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               We must remember as progressives that if the Democratic party represents us, and we use it as a tool to enact change that the debate we are having is not what that change is, but how the other side can attack us, as being not the party of the people but the party of elitist city borne ideology. That is what happened with the birth of the tea party, or rather it was the final punch in thirty years of regression, because the story of rural populism being regressed by the right does not begin in the Midwest but rather in rural manufacturing sections of the country like my hometown of Elmira New York. But the majority of voters who grew up under the new deal era became conservative when they got older so this shift in ideology only spans a lifetime in the majority of people, When people think of the populism in this country, they think of the Midwest and other regions of our country where populism prevailed.

                     What people fail to realize is that this populism had the certain cultural characteristic that redefined the left and in this modern age the Democratic Party. It is interesting that this populism came not from the Democratic Party but from the populist party among other groups. This might be strange to some but the state that gave FDR his biggest margin or 94% of the vote in 1936 was Mississippi, one of the few senators to oppose the new deal from the left was a southern democrat named Huey Long. It was the Midwest that supported the Socialist party of America during its existence was the Midwest with Wisconsin sending one of the only two socialist into Congress Victor L Berger. This state also sent to the Senate Bob Lafollete A Republican who ran as the Progressive Party candidate in 1912 garnering 12% of the vote. At this moment you might be asking yourself. What does this have to do with the Rebirth of Rural populism? If we analyze the shift of the white working class in this country it started to become increasingly conservative in our spectrum during the 1960s. So this shift has literally happened as the population had gotten older. But this is an anomaly in political ideology, because it was the Senior citizens in the 1930s that were part of the Townsend clubs (A movement created by Dr. Charles Townsend to ensure income for Senior citizens), vestiges of that movement are still alive in the AARP.

                    I recently had the chance to sit in a political discussion in a cigar shop a traditionally conservative atmosphere, as a progressive I could not really agree with them on social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, but demographics tend to defeat that argument in national circles. But the other part of the argument they can agree with me on is international trade, most rural politics tend to center around factory towns, and this is were we can take a stance on saying we represent the majority of people. Democrats could exploit the argument against free trade, if we did something about it such as renegotiating free trade deals, and this is something Conservatives can be won over on. Especially in states that have heavy industry and manufacturing, and usually this argument tends to be more bipartisan in agreement than message. All politics are populist no matter what side of the spectrum you are on, which is why the tea party was so effective in drawing around the cultural edges of the picture of existence in rural America. It was painting the argument of the "people" which the tea party represented or at least argued to represent against the elitist federal government and its special interest such as unions and the evil Planned Parenthood. The reason this argument worked is because it played to cultural attitudes within regions such as the south and midwest that flipped once thought safe democratic seats such as Chairman of the budget committee John Spratt's seat in North Carolina, anti NAFTA Mississippi congressman Gene Taylor among others. It is only an argument of rhetoric that Louisiana only has one democratic congressman even though the majority of their congressional districts are made up of what were considered once solid democrats. Now regionally there are several arguments that are populist in my hometown and the Surrounding Southern tier of Upstate New York its anti fracking, and it seems to have worked pretty well in unseating several Republicans such as Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle. Both elected in the tea party wave of 2010. I believe that the anti fracking movement is key to the rebirth of rural populism, because it actually defines the rhetoric of populism perfectly.

                If we look at what politicians have made the fracking debate about, it is about the elites against the people and no matter what Republicans say or do. They have defined themselves as taking the side of the elite and this is a view supported by most people in upstate New York even if they are Republican. Now the fact that this debate has cemented itself in Upstate New York as a fight against the elite even with Republicans says alot about the natural gas industry and its political supporters. Often to conservatives it is not the environmental problems but rather the economic ones such as the increase in rent prices and traffic increase. But also there is a different appeal specially with traditionally Republican winery owners within the finger lakes region of the southern tier if fracking comes to this area then the grape industry will be ruined because of lack of water. Now the anti fracking movement has united the people against corporate elite interest just trying to profit from our homes and then leave.

