before you do that, visit Adem’s Website and extensive 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.

Yvette Clarke
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. I would be very surprised if you get an answer beyond stat and pat.

Step Two

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.

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.

Political Action Committees

The Political Action Committees (PAC) come into the picture today as 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 supported by a PAC.  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.

Peter King member of the Republican Party, is completing in his 14th term in Congress, having served since 1993 and he quits. Clarke has been their twelve years, and barely serves and runs on “good attendance” and perks from PACs.

Federal Committees of NY Senators

By way of Ballotpedia

Chuck Schumer is a Member of:
Joint Committee on the Library
Joint Committee on Printing
Committee on Intelligence (Select)
Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control

Kirsten Gillibrand is a Member of:
Committee on Aging (Special)
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry
Committee on Armed Services
Committee on Environment & Public Works

THANKS FOR PICKING ONE AND FOLLOWING THE $$

Club Democrats

Take a look at all of the “political clubs” in Brooklyn.  Rarely are these outfits exposed as viable components of local leadership, merely those who have a detailed understanding of the inner workings, tips, and tricks of a Board of Elections system that needs to be Repealed and Replaced.

Congress Member for Life

Why did the founders make representatives every two years if we get them for life. I have a “legacy” representative in Congress with a “D” rating. So I supported an alternative candidate (Adem). I liked his candidacy for two congressional election cycles. He almost won the first time, got the “club” attention, and he got crushed the second time by an odd general consensus. An incumbent representative is the best option, or “hey, I might have a shot at this office”, leading to a primary election that is chock full of candidates. Either way, it is the ambiguity that assures the status quo.

There are nineteen political clubs in Brooklyn that attempt to decide what issues candidates can speak to with credibility. For the candidate, they will examine records of accomplishment of their opponent and coach on the hot buttons of the day (i.e., health care costs, immigration, DACA). The political clubs and their candidates are the up-from-the-grassroots owners of a process that makes the top-down discussion of congress members, senators, and judges come alive as constitutional actors. It is in these settings where ordinary people determine who runs and how. The analysis continues by district and office from local to federal that allows participants to compare incumbents to a challenger. But why are incumbents 98% successful in defeating possible challengers. Why is AOC the outlier? The answer is made obvious below. Review with the knowledge that there are over 300,000 registered voters in this CD9!

Why Does the Democratic Party Sustain Incumbency as a Priority? Is the System Broken?
JUNE 23 Primary 2020 – In Brooklyn, a Primary Win is a Win in November.

Four Candidates Assures IncumbencyVOTESPERCENT
Yvette Clarke (Incumbent)37,10662.3%
Adem Bunkeddeko10,64717.9%
Chaim Deutsch5,6229.4%
Isiah James5,5769.4%
100.00% of precincts reporting (532?/?532) (source)

Once the choice of candidates for a political office or a judicial appointment is complete and aimed at the next election cycle, the value of local issues in the form of votes is exposed. An incumbency win is therefore easily recognized as a big money win on the issues and far less so on the issues affecting people’s lives. What do you think about 50% of every dollar you pay in federal taxes is paid to the military people, but the medical and science people have to fight for scraps in the battle for the other half? Are the big-money interests dangerous? Are they looking out for you?

A candidate does not have to be rich to be a leader, but improving the grassroots knowledge of the problems of wealth, power and government is a starting point of high value on every question related to the quality of public life. The cash from a PAC and other significant funding sources compare directly with vote capture and the percentage of contribution from ordinary citizens and public matching remains a token.

The capacity of civic engagement to get results is being pushed toward, well-known as well as unexpected breaking points. The big paying interests only have one interest in mind — to keep the government as a predictable entity, not an honest one, or fair or even one that cares. With this level of power, it is not possible to see a difference between the availability of cake and day-old bread. That is the terror of it.

Two-Party? It is more like Six.

Republican Primary

Updated June 27, 2020

Conservative Party Primary

Updated June 27, 2020

Candidate
Constantine Jean-Pierre Uncontested

Libertarian Party Primary

Updated June 27, 2020

Candidate
Gary Popkin Uncontested

Serve America Movement Party Primary

Updated June 27, 2020

Candidate
Joel Anabilah-Azumah Uncontested

Working Families Party Primary

Updated June 27, 2020

Candidate
Judith Goldiner Uncontested

9th Congressional Data

The data about the Ninth Congressional is very revealing, and worthy of spending the time to understand it by size, shape and its many places as defined by our representative to Congress.

