40% for a Green Party candidate where the Democratic Party threw everything it had into the race is nothing to be discouraged about. Our capacity in terms of volunteers, fundraising, and campaign skills exploded. We offered realistic and positive alternatives to a status quo that is failing.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered and donated. Please stay engaged. We need each other because there are serious issues in the city - from the fiscal crisis of the city, to the economic crisis facing the city's working class, to rising crime and violence, to schools being set up for "failure" and privatization. Unfortunately, these issues did not become galvanizing issues given the media blackout of the election and the failure of media and civic organizations not only to not organize mayoral debates, but to not raise holy hell about the mayor's refusal to debate and only offer such farces as her Twitter Town Hall on the daily newspapers website.
So the power structure got its people back in city hall because the people in the neighborhoods weren't aroused by a compelling election debate with serious media coverage.
The turnout citywide was a record low by far. Only in the highly contested 4th District, where Greens and Democrats were fully engaged in intensive canvassing of the voters, did the total vote remain as high as the previous mayoral election. Take credit for that.
Every Green vote was a conscious vote. Most of the Democratic votes were automatic default votes. The Dems are losing voters citywide, while the Greens are gaining. Syracuse remains a one-party Democratic city government, but it has a real and growing opposition from the Greens.
No matter how well organized a campaign and how much in line with people's interests and sentiments, the biggest factors affecting the result are often ones we can't control. So the results last night are not surprising given we had no larger forces working in our favor this year, no defining issue in the media that engaged all the voters in thinking, debating, and then voting on the alternatives offered.
I have a million ideas for how to change that and I'm sure you do. So we will meet, evaluate, plan our next steps, and get to work.
~ Howie Hawkins
Howie Hawkins was the Green Party candidate for Syracuse, New York Common Council, 4th District