               This rural populism is much more cultural and based on the self reliance of a region. There are other successful stories of where populist have won elections Jon Tester in Montana and Joe Manchin in West Virginia won elections in deep red states. The fact that a democrat won as a Senator and not as president in these states shows a big change in cultural attitude to their officials. I guess the label that all politics are local fits perfectly to how Democrats win and can win rural conservative leaning districts. It used to be that both Republicans and Democrats fought against NAFTA and other outsourcing policies. But Republicans tend to just want to play on the cultural attitudes of a rural area to win a congressional seat, which is failing because telling someone that banning gay marriage is somehow going to stop the outsourcing of jobs in America does not add up.

                             There are also several different demographic changes that will help democrats in places like upstate New York. If we look at demographics while rural areas seem to be emptying there is also a larger immigrant population. Within the 297 most rural counties within the States since 2000 immigrant populations have exceeded 5%. Generations in the future will mark this demographic trend. The outsourcing of jobs also tends to over affect rural America because 12.5% of the workforce in rural America is employed in manufacturing; this is a larger margin than farming. So this gives us progressives a better chance to fight against outsourcing of American jobs and it seems to be taking effect as well. This is why Republican senate candidates and Republican incumbent congressmen tend to lose their seats when it comes to these issues. There is no better example of this than the election of Pete Gallego in Texas kicking out tea party one term congressman Quico Canseco. The district they were fighting over was a majority latino rural district that stretched from the San Antonio suburbs to the Mexican border.

                       Now the antifracking movement in upstate New York is a temporary one since if we succeed there will not be fracking in New York State. But to keep this coalition alive you have to include people who have always voted Republican their whole lives. These people have already been convinced that Fracking is not a creator of jobs, so to keep this coalition alive people must be convinced that we need to bring manufacturing jobs back to the Southern tier of New York. This is how the populist would survive if fracking is banned. Not to mention that all of these rural areas contain several colleges, which are breeding grounds for activist. Furthermore the cohesiveness of a coalition lies not on its structure but on whether it can be continued by future generations. This can be replicated in several areas of the country which have bene gutted by NAFTA, CAFTA, among other trade agreements. It is isolating the enemy and creating a coalition to bring back jobs, by convincing the people. Fighting for the land rights of a landowner might not seem like a very progressive argument. But in upstate New York landowners who do not want to deal with the natural gas industry end up having to fight legal battles with gas companies. These landowners end up taking a position against fracking based on self-reliance and property respect.

                        Finally I want to highlight my own Congressional district the 23rd Congressional district in Upstate New York as a prime example of how rural populism can become instrumental in democrats mounting opposition to Republicans. A district that has a 2 to 1 advantage of Republicans to Democrats, the democratic candidate for Congress Nate Shinagawa only lost by 4%, in 2010 the Democratic candidate  retired Army Captain Matthew Zeller lost by 7.4% but the difference was the opposition to fracking, as well as several factories shutting down under Congressman Tom Reed's tenure as Congressman even though many of his billboards said " he was fighting for jobs". This along with Republicans turning against him on the issue of fracking showed that people can fight the elite at the ballot box. With that being said we were outspent 3 to 1 but still spread the message through grassroots efforts. There is no doubt that rural populism is reborn through the anti fracking movement and the fight against outsourcing jobs. It is also fascinating to watch the people's movements give birth to a new dialogue within rural America. While we may not agree with city liberals on gun rights and some trade deals, we do stand together against Fracking, against outsourcing, in taxing the rich. Rural America has again become a key part to the populist message

Paolo Cremidis

Originally posted to theupstatedemocrat on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 07:46 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm all for Joyceian stream of consciousness, but (26+ / 0-)

    can you break your paragraphs please?  That's very difficult to read.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 07:56:26 AM PST

  •  Be a democrat during elections, (13+ / 0-)

    and a populist in between.

    We really should view job creation as a grassroots, populist movement, and recognize that this type of organizing at the local and regional level is what is going to get us more votes come election time.

  •  tipped & recced (7+ / 0-)

    Populism has a long history in this country. As a movement it goes back to the 1880s.

    I like the idea of developing a populist argument. However, populism lends itself to simple answers to often complicated problems.

    It is also ironic that the movement in the South in the 1880s & 1890s was crushed by an appeal to racism, dividing white & black sharecroppers much like what happened to the old Dem coalition starting in the 1960s

  •  asdf (8+ / 0-)
    my own Congressional district the 23rd Congressional district in Upstate New York as a prime example of how rural populism can become instrumental in Democrats mounting opposition to Republicans. A district that has a 2 to 1 advantage of Republicans to Democrats, the Democratic candidate for Congress Nate Shinagawa only lost by 4%,
    This district has Ithaca NY right? with a progressive dem before (hinchey)? Do you know how good the turnout was in Ithaca vs rural areas?

    seems to me Reed's district should be a prime target for to strategize?