The Ninth CD is the only one that is all in Brooklyn


CD9 & Stress

Exploring the following group of analysts will produce one of the more fascinating introductions to key indicators of economic stress. Have a good long look at the work of the EIG. It will give you an RTC. Put your zip code in the search box and for the Ninth Congressional District insert NY-9 in the map below.
In NYC, opportunities to become involved in innovation for economic recovery could be the Ninth Congressional District. Find people who have read Section Subchapter Z— Opportunity Zones in the Tax Reform Act.  (pdf is HERE)  Only 25% of CTs (defined as low-income can be nominated by the State.  NYC has several of these ‘zones’ from previous designations.  (EIG explanation).   If anyone has any insight into this EIG outfit, please share.

go ahead drop me a line or comment below:

Indivisible Brooklyn

The idea of a CD Nine Indivisible faded into the following outfit. It has remained keenly interested in Federal, State, and City races using the following resources serving Brooklyn voters. They have an interest in putting people on the street,  get them out organizing and into the voting booths of election districts throughout Brooklyn.

Ranked Choice Vote

It is possible to be represented differently. FairVote is a reform idea calling for multi-member districts. Voting could be about ranking the candidates, not choosing the single best person—a reform called ranked-choice voting (RCV).  Fascinating.

You can read more about this idea and make your own projections for the 2018 congressional elections at Fair Voting.  A small commission is forming to evaluate this choice for voter reform already in use in Maine and Minnesota. If this group interests you let us know.

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Election Districts

Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, says the world is getting better, and from a “regression to the mean” point of view he is probably right. His book got lots of attention from Bill Gates (his blog) in January 2018. The difficulty with the super wealthy is their compulsion for optimism despite the preponderance of outlier data. The source for the outlook that everyone else has, the other 99%, is local and highly specific. Averages do not apply, they are voter-irrelevant.

Americans who are poor and low- and moderate-income are struggling but “OK” using “averages”, but this does not alter the perception of unfair conditions that build gaps in the experience of people. Poor safety, and the inadequate nutrition of “food desert” neighborhoods are real experiences. The constant media reminder of a vast wealth gap is easy to accept as that gap is easy to define, but difficult to eliminate.  All it takes is a good job with a future, a loan for a business or home, fair rent, and good schools for the kids and affordable higher education. Why does it seem too many people are teetering on a brink of loosing these basics? These are public priority investments in people for no other reason than this – they are the ones who are here right now.

There is one more factor in the media experience. When asked how many things could happen to make you better off or wealthier, people will come up with a few choices, ask about things that can make you less well-off or poorer, the list would be longer, much longer. The majority negative words for emotions in the English vocabulary are well documented, so despite improving measures for quality of life and access to knowledge are correct as an “average”, the result in the big picture describes how the world is getting safely unfair.  That is a problem for a democracy. Pinker puts it this way:

“Americans today have difficulty imagining, valuing or even believing in the promise of incremental system change, which leads to a greater appetite for revolutionary, smash-the-machine change.”

The first rule of a good political change remains “all politics is local.” There are 300,000 registered democrats in CD9, about 30,000 voted in 2018. Yes, that’s right 1%. Prior national votes were massive and with good reason, but the real lesson is the separation of power. Voters give it freely to the top by wealthy districts and mindlessly in the two-year election cycles of Congress.

Interviews with people and data on the Election Districts (ED) surrounding the two Dem candidates for the United States Congress may provide added insight. Where is the appetite for a smash-the-machine change?  A detailed look at Election Districts will help answer that question.  Top on the list of things to understand why the DNC will not support challengers to incumbent office holders.  The short answer is money in politics.

The following is drawn from the Board of Elections – DATA NYC  Additional sources are available from the Board of Elections – DATA NYS.  All the pdf documents are here. The numbers change routinely and look like the following from these sites.

