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That's the news.  November doesn't have to be the predicted Andrew Cuomo coronation. The widespread corruption in Albany doesn't have to continue. Progressives don't have to hold their noses and endorse the status quo.  There is an alternative.

I wrote about this yesterday. The essay received very little attention. Maybe it was because it was a sunny Saturday in the Empire State.  Maybe it's because of my own weak mojo. So I am trying it once again.

The salient point: you have a choice in New York's governor's race.  The prevailing wisdom is that Andrew Cuomo is going to win by a landslide.  This, despite the maelstrom created by his canceling "his" Moreland Commission and the impending investigation by the Southern District US Attorney. Como it was said would smash Republican Rob Astorino, a conservative Westchester County whacko. Astornino was so weak that even Chris Christie pronounced the candidacy a lost cause..  Sounds like it's all over but the talking heads. Well, it's not.

Please take a look at Zephyr Rain Teachout (her real name). A Democratic, progressive candidate for Governor.

Teachout is a law professor at Fordham.  Her running mate, Tim Wu, is a law professor at Columbia who is credited with inventing the phrase "net neutrality."

Teachout served as the Director of Internet Organizing for the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign.  Until some recent press in the Nation and yesterday in the NY Times, she was virtually unknown. Let's face it: unless you're a governmental corruption law groupie or one of her students, you don't know her name.

All great outsider credentials. Including the seeming anonymity. All part of a story that you can now help write, of upset of a corrupt favorite, surprises, righteousness, excitement, progressivism.

But wait.  First some details. Zephyr Teachout has a lot going for her, the best part, why she's running. She says:

The system is rigged, and Andrew Cuomo is part of the broken system. We are running to lay out a bold vision and provide a real choice for voters. New York can have an economy that works for all of us — not one which works only for the wealthy and well connected. We believe in a New York where wages are rising, small businesses are thriving and our public schools are the best in the nation.  

We are not Albany insiders, but we believe Governor Cuomo and Kathy Hochul can be beat, and must be challenged. We will force Governor Cuomo to defend his record of deep education cuts, his tax cuts for banks and billionaires, his refusal to ban fracking and his failure to lead on the Dream Act. He has also failed to deliver on his core campaign promise from four years ago: cleaning up Albany.

Governor Cuomo and his corporate backers are going to come after us, and we need to know we can count on your support - can we count on you?

Sounds good to me. With a potential federal indictment beclouding Cuomo's future, corruption running rampant in Albany (tell me something that's new, ok?), and the chance to end the cycle of impunity that has dominated state government for decades, please consider backing a wonderful underdog and making the upcoming election a real debate about actual issues that matter.

Yesterday'sNY Times finally noticed Teachout's campaign and is, sadly, so disparaging of her chances. Of course. It reports:

Lawrence Lessig, the eminent legal academic and advocate of campaign finance reform, has called Ms. Teachout’s bid “the most important money-in-politics race of the year.” As her running mate, Ms. Teachout chose another celebrated legal theorist, the Columbia professor Tim Wu.

In some sense, Ms. Teachout’s emphasis on corruption has kept her in a cycle of inefficiency. It is what has caused the media to pay attention to her, so she has kept talking about it, but voters don’t vote as much from a place of outrage over this or that duplicity or brazen exchange as they do from a sense that prevailing economic paradigms have abused them. And it is not always the case that they see the connection between the two.

Corruption, as Don Levy, the director of the Siena Research Institute, told me, “isn’t something that really adheres.” When voters are surveyed, they typically say that they regard corruption as commonplace, which is also to say that they regard it as part of the atmosphere, like humidity in August, immune to undoing. In a recent Siena poll, 65 percent of voters said that they were never surprised when another state legislator in New York was indicted, and that they believed lawmakers “do what’s best for them.”

In other words, we're not even getting to the other parts of her platform. Cannot even nod toward them, let alone enumerate them in the Times. So it goes in the world of political dismissals.

And so, folks, Zephyr Teachout needs some serious outreach and some serious campaign help to make this the campaign we deserve.