    Dems in swing districts: INSIST your republican rep incr tax on the wealthy -gerrymandering makes rep vulnerable...swing district list:

    by grrr on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:24:33 AM PST

    •  Redistricted (7+ / 0-)

      Hinchey's old district went from Ithaca toward the southeast into the Catskills.  Now it starts in Ithaca and goes west along the Southern Tier.

      Regardless, no one had this race on the radar this cycle, but I think it will be on everyone's next time around.  I may even chip in a bit if I can.

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 05:02:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  More Appalachian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Hinchey's district got converted by NY's perversely  Conservative legislature into one more Appalachian. That's one of the Republican Party's core national (regional) constituencies: Appalachians and their Plains cousins.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:14:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is true, but better I think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DocGonzo, grrr

          I always thought Hinchey's old district was a disservice to Ithaca.  Now, instead of a district that stretches into some rather distinct and separate regions of New York, Ithaca belongs to a district that encompasses the southern Finger Lakes.  Which makes a lot more sense, since Ithaca is located at the southern tip of one of those lakes.  And even with this new, more Republican district, a "some dude" Democrat almost pulled an upset.

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 12:06:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  More NY House Seats (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The real problem is that New York has too few House seats (and consequently far too few Electoral College votes). NY has over 34x the people Wyoming has, but only 29x as many Representatives. That's only 85% of parity: Wyomingers have 17% more representation than we do. And so 16% more votes for president than we do.

            An extra 5 reps would help represent NY more precisely, if it weren't gerrymandered away by NYS Conservatives (of both parties).

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:35:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  District currently under Tom Reed encompasses (8+ / 0-)

      a wide rangeof voting preferences and regional economics, from Hornel and Elmira in the Southern tier to southern Monroe county near Rochester--a result  of Repub. redistricting.
      The northern end of Reed's district (the road I used to live on in Pittsford, NY, was Reed's, one road north was in Louise Slaughter's district) tends to be prosperous, middle to upper-middle class, and more liberal in the past couple of decades. It depends on institutions like Strong Hospital, University of Rochester and RIT, and a lot of export-driven small manufacturing.
      The southern portion has lots of unemployment or underemployment, farming, lumbering, and hunting. It tends to vote pretty solidly Republican.
      Consequently, any successful candidate will have to appeal to groups with very different political interests.
      Eric Massa may have gone down in ignominy but he was able to appeal to disparate groups of people because he spoke to their concerns.
      He was well versed in and outspoken about economic issues, from export and intellectual property problems to the fact that so many New Yorkers were one accident or lay-off away from personal financial disaster, given the situation at the time with health care.
      His military experience and rather blunt speaking style gave him cred with folks in the Southern Tier, particularly since James "Randy" Kuhl, the go-along-get-along conservative he defeated, was mainly known for being the 2nd-best golfer in the House of Representatives.
      Massa also ran tireless campaigns--lots of boots, his own included, on the ground.
      So, that's a long way of saying that whoever wants to defeat Reed will, at the very least, have to be well-versed in the wide variety of economic issues and other concerns that affect people in the district. He or she will have to understand the dynamics of a lot of very different communities. Those concerns will have to be carefully identified.
      I didn't see that happen with the Democratic candidate in 2010, and I wasn't living there in 2012, but Reed ought be vulnerable--he was a loyal supporter of the Ryan plan to privatize Social Security, and is a huge yes-man for the most extreme GOP policies.

      •  Sorry, I shouldn't write late at night--Reed was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        an enthusiastic supporter of Ryan's plan to privitize/voucherize health care. His major justification for the Ryan plan was the standard "we have to destroy Medicare to save it," as well as the insulting, divisive, and infuriating advice that his older constituents shouldn't worry--the changes wouldn't affect them.

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

          did his dem opponent highlight this?

