Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Grist for the Mill: Let the recriminations flow

Post mortem election analysis is the bane of losing campaigns' departures from the land of the political living. Not only do they not get what they want; they don't get what they need, a political lifeline.

Sometimes the results peter out with an impending sense of doom as Parents United suffered this year facing a juggernaut and sometimes it's just the rancidness of the Old Guard crew behind the curtain causing the implosion. As some view the Hoboken Board of Education from a distance, they may miss the overlapping implications for City Hall and the waning influence of the Old Guard at the polls.

After the thuggish incident of FlashlightGate took root among Hoboken voters, the question of  victory for the reform oriented moms of Forward Together was no longer in doubt, merely the margin. The story had gone viral and far beyond district moms who were disgusted with the antics. In a presidential year, the Masonic ape galvanized casual Hoboken voters generating record totals for the winning BoE slate.

Masonic ape collage courtesy of Grafix Avenger

Thousands of additional voters participated compared to the last presidential year in 2012. That year, the infamous Nazi Truck Move Forward campaign managed by the Masonic wannabe shark, scored high in lewd and crude parading a Nazi flag all over town in a graphic connected to the loon at Hate411 but generated the bite of a guppy and likewise led to a sweep.

Considering the walk of doom taken by Parents United, the candidates were remarkably complimentary of their Forward Together opponents wishing them well in the coming year and urging continued progress in the school district. Classy all around and for Hoboken more than a tad odd but they recognized the diligence, sincerity and hard work of the opposition.

Behind the scenes, it was a different story. Anthony "Stick" Romano who has been a looming mayoral candidate can't be thrilled with the effort led by himself and Councilman Michael Russo. The in-fighting doesn't quite parallel the election night meltdown of a spiked CNN story with the candidate attacking campaign staff in a "psychotic drunken rage" but it was a real problem.

Sources say the unhappiness began with the lack of campaign effectiveness among the Parents United candidates but grew worse with the sense overall they were not capable of going beyond negative talking points provided. On the trail, the reports were worse, voter engagement was flailing and desperate measures with the HoLa Charter School rumored to have ended classes early one day to send its students to the PATH telling commuters their school was being shut down by the district. Power struggles ensued and caused the typical mayhem among the frustrated insiders. No one tried to put a headlock on another but they were thinking about it.

Meanwhile, the Forward Together slate was clicking with a unity of advantages not seen since 2009. A group of council members offered an early endorsement and several endorsers played critical roles right through election day. Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher a newbie to campaigning last year in her successful self-managed council bid is now a full-fledged wrecking crew. Mayor Zimmer provided an earlier endorsement than prior years and backed it up by hitting the campaign trail. More volunteers came to the fore making a bigger splash. Targeted voter engagement followed adding to the big bang effect. All of it plus the record setting vote totals spelled doom for the Parents United ticket.

Prior to the election, word had leaked out Anthony "Stick" Romano might be having second thoughts running for mayor and the Old Guard weren't sure he was the shoo-in candidate to back either. His fundraising efforts haven't been stellar worrying his unofficial campaign manager Pablo Fonseca, last seen in the 2015 failed bid of BoE trustee Peter Biancamano's second ward council campaign. The booming election results for what's been called "the Reform Party" is only adding to those concerns.

It turns out the pro-Old Guard "Between the Lines" column got it all wrong once again when it predicted defeat for the Forward Together ticket quoting a OG soldier "they know the mayor's slate is losing."

As if. When you can't even distinguish a dog from a horse, how can you be expected to get anything right. Let the 2017 mayoral election games begin!

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. All email is kept confidential until mutual agreement and is protected by Da Horsey's proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law in Hudson County Superior Court.