24 August 2011

A Revolutionary Party in Troy, N.Y.

The Troy Record reports that independent mayoral candidate Jack Cox Jr. has submitted nearly double the amount of signatures required to earn a city ballot line for the Revolutionary Party. Needing 500 signatures, Cox collected 914, most of them by going door-to-door, as my frequent correspondent Crhymethinc can attest. The Revolutionary Party will appear on the November ballot unless the two major parties challenge Cox's signatures before the end of the week. Neither has yet signalled that it will do so.

If two similar phenomena make a history, then Troy has a history of third-party campaigning by disgruntled businessmen. As every account of Cox's campaign has noted, the previous mayoral election, which was won by Republican incumbent Harry Tutunjian, was marked by the intervention of Elda Abate, a restaurant owner who created the People's Party as part of her feud with the mayor. Abate got only 144 votes. Cox is "known for his past battles and ongoing lawsuit with the city administration" regarding his and his fathers' businesses, and has become a gadfly at City Council meetings. He promises Record reporter Cecilia Martinez that "I'm no Elda Abate" when it comes to electioneering.

You probably have to have been visited personally by Jack Cox to have any solid idea of what the Revolutionary Party stands for. His remarks to the reporter suggest a responsive moderate. "I had the opportunity to talk to many people," he says, "and most in the city are interested in some kind of choice for mayor aside from the major two parties." Having been "affiliated" with both Democrats and Republicans in the past, Cox proposes to "take the best part of each party and create a new mentality."

Mayor Tutunjian is blocked by a term limit from seeking re-election. The Republicans have tapped Carmella Mantello to succeed him, while the Democrats are on their second mayoral candidate, Lou Rosamilia, after the first, Clem Campana, had to drop out due to a scandal over his father's eligibility for subsidized housing. There probably won't be more than three choices for Trojans this year. The Libertarians and Greens have no dogs in this fight, to my knowledge, and it's been a long, long time since Socialist candidates were a regular feature of Troy mayoral campaigns. Now that his spot on the ballot seems assured, Cox has an obligation to get his message before the people by every means at his disposal. He should not assume that he can simply exploit whatever Bipolarchy-fatigue may exist in Troy. A vote for an independent candidate still needs to be an informed and not a reactionary choice. It's up to Cox to show how revolutionary his candidacy actually is.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Knox came a knockin' on my door recently. Usually I don't take kindly to being interrupted on my weekends, especially by either religious folk or politicians wishing to shake my hand. He initially just asked for my endorsement by way of a signature in order to be included on the poll.

First I asked his party affiliation and let him know that I am no longer willing to support either party. Both parties have become blatantly corrupt. Aside from that, the right-wingers have become unwilling to compromise and the left is far too eager to cave.

He assured me he stands with neither party, is against corporate interests and, although a religious man himself, is not interested in pushing religious issues on the political front.

Since we seem to see eye-to-eye for the most part, I was more than happy to give him my signature. Personally, I don't see the sense of starting a party to represent 1 candidate, I'd rather bring politics down to a personal level where every candidate runs on their own merit, rather than a party brand-name, but I would be a hypocrite if I wasn't willing to compromise on some issues.

hobbyfan said...

As I see it, the best way to gauge Cox's standing with voters is to---wait for it---arrange a public debate among the three candidates. We all know the Cox family has had a running issue with the city over their business and zoning laws, I think it was.

One way or the other, the city will have a first time mayor, and there will be historical significance in any direction as it relates to the city.