          Dems in swing districts: INSIST your republican rep incr tax on the wealthy -gerrymandering makes rep vulnerable...swing district list:

          by grrr on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:27:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks. A bit hard to read but worth the effort. (12+ / 0-)

    When using the word "elite", however, I would say "financial" or "corporate" elites, to distinguish from the Republican complaints about "academic" and "Hollywood" elites.

    I agree with your argument. Populism is clearly a winner. As the 2012 election showed. The problem is getting our elected leaders to pursue populist policies once we get them into office.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:49:44 AM PST

  •  I didn't hear Tester say much that I remember (6+ / 0-)

    about fracking. I think both he and his opponent din't say much about extractive industries. Montana gets a lot of jobs on the eastern part of the state from oil. I think they have some good sized mines too. He really is rural and a farmer and that helps.

    The urban elite portion of Dems would rather forget their rural brethren I'm sure (hard not to notice here at the GOS). Thank goodness our national leaders don't see things the same way.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 01:50:01 PM PST

    •  NY is not Montana (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, PinHole

      Fracking is kind of a big deal here.

      •  Fracking doesn't really help local upstate NY (0+ / 0-)

        economies though. Check the license plates for the folks working the rigs and doing the drilling. They are mostly Texas plates. The locals aren't getting the jobs and the threat to the agriculture businesses up here is very real.

        Truth be told, there should be more factories and manufacturing throughout upstate NY. The pro free trade nonsense that comes from within our own party leadership drives a lot of the populism away. It did down in TX and it does up here in NY.

        I say this as a fella who moved from Houston to Ithaca 3 years ago.

    •  The Less Said the Better (for Fundraising) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenyata, PinHole, fuzzyguy

      I'm surprised whenever a politician says anything about fracking. Everything about fracking is a lie, from the temporary gas glut posing as "a century of cheap energy", to hiding the devastation underground while the leaking invisible gas pollutes 17x as much as CO2, and the vast waste product pollutes everything it touches down there.

      Meanwhile petrofuel barons pump $BILLIONS into buying these politicans over phonecalls, wire transfers and anonymous superpacs, while constituents must mass in public demonstrations just to get the occasional news story.

      Fracking is repeating the exact abuses that petrofuels have for over a century. Why not? Politicians trusted to protect the public have always screwed us to great profit according to these exact same steps.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:19:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm in NY-26; rural populism can help Democrats... (15+ / 0-)

    but only if the Democratic party ends its suicidal bondage to Wall Street and the Banksters.

    Sane immigration reform may be a net wash, as we have lots of troglodyte racists but also plenty of farmers with Mexican and Guatemalan workers in constant danger of deportation. And I totally agree that widespread resistance to the destruction of Finger Lakes water resources by hydrofracking is the key to a Democratic resurgence in this region.

    But it's a total non-starter when Andrew Cuomo throws in with the banksters, when Obama chooses yet another Wall Streeter as Treasury Secretary, and when the starting point for any negotiation with the Republicans starts with proposals to reduce Social Security benefits and Medicare. This kind of crap makes it impossible to make a persuasive argument that Democrats are more likely to help working class folks than Republicans. At least Republicans promise (falsely) to lower your taxes.

    For God's sake, let's see some proposals from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

    •  Couldn't agree with this more... (10+ / 0-)

      One of the things lost on the average person mired in this fracking debate is just how tied in the whole "boom" in natural gas drilling is to Wall Street.  The exuberence about this drilling is largely a bit of propoganda peddled by those trying to raise ridiculous amounts of capital for drilling projects and a filthy rich component of this country that literally has nothing better to do with their money than to find another bubble to speculate on.

      Check out the decline rates on the production curves for fracked and horizontally drilled wells - they are lousy.  Without the backing of Wall Street and sh*tloads of money without a home, earned - sorry, basically stole - during 5 previous bubbles, this whole foolish endeavour wouldn't even be on anyone's radar.  Open the whole state of NY to fracking tomorrow and I doubt you'd get more than a few locations drilled.  It is playing out to be a serious economic loser.  Funny too (being originally from Dansville in Livingston County near Rochester) - you know all those supposed great jobs related to the extractive industries - well, about all I see creeping around the Corning / Elmira area are pick up and drilling support trucks from Chesepeake Energy and Schlumberger and Baker Hughes drilling services with the following license plates:  Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming etc. etc. - yep - alot of great NYS jobs being created.  What a bunch of BS.