EDCOUNTYSTATUSDEMREPCONGREWORINDWEPREFOTHBLANKTOTAL
9KingsActive275,79925,4279556771,5057,3523649453,182365,031
9KingsInactive28,6352,519109832349830056,71739,285
9KingsTotal304,43427,9461,0647601,7398,3353649959,899404,316

Election District Map

The brightness of NYC from space isn’t just electric, thousands of Election Districts in York City represents the illumination we can get from the vote. The following discussion will focus on twelve of these districts in CD9 for voters and examine participation in elections.  See Work Your ED

There are several reservations regarding the sanctity of the vote, especially in a blue city that makes NY a blue state. Challenging our sense of trust in our local electoral system is equivalent to an assault on the Democratic Party’s integrity.

First

In round numbers, voter registration data published April 2016 by the New York State Board of Elections says the Ninth Congressional district has 276,000 registered Democrats, 24,000, Republicans and a smattering of Greens, Working Family, Independents and so on for a total of 365,000 voters, after ” a correction” it went to 326,000. Excellent, the population of CD9 is about 740,000 (See Data). The issues facing the NYC Board of Elections has already caused some stir, regarding the need to purge the roles (117,000 in Brooklyn) and its illegality. There is much to understand here for 2018 and as 2020 approaches, but hey, blue city, blue state, right?

Second

In Brooklyn, there are two fronts, the collective efforts of the New Kings Democrats and an examination of one of the greatest, first tier, conflict reducing devices in history – the vote. The right of suffrage is as simple as walking to your neighborhood poll and as complicated as the legislation and litigation surrounding the Fifteenth Amendment – right to vote (background). More on the efforts of the New Kings as needed.  The first task is to take a good look at voting in the blueness of the Ninth Congressional District by ED.

The office address for Adem is 247 Troy Avenue (between Lincoln and St. Johns) Brooklyn, NY 11213.  Six EDs surrounding this office have a total of 5700 registered Democrats. The office address for Yvette is 222 Lenox Road, (between Rogers and Nostrand Avenues) Brooklyn, NY 11226.  Six EDs surrounding this office have a total of 4100 registered Democrats. The local office locations of a long-standing representative of Brooklyn (Yvette), and a 2018 challenger (Adem) are available for analysis by Election District (ED).

Counting Votes and Why ADEM Lost.

In round numbers, the total votes in the EDs around Adem’s office can be seen in the 43rd – City Council race held Nov. 11, 2017. The total number of votes was 1,650 with a participation rate of 28%. The Democrat (Cumbo) pulled 1,290, the Republican drew 40, and the more progressive candidate pulled 320.

In round numbers, the total votes in the EDs around Yvette’s office can be seen in the 40th – City Council race held Nov. 11, 2017. The total number of votes was 2,800 with a participation rate of 68%. The Democrat (Eugene) pulled 1,260, the challenger (Cumberland) losing in the Primary pulled 500 via the Reform Party. The Conservative Party challenger (Kelly) pulled 60 votes. In this case Cunningham he was the more progressive candidate.

The number of registered voters and votes cast shows a participation rate for through two-year election cycles. The ED locations for each candidate will compare with census tracts for demographic analysis in ten-year periods. This data reflects issues based on the experience of people within walking distance of their Congressional Candidate’s offices.  Adem’s office is in Census Tract 363 (CT) and has  5,161 residents based on 2010 census.  A review  of census data for the CD will be found under the menu CD9 in Detail

The issues posted by each candidate are vaguely relevant.  The location of the voter is the key.  The map below is also available  under the Vote 2018 Menu as “Work Your District.”

  • How do the issues outlined by the candidate fit with the experience of residents?
  • What are the relationship between federal services and local capacity to resolve specific issues?

Election Districts

CD9 & Stress

Exploring the following group of analysts will produce one of the more fascinating introductions to key indicators of economic stress. Have a good long look at the work of the EIG. It will give you RTC. Put your zip code in the search box and for the Ninth Congressional District insert NY-9 in the map below.

In NYC, opportunities to become involved in innovation for economic recovery could be the Ninth Congressional District. Find people who have read Section Subchapter Z— Opportunity Zones in the Tax Reform Act.  (pdf is HERE)  Only 25% of CTs (defined as low-income can be nominated by the State.  NYC has several of these ‘zones’ from previous designations.  (EIG explanation).   If anyone has any insight into this EIG outfit, please share.