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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Primary day...

Election,er...primary day: Well, it's no secret that the Democratic party primaries - coming tomorrow to a ward near you - are the real elections in most Albany races. Thrilling coverage of the names and ages of the council candidates in the Times Union. [It's not like you've been doing anything speical in terms of coverage.-ed. Yeah, but i'm not the supposed paper of record around here. You act like you are.-ed. Shut up.] While we may or may not see some surprising results in the council races, the mayor's race is basically a question of how much Jennings will win by. But that's an important question! If he gets less than 75-80% of the vote, I think that's a political loss for him, and less than 65% would be an unmitigated disaster for his political capital in the city. It's funny how elections do more than just pick winners, but they do. A weak re-election (or a re-election by a margin smaller than expected) lets all the politicos know that it's safe to attack.** And that's important in politics!

P.S.
This is all doubly true since Jennings is basically going to be a lame duck anyway for the next four years. One truism of politics is that as soon as people can see when your power will end, they stop doing favors for you and start looking for ways to position themselves in the coming new power structure. That's why presidents lose power in Washington during their second term, why lifetime bureaucrats and entrenched Congressmen don't get too attached or beholden to any president, and why mayors should generally refrain from announcing the end of their career four years ahead of time. It won't be more than a 12-18 months before the backbiting and power games begin, and that's within Jennings own circle!

P.P.S. Even though Albany Eye says you have to go online to find the Jennings campaign ads, I saw one on channel 6 during Meet the Press Sunday. Unimpressive! He's not even that tan...

**This is for a few reasons. First, they have less fear of the voters wrath in their own reelection or future runs for office. If you attack the most popular leader ever, the voters remember it and punish you. If you attack someone who's down, they don't care. Second, you don't have to fear political losses as much. Voters hate losers, so it's dangerous to oppose a guy when it's likely he will win many of the policy and power struggles. But a weak election means many people will be attacking, and thus it's less likely for him to win a policy battle, and thus less likley you look like a loser in public! It's a kind of herd mentality.
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