And, you knew this was coming, she needs some money. Some of your money. You've done this before. Tiny amounts and lots of them. Amounts small enough that it won't hurt. Here's the link:

Join me in my excitement about this candidacy. It has been forever since New York has had such a wonderful progressive candidate and a chance for a serious discussion of the actual issues. Let's take Albany out of the back rooms, let the sun shine in and let's make this important discussion happen.

Originally posted to El Bloguero on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 10:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by New Jersey Kossacks, Protest Music, Team DFH, and Subversive Agitation Team Action Network.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm excited by Zephyr Teachout's candidacy. (17+ / 0-)

    I hope you'll join me in supporting it.

  •  Even if Cuomo were to implode by being (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oliver Tiger, rebel ga

    charged with a crime or something, what we'd surely see are other prominent Dems from around the state jumping into the race, even if they have to do write-in campaigns. A total unknown is not going to sneak into the governor's mansion in NY state.

    •  oh? (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbob, elwior, petral, Portlaw, Odysseus, weck, rebel ga

      I think we're talking about two different things.

      You're stating what I consider to be the conventional wisdom: she's unknown, she can't win, others (unspecified) have a better chance.

      Maybe that's so, but to be frank, I dont' care. I want there to be a robust debate about the role of corruption in Albany, and this candidate is the only one we've got today that will get us that important discussion about democracy.

      Put another way, if we don't support Zephyr Teachout, you can expect this: (1) Cuomo wins, (2) no discussion of corruption or platform, (3) the left is taken for granted (again), (4) we continue to have legislation as screwed up as the awful medical marijuana bill, (5) the budget process continues to bei 3 white men sitting in a back room, (6) Cuomo's war chest deters what you think might be "more serious candidates," (7) business as usual if the US Attorney doesn't indict Cuomo before November.

    •  Don't mind this comment too much El Bloguero. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbob, El Bloguero, petral, Just Bob, rebel ga

      This particular poster is almost always a contrarian. The popular opinion in this place certainly coincides with this excellent diary.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 10:29:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Jesse Ventura can win a governor's race in MN.. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, artisan, El Bloguero, jbob, weck

      ...Zephyr Teachout can win a governor's race in NY. It's not impossible. Maybe "almost impossible," but not entirely so.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 11:02:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, she can't... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, doc2

        ...Seriously, the Ventura win was a fluke when there was a three way general election and he came out marginally ahead, due in part to his own name recognition.  Zephyr is showing no sign of resonating with the electorate 4 weeks before the Primary, likely due in part to marginal funds raised.  And even if she holds the WFP slot going in to November AND Cuomo and Astorino battle each other's numbers down, Teachout isn't likely to be picking up 1/3 + 1 of the electorate to slip past them.

        I have nothing against her ideology, but you still need to be a good politician to get elected in NYS, and she's not one.

        •  Is this a false equivalence: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rebel ga, elwior

          "being a good politician" = "having raised a lot of money"?

          What I'd like to see (call me an idealist among other monickers) is when we like someone's ideology, we do what we can to forward the campaign, rather than simply letting the wealthiest donors decide who 'resonates with the electorate" by spending tons of money while we say, "Oh, she has only marginal funds so she cannot win."

          •  Yes I'll call you an idealist... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It would be great if we didn't have a political system that required significant amounts of campaign advertising, and thus required  significant fundraising.  But we do, especially in New York State.  Now there are certainly some candidates who can do a good job with limited resources, but there's still a measure of scale in play.  Teachout has raised $230,000 to date; that's not enough to fund a NYC-based campaign (where most of her votes would likely come from), much less a statewide race.  

            I'm not intending to be snide about this, and Cuomo has no great appeal to me, but I've worked on enough losing campaign over the past 35 years to learn not to let what -I- think of a candidate to cloud my judgement about what the total electorate will think.  I'm asked to contribute to a lot of campaigns, so I've learned to do deep research into a candidate's prospects.  Teachout will allow progressive activists to feel good by "sending a message" to the establishment Democrats, but not much else.

            If you feel differently, give me a convincing argument as to how she puts together a campaign effort that will overcome all of Cuomo's financial and political resources.