      Western NY and the Finger Lakes should run - don't walk - away from ties with NYC and Wall Street.  The equity locusts related to the real estate "industry" from NYC and Jersey have already targeted the Finger Lakes as their next new "real estate prices are so reasonable up here" destination.  Stay strong Western NY - don't give in to the grifters.  They're just trying to sell you the rope with which you'll hang yourself.

      •  I live 6 miles from Dansville; exactly right... (7+ / 0-)

        about those 'fabulous fracking jobs'. There are a handful of jobs for out-of-state contractors who work brutal hours and live out of shabby motels for months at a time with lousy benefits, and whose jobs evaporate the instant the drilling is done.

        My understanding is that the dominant company managing mineral rights/leases in the Northeast is basically a giant pyramid scheme, with lots of 'dumb investor' money pouring in at the bottom being tossed up the pyramid to pay off the earlier investors. But the company has no actual profit from operations; they are a house of cards dependent upon a steady stream of new gulls/marks to stay afloat. The instant the music stops, the whole thing collapses.

        •  The Pyramid Exposed in the NYT (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zenyata, tardis10, PinHole, fuzzyguy, DianeNYS

          The New York Times published in October 2012 a fairly incisive overview of the fracking pyramid scheme: "After the Boom in Natural Gas". It describes an old boy network (rooted in a Duke University frat and its alums) that turned the contrived boom into literally $BILLIONS in fundraising, an "instant bubble" that is already popping even as the gas just comes online. And will wreck our drinking water probably worse than these banksters have wrecked our savings.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:26:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I read it when it came out; great article. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tardis10, PinHole, fuzzyguy
          •  Art Berman (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PinHole, fuzzyguy

            has been the leading contrarian vs. the natural gas companies and has been saying for years that this whole idea that there are "100s of years worth of gas" in tight formations just waiting to be fracked is a whole lot of hot air...

            He has continuously been derided by the Wall Street Boyz as not understanding the "this time it's different" scenario that throwing huge amounts of $$ will produce.

            Berman (a petroleum geologist) generally says nice try but sorry to say most of you "smartest guys in the room" types don't know the first thing about geology.

            Pay close attention to the resources assessment vs. reserve numbers - that's where the rubber meets the road...


      •  I'm certainly more hopeful than I used to be (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenyata, PinHole

        about fracking going down in NY state.  Just from my very limited perspective visiting my parents in Sullivan County, there are easily two or three times as many anti-fracking signs around as there were a couple of years ago.  And no corresponding increase in the number of slick corporate "pro" signs.

    •  Amen. n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  Agreed -- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      however on fracking specifically, Democrats do have a bit more pull than republicans due to our history of a greater concern for environmental issues.  (Freaking Cuomo notwithstanding.)  Even if the argument is the populist-friendly "big money coming to use your land up and skip town", people are still going to hear that little chime of "tree-hugger" in the background and give it some credibility.

      •  'Tree hugger' actually poisonous around here. (4+ / 0-)

        What people actually hear when you say tree hugger is "those fucking DEC guys who wouldn't let me take down the beaver damn on my own land". Blue collar rural landowners have at best mixed feelings about environmentalism, and tend to get pissed off when someone tells them what they can or cannot do with their own property. Framing really matters on this issue.

        Pointing out that out of State fat-cats will come in to rape the environment and walk away with millions while leaving us with poisoned water forever will resonate with most local residents. Most of us get our water from a well; drinking benzene-laced water will ruin your whole day. Making an abstract 'tree hugger' environmental pitch will not fly. Gotta be concrete and direct.

        •  Well, the argument was Democratic credibility (0+ / 0-)

          on stopping fracking (which can be argued against for other reasons) and environmentalism can't hurt, there.  I never argued for making an explicit environmental pitch where that won't fly; "tree-hugger" was just hyperbole.

        •  Those same nitwits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          don't realize that the beaver dam they want to knock out is what is controlling the flooding of the stream up to 4 miles down. There are a great many perceived Private Property rights, but it also has responsibilities that so many forget to think about or take into consideration.

          A little more environmental science in the class rooms, especially in rural areas, would go a long way to helping folks see the big picture.

