Originally posted to syracuse.com.
Another election has gone by and little has changed. The local power structure kept its people in office. The Democrats still hold every elected office in the city and the problems that have grown worse under their one-party rule remain the same – high poverty, high unemployment, low wages, high crime, abysmal graduation rates, municipal bankruptcy pending.
Given that the media hardly covered races for county and city offices and there were no mayoral debates after the Democratic primary, it is not surprising that voter turnout was a record low. Citywide, only about 21 percent of voters cast a ballot in the mayoral race. In Syracuse, the most energetic alternative to the political status quo this past election season came from the Green Party, which nonetheless failed to secure any electoral wins in Syracuse despite running three articulate and talented candidates.
The press and political commentators often point to voter enrollment as a deciding factor in whether a Green candidate is even a contender. In the city’s 4th District, there are about 100 registered Green voters, compared with more than 8,000 registered Democrats. Yet on Election Day, about 1,000 voters, 40 percent of the 4th District vote, intentionally sought out Howie Hawkins’ name on their ballot in the bottom right corner, the very last name on Row F, Column 19 – that’s 10 times the Green enrollment in that district. The winner, Khalid Bey, got about 1,500 votes – one-fifth of the Democratic enrollment. Put those ratios together and the Greens out-performed the Democrats by a factor of 50 in terms of party enrollment. Citywide, Kevin Bott’s 15 percent for mayor represents a 6 to 1 out-performance of our party’s enrollment citywide (2,305 votes, 480 Green enrolled).
While still not winning, the results are a positive indicator of people’s interest in new Green political ideas in a city where a voter once told me “I’d vote for a dog if it were a Democrat.”
Read the full article here: http://www.greenpapers.net/?p=748
Ursula Rozum is a guest columnist who writes monthly for syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. She ran for Congress on the Green Party line in 2012, is an officer in the local Green Party organization and managed Howie Hawkins’ campaign for Syracuse Common Council this year.