            •  I'm not a professional at campaigns (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rebel ga, elwior

              so all I've got, and I say this sincerely, is what I think and who I think can inspire me. If I can only send a message, and I hope it's more than that, so be it. Was it Debs who said (pardon paraphrase) he'd rather vote for something he believed in and lose than vote for someone/something he didn't want?

              •  Neither am I... (0+ / 0-)

                ...but I've gotten to know people that are. and I have a realistic understanding of how politics workd.  I'm delighted you'd be ready to lose for the sake of ideological purity, but I live in the real world where, if the Democrat doesn't win, the Republican does.  If President Cruz appoints the next Justice Scalia will you be content to say: "well, at least I stuck to my principles"?

                •  I live and vote in NY (0+ / 0-)

                  so until things change significantly, I have the luxury to vote my conscience.

                  •  Fair enough--at the national level... (0+ / 0-)

                    How does Governor Astorino sound to you?  New Yorkers (Democrats included) WILL vote for Republicans here.  I see kno sign that Teachout would be any better prepared to win as the Democratic nominee.

                    •  in unlikely event Teachout wins primary (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      El Bloguero

                      there will be national $ help for her

                      astorino is a clown

                      teachout has the same job Obama had 10 yrs - law professor

                      and her low probability of winning primary increases a little everyday

                      I'm voting, I'm giving $, I'm volunteering

                      •  Barbara Buono... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...weak candidate (lost 68-30) in NJ last year, and national $$ didn't come to her either.

                        I know the people at DGA; they don't have the financial resources to support hopeless causes, and I wouldn't want them to.

                        (nb - the fact that Obama was a compelling political candidate doesn't mean all law professors are).

                        •  who knows (0+ / 0-)

                          but Buono was running against incumbent;

                          even Cuomo didn't say her name

                          if ZT gets to next round she'd be against nobody Astorino with very little money; I suspect people will help her at that point; maybe not DGA but, well somebody might

    •  July 10th was the filing deadline. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, El Bloguero, jbob, weck, rebel ga

      The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

      by AnnieR on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 11:03:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am voting for her and Tim Wu in the primary (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, El Bloguero, Portlaw, AnnieR, weck, rebel ga

    Cuomo the lesser is as bad a "Democratic" Governor as they come. He is owned by the 1% and barely even tries to hide it. I would like to see some of the "more and better democratic elected officials" GOS front page support for the Teachout / Wu progressive challenge in this primary.
    Thank you for posting the diaries today and yesterday.

  •  More than a few people have (8+ / 0-)

    mentioned their intent to vote for Zephyr Teachout in the primary. A lot of people are very upset about the mishandling of Long Island College Hospital.

    Cuomo plays dirty. The last I heard Cuomo was challenging Teachout's residency and he has the best election lawyer in town.

  •  Congratulations El Bloguero. (6+ / 0-)

    Your diary is on the Most Shared diary list. It's getting out there.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 11:22:44 AM PDT

  •  I've contributed to Teachout and will be voting (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    El Bloguero, jbob, weck, rebel ga, elwior

    For her.

  •  You may have missed a couple of things (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    El Bloguero, elwior

    Teachout is an antitrust and media expert who served as the Director of Internet Organizing for the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign. She co-founded A New Way Forward, an organization built to break up the power of big banks,[3] and was involved with Occupy Wall Street.[4] Teachout was also the first national director of the Sunlight Foundation.
    Some people have had trouble with the link you gave, so here's an alternative:

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 04:23:39 PM PDT

  •  Don't forget DFA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, El Bloguero

    You should have added one more "unless" to this:

    Let's face it: unless you're a governmental corruption law groupie or one of her students, you don't know her name.
    You just finished mentioning her role in Howard Dean's campaign. You should also include people who followed that campaign as people who are familiar with her.

    That campaign was the first time I really became "active" in politics. I remember her well from that campaign, she had a very visible role on the Dean for America blog.  I think she and Joe Trippi were the most visible of the campaign staff.

    I have a great deal of admiration for her, but this is going to be an uphill challenge. She really is an unknown among most of the electorate, and she doesn't have a lot of time to get known. She really needs more than just "small" campaign contributions from those who can afford to be more generous, to make her campaign more visible.

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