2000, 2004, barack, Bush, chief, City, count, editor, F.Kennedy, fiasco, Filippacchi, Florida, frank, George, Hachette, in, Jeb, John, Jr., Karl, kerry, Lalli, lawsuits, loss, magazine, manhattan, new, obama, publisher, Rove, swiftboat, vote, W., york
In Spring of 2000, Hachette-Filippacchi Inc.,hired me and a half-dozen others to work as independently-contracted temporary employees to fact-check and conduct research for George magazine – whose founder and editor-in-chief John F. Kennedy, Jr. had been killed in a light-plane crash amidst fog off the coast of Maine eight months before. They hired us to ensure George remained, in the wake of its founder’s passing, an audible element of the political discourse during the Election of 2000.
As a national magazine which was read by hundreds of thousands of voters in many states, particular focus was paid to the Presidential Election between Vice President Al Gore and George W. Bush, the Governor of Texas.
My fellow employees, under Editor-in-Chief Frank Lalli, were a tight-knit, smart and savvy crew. In fact, on Election Night we were all together at Mr. Lalli’s beautiful upper westside home where he had invited us to watch returns. But Karl Rove’s fat face and a flipped state later, many of us were back in the office. A few of us stayed up most of the night and by 10 a.m. I was not alone in the office when I was posting coverage of Florida on the George website.
Though admittedly not a heavy-hitter politically, George was engaged throughout the Election and maintained an immense audience of voting readers before the magazine was finally brought to an end in 2001.
In 2003 I covered Schwarzenegger’s Election via Recall of Davis for KPFK, 90.7fm Los Angeles.
I also covered The Election of 2004 and the Presidential Race between George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry for KPFK, 90.7fm Los Angeles and in part for Pacifica Radio. Some of that 2004 Election work exists here and online at Pacifica’s Audioport and in the Pacifica Radio Archives, but I have complete digital copies of everything I did for KPFK and Pacifica between 2003 and 2005 backed up on disc in my studio as well.
In 2008, I was no longer working as a journalist, but did cover Obama’s Victory in Iowa for KPFK and produced short Audio-Visual Installments for Freshjive on the Internet. These were amateurish and clunky by design, yet carried considerable data for anyone who had tuned in to the broadcasts I produced for KPFK four years before.
When Obama won in ’08, I was with Lloyd Dangle, who hosted a book signing and Election Night Returns Party at the Riptide in San Francisco. Earlier in the day I had a drink with former SF Mayor Willie Brown at the St. Regis – we discussed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s plans for appointing a Senator to replace disgraced Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, forced to retire.
This year,I did not work as a journalist, but rather observed as a reader of the news media and a regular Californian voter.
The biggest single predictor of the elections of the 21st century has to be the margin of difference in registrations for the two major parties.
There are many reasons for this: smaller parties are being absorbed and disappearing for lack of membership, corporate interests fund the two major parties only, people threatened by one of the two parties runs to join the other and the demography of the nation is changing.
I have successfully predicted the last two elections as a result of my study of data and my knowledge of voting history. I think I see the electorate again.
Some points on 21st Century US Elections:
It’s impossible to write a blog about all my experiences voting and covering General Elections in the United States in the 21st Century, but suffice it to say there is a distinct difference between these and the Elections of the latter half of the 20th century, in which I also participated.
Much of this is discussed in my talk Political Media, Messages and More.
2003 was the Recall Election and spawned recalls in the 21st Century because of Schwarzenegger’s success.
2008 was the Youtube Election.
2012 was the Twitter Election.
Money and media are the driving forces of what has become a political system mired in divided, brutal contests between two immense parties which are financed primarily by corporations and special interest groups that define their policies.
We are in desperate need of a new Federal Elections Reform Act, as was passed in the early 1970’s.
Our democracy is sick. Hardly half the people with the right to vote even participate.
We need to update, nationalize and standardize voting procedures and make them more secure. We need to increase registration and participation. We need to subsidize the creation and maintenance of additional parties in the face of the massive expenditures made by Republicans and Democrats that have taken elections out of the reach of the common person. We need proportional representation in Congress.
Have been saying all of this for years, and it has only gotten worse. Here’s hoping the young people who are increasing in numbers at the polls pull off what my generation couldn’t.