          I've seen what heedless mineral extraction can do to rural communities in east TX and the toll it can take on rural communities' economies and health. I'd really rather not see that happen to the beautiful finger lakes. The resistance to fracking from not just the "tree huggers" in Ithaca, but the greater finger lakes region gives me some hope that people will see that fracking and leasing their land is bad for themselves and their communities. No farms, no business, no communities, and no food.

  •  You aren't the only upstate Dem (8+ / 0-)

    There are a lot of us.

    I was just looking at election results for the last several presidential elections in NY the other day on the NYT site.  If you define downstate as Sullivan, Ulster, and Dutchess Counties south, the Democrat has won upstate in every election since 1992, which is as far back as their tool goes, so I don't know about 88, when NY was one of the few states to go for Dukakis, but I'd bet Bush won Upstate.

    Looked at another way, Downstate, as I have defined it, gave the Democrat enough votes to beat the STATEWIDE vote of the Republican.  Every single election from 1992 to 2012.  That might suggest that Upstate is irrelevant, but I think it suggests the margins are strong enough Upstate to elect Democrats from rural areas.

    There is not one Republican Congressperson from New England, which has plenty of remote, rural places.  Of the four upstate Republicans who won seats this year, only Hanna (who vocally called out his own party on women's issues and has a moderate image and record) won convincingly at roughly 60-40.  Gibson won with 53.5%, Reed with 51.9, and Collins with 50.6

    White rural voters can and will vote Democrat, at least around here.  Now let's spread that out to the rest of the country.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 04:59:37 PM PST

    •  different races (0+ / 0-)

      There are counties in upstate New York where Romney won against Obama but the democratic candidates outran Obama on the same ticket

    •  We sent ours back to Washington (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, PinHole, DJ Rix, RonV, helpImdrowning

      here in NY-21.  About as rural and white as it gets.  But, I agree we need to get our ducks in a row.  I have suggested Dr. Dean's 50 State Strategy on Steroids, aka "the 200,000 precinct strategy" (mentioned by MB on here), only to be met with yawns and looks like I'm from Mars.  I still think it's the best way to build the Dem party.  We don't need to build coalitions, we need to build the party.  We do that one precinct at a time.  From sea to shining sea.  Find your precinct captain.
      Don't have one?  Become one.  We meet here on G+.

      •  I agree with you 100% (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winkk, PinHole, helpImdrowning

        The first step in accomplishing anything is showing up

        There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

        by slothlax on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 12:46:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is Owen's second win. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slothlax, helpImdrowning, winkk

        In a district that had sent a Whig to congress more recently than a democrat!

        I'm in the newer part of his district, but previously we had sent Gillibrand and Murphy to congress, a good trend with one aberration (Gibson in 2010 R-Tea Party).

        My northern Warren County town, despite a 2-1 republican registration advantage, has voted for Gillibrand, Clinton, and Obama every time they have been on the ballot. Heck, they even voted me in a town supervisor last year and I won 2-1 over my republican opponent.

        I think there's more at work in some of these places than just populism. I think the demographic is changing significantly and I don't know what that is all about. Increasing awareness of the world around them?

        "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

        by RonV on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:19:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But That's Not Downstate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PinHole, slothlax

      "Downstate" is defined as Westchester/Rockland and south: NYC and its suburbs. The NYS Dept. of Transportation includes Putnam and parts of Orange and Dutchess, but that's weighted by highways connecting New England, the Great Lakes and Canada - not the people and where they are, but travellers.

      I live in Northern Westchester (moved from Brooklyn, as many here have), and "Upstate" starts some distance from the trains to Grand Central, as it's really defined by cultural distance from NYC. So maybe along the Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie and within a commuter's drive to it, and likewise to Spring Valley and even Port Jervis, and in principle even aroud Wassaic in CT - for some people, who provide the fuzzy boundary. But really Upstate as its own place, defined by other Upstate places, includes only Westchester and Rockland. I have lived in Albany, even in Canada, and traveled to every region except the St Lawrence counties for business or pleasure, and the feeling is pretty distinct.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:44:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is an ambiguous distinction (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I look at Poughkeepsie as the sort of northern terminus of Downstate.  As you say,cultural focus is the defining issue.  While the counties I included are debatable, I think pretty good argument can be made to include them.  I generally consider the Catskills to be the playground of Downstaters, while Upstaters go to the Adirondacks.  So in terms of cultural spheres, I think of Downstate generally as the Catskills south.

