Grassroots politics, from Brooklyn to the White House

No, Bill de Blasio hasn't announced his candidacy for president...yet. But the same type of grassroots politics that gave Mayor de Blasio his start and propelled him to the mayoralty helped turn a little-known, freshman senator from Chicago's South Side into the President of the United States. Learn how from Mitch Stewart, who, as Obama's 2008 Iowa caucus director and 2012 battleground states director, helped oversee the campaign's field operations in its most critical contests. Stewart will be joined by leading New York City strategists who are managing local efforts to achieve universal pre-kindergarten and public campaign financing.

A conversation with:

  • Mitch Stewart, founding partner, 270 Strategies
  • Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director, New York State Alliance for Quality Education
  • Michael Blake, principal, Atlas Strategy Group
  • Susan Lerner, executive director, Common Cause New York

Moderated by:

  • Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School

Admission is free but you must RSVP.

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The Center’s public policy forums are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Milano Foundation.

The City & The State: Conflict or Collaboration?

empire state

Is tension inevitable between Albany and NYC? Or is it just that there’s a new mayoral administration and an election-year governor, and press and politicos shining the spotlight in search of every conflict? As Mayor de Blasio seeks to fulfill campaign promises and pursue the agenda that got him elected, a popular Governor Cuomo has his own program to fulfill. Will the city and state collaborate? Or will diverging fiscal and political priorities cause more conflict, more publicly than in the past?

With:

  • Michael Benjamin, political columnist, New York Post; former NYS Assemblyman (D-Bronx)
  • Bill Hammond, political columnist, New York Daily News
  • Thomas Kaplan, political reporter, The New York Times
  • Liz Krueger, New York State Senator (D-Manhattan)

Moderated by:

Admissions is free, but you must RSVP: thecityandthestate.eventbrite.com

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Public Advocate Campaign Roundtable

This year's tight and closely watched race for Public Advocate included a tough primary that necessitated a runoff. The result was the historic election of a female African American to city-wide office for the first time in New York’s history. Notwithstanding the competition and high stakes, key campaign strategists from the major campaigns lamented their difficulty attracting press coverage and public attention throughout the race, as voters and press alike were distracted by scandals and surprise candidacies in other city-wide races.

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Comptroller Campaign Roundtable

The last-minute surprise entry of former Governor Eliot Spitzer into the race for comptroller required rapid strategic restructuring for the other campaigns and led to an unexpectedly heated Democratic primary race. The discussion at the roundtable included reflections on the contrasts between and among three highly qualified candidates; the ups and downs of press coverage; the impact of name recognition and personal notoriety; the role of public campaign financing, and the impact of a well-executed earned-media strategy.

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Choosing Leaders for a New Era: The NYC Post-Election Campaign Roundtables

Strategy, tactics, opportunity and chance: Join campaign leaders, pollsters, communications specialists, journalists and others for a debrief on the early plans, unforeseen twists and last minute sprints that led up to New York City’s 2013 primary and general elections.

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Can You Replicate the Obama Strategy? Technology, Social Science, and the Campaign Revolution

Political campaigns have revolutionized the way they target, contact and motivate supporters. Strategists are taking the insights of experimental social science and marrying them to the corporate world's Big Data marketing tools. The Obama Campaign won in large part by using statistical modeling techniques to identify persuadable voters and to fine-tune persuasive messages.

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Stronger Schools for NYC: A conversation with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn

How can New York sustain and build on positive changes in public education while fixing what isn’t working in our schools? Council Speaker Quinn discusses her views on building a 21st century school system, including innovations for educational improvement to make sure every child graduates high school ready for college and a good job.

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The Economy vs. Immigration: What will unlock the Latino vote in 2012?

Latino voters are expected to play a pivotal role in the presidential election, just as they did in 2008. This town hall event will explore the tensions in the complex relationship that has evolved between the Latino electorate and the presidential candidates. Will economic concerns such as unemployment and housing foreclosures guide at the voting booth? Will the candidates' immigration policies dominate?

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The Anatomy of Campaign Finance: Money's powerful influence on US politics and policy

The power of campaign donations to shape political decisions is front and center in the 2012 presidential election. Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations, mega- donors and unions to invest vast resources in candidates' campaigns, has been called an undemocratic giveaway to social and economic elites.

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Combating Youth Violence: Concrete Solutions for New York City

Youth violence has declined sharply over two decades--more than 70 percent in New York State, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Yet in some neighborhoods there are now increasing reports of gang activity and violence. Tensions and distrust remain high between law enforcement officials and community members - especially young people.

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Against the Falling Tide: Working Families and the Economy

As the impact of recession lingers, low-income and working-class Americans struggle against the economic tide. Wages are declining and employment is stagnant. The 2012 elections only add to the uncertainty. What are the economic prospects for working families in New York and around the country? An insider’s experience of White House strategy and policy debates helps us make sense of the last two years, the coming 12 months, and beyond.

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DREAM Activists and the Immigrant Rights Movement

Tens of thousands of youth graduate high school each year in the US with an inherited title: “undocumented immigrant.” Passage of the DREAM Act would make many undocumented young people legal residents, start them on a path to citizenship and make them eligible for financial aid if they finish college or serve in the military. While Congress considers—and delays—passage, legislators in states nationwide are debating and passing measures of their own.

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Cuomo and the Media: Managing the Message

Governor Andrew Cuomo has kept a tight rein on his public image and his administration’s agenda. His strategic successes in the legislature have been substantial, but critics say the popular governor is proving to be no great advocate of transparency in the executive branch. How has the governor sold his agenda to the legislature, the people, and the mass media?

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A Static State: The Budget Crisis and Albany in Transition

There will be a new governor next year, but is Albany likely to change? New York State’s turbulent politics and bleak fiscal situation have made this year’s budget among the more difficult in recent history. Lieutenant Governor Ravitch attempted to mobilize long-term fiscal accountability, but the Paterson administration chose a different path to attempt fiscal control.

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The Obama Agenda: Overcoming Poverty in New York and the Nation

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Obama administration’s 2010 budget plan include resources and tools for large-scale job creation, increased benefits for low-income and unemployed people, refundable tax credits, and the prospect of new flexible funds for child and family services. What is Washington offering the states, and how will New York respond?

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The Media and the Mayor: Michael Bloomberg's Transformation

Once he was described as an antidote to the old urban politics. Today he’s become an institution whose work could define a generation in government much like two other three-term mayors, Ed Koch and Robert Wagner. Are the news media revising their views on Mayor Bloomberg in this election year?

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Deconstructing the Immigrant Vote: A Feet in Two Worlds Town Hall

More than ever before, immigrant voters are key players in electoral politics and the presidential race. Yet their opinions and concerns are often overlooked by mainstream media. What are the top issues and priorities for today’s immigrant voters? How are the nation’s immigrant communities responding to the candidates’ efforts to woo them—and who will win their votes?

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The Race for Mayor 2005: Of Politics and Policy

In this election year, why have some issues been politically charged while others remain off the agenda? Have the mayoral candidates offered meaningful visions of the future? What are the most pressing problems facing the next administration – and have the candidates offered valid solutions?

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