From David McAuley. Email at david[AT]borderstan.com
Which of the seven candidates is the front-runner for the At-Large DC Council Seat up for grabs in the April 23 special election?
Depends who you talk to, and when. The Examiner.com dubbed Matthew Frumin the frontrunner on February 10. But by March 3, the WashingtonÂ Examiner was citing â€śpolitical observersâ€ť proclaiming Republican Patrick Mara and â€śestablishment Democratâ€ť Michael A. Brown as the leading candidates.** Mara was also â€śtough to beatâ€ť last week on Hillrag.com, but â€śthe race is much too early to call.â€ť
As a voter, it’s sometimes hard to keep the candidates straight. In the end, one defining characteristic must be seized upon to remember them. Mara is the Republican and Perry Redd is the candidate from the DC Statehood/Green Party. Since this is DC, the most memorable characteristic of some candidates â€“ Anita Bonds and Michael Brown â€“ are accusations of unethical behavior. (Bonds was appointed to hold the seat until the special election.)
Paul Zuckerberg is a Libertarian marijuana-rights attorney. Elissa Silverman used to be Washington City Paper‘s â€śLoose Lips.â€ťÂ And Matthew Frumin out-fundraised his nearest rival by a factor of two, which is probably why he was the only candidate to paper every seat with leaflets at a February 27 public forum on Sunday parking in the ANC 2F/Logan area.
Sometimes the campaigns don’t make it easy to tell them apart. Some of them have eerily identical websites, for example:
- Elissa Silverman at www.elissa2013.com
- Patrick Mara at www.patrickmara.com
- Paul Zukerberg at www.zukerbergatlarge.nationbuilder.com
What’s up with that? How did candidates of such diverse opinion end up looking the same? Does the Board of Elections give out computer templates when you file your signatures?
No, it just turns out that the candidates, regardless of their political affiliation, may have turned to the same vendor for web platforms. In this case, the vendor is NationBuilder, â€śthe world’s first Community Organizing System: an accessible, affordable, complete software platform that helps leaders grow and organize.â€ť
“Victory” and a Meeting with Bob
To test this hypothesis, I decided to launch a â€śBorderstan for DC Councilâ€ť web site. I signed up for the 14-day free trail and, 20 minutes later, I had this:
The name of the template which appeals to such a wide variety of political opinions is called â€śVictory.â€ť
Thirty minutes after signing up for the free trial, a salesman named “Bob” (not his real name) from Nation Builder called to offer a free tutorial and guidance. He said that a NationBuilder website starts at $19.99 and increases depending on the amount of traffic the site is likely to get, with potential state governors shelling out more than potential members of a local school board.
Under Bob’s questioning, I felt like I had been caught out in a lie, so I admitted that Borderstan was not really running for anything at this time. Bob was very understanding: â€śSorry I creeped you out.â€ť
Bob said he was coming on a sales visit to DC next week. Did I want to meet for a half-hour demo? he asked. I asked: Did he really understand that Borderstan was not running for anything? â€śSure no problem,â€ť he said. Sure, I said, I’d be happy to get a free demo. What could possibly go wrong?
To any of the candidates who want to move away from the Victory template: email me at david[AT]borderstan.com. I’ll introduce you to Bob.
**Â Anonymous is correct (see comments). The Examiner.com and the Washington Examiner are completely separate publications and we have corrected the article. The first (February 10) piece cited appeared in the Examiner.com and NOT the Washington Examiner as I wrote. The second (March 3) article appeared in the Washington Examiner.Â Apologies to both publications and to readers.