        There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

        by slothlax on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:57:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Playgrounds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I agree with your basic observations. But the Catskills is the Upstate playground of Downstaters. If it were Downstate, we'd keep going just until we were upstate. The Adirondacks is the Upstater's Upstate. FWIW I see a lot of (ADK) stickers on cars commuting from Putnam and north on the Taconic into Westchester. Which tends to confirm that Putnam and north is Upstate :).

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:27:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's all kinda funny to me (0+ / 0-)

            I think our relative positions have something to do with our definitions, but I generally agree with what you say.  In the end, the difference between up and down state depends on who and where you are.

            There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

            by slothlax on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:08:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Said another way (0+ / 0-)

            You may see the Catskills as Upstate, but to me its that little park just outside of NYC.

            There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

            by slothlax on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:11:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Excludes, Not Includes (0+ / 0-)
        But really Upstate as its own place, defined by other Upstate places, includes only Westchester and Rockland.

        I meant to say "excludes", as Rockland and Westchester aren't part of any place except the NYC metro area: Downstate. The counties north of them are part of somewhere else more than of NYC: Upstate.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:29:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tea party created by the Koch bros. they were (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, DocGonzo, wdrath

    not a spontaneous response to anything.  Backed by Murdoch they are only a media/koch bros creation and will end when they aren't provided buses and signs.

  •  T&R by this Finger Lakes resident. eom. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PinHole, fuzzyguy
  •  It is very heartening to see this diary (8+ / 0-)

    I suggest everyone concerned in NYS contact their county Democratic Party and work & get to know the local Democrats.  

    Each spring they have a statewide conference called Rural NY.   Worth attending.  Location varies.  

    In mixed US Rep districts such as #24 (used to be 25) around the Syracuse area, the rural vote got stronger for the Tea Party types such as Ann Marie Buerkle (dubbed a nationwide member of the Flat Earth Society) and Romney.  She ran on the Paul Ryan lies about Medicare, guns, the VA, and Operation Rescue type beliefs about birth control and abortion.  Too many folks in the region still get their buttons pushed by such stuff by FAUX, their conservative Fundy churches and community associations & strong AM radio.

    It was only the Syracuse vote which saved Dan Maffei and sent him back to Congress.

    The concern about the dangers of fracking mostly exists with a more educated populace which is moving back to the upstate region, and from those associated with some of the universities and colleges in the region.

    Thank the FSM for Cornell, especially.  Of course the TP and energy types do their best to denigrate and play on the fears of the land owners by saying they are pointy headed, libural, elites who don't know a thing about running 5-500 acres on the edge of financial ruin.
    "Let us help you out!"  

    There is also a lack of sophistication about the influences of Wall St money and the layers of legal and financial walls they can build.

    I think Cuomo has been surprised by the intensity of the push back on fracking.  The day before the election 2 years ago, I told him to his face, we would vote for him then, but the fracking business was the closest we have come to being single issue voters.  He looked genuinely startled amid all the back slapping of his pre-victory tour.  

    Dan Maffei is strongly opposed to fracking as it is practiced now.  He'd also like to see less of a free-for-all with guns and ammunition.  Please give him your support!  

    Buerkle's minions are not going quietly, and she is now actively looking in DC to get hitched with some sort of forced birth or assault weapon group

    •  Maffei's district also voted (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fuzzyguy, DianeNYS, slothlax, PinHole

      8% to the left of Maffei,(Rozum) and I don't know how many of Maffei's votes were on the signal line,Working Family Party. Can't say that those margins would have happened without Obama at the top of the ticket. But it will be interesting to watch how Maffei navigates this term vs. his last one.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:41:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One major problem going forward: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    " keep this coalition alive people must be convinced that we need to bring manufacturing jobs back to the Southern tier of New York."

    That will be very, very difficult.

    Take a look at "60 Minutes" from last night, the segment on robots. Summary: jobs coming back from overseas are going to be transferred to robots, not people.

    Robots work for $3.85 an hour.

    Tough problem.........

    "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012

    by bontemps2012 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 04:36:47 AM PST

  •  Keuka Lake (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My husband has family that lives in the Finger Lakes area in the town of Keuka and Naples. It is a really beautiful part of the state and conservative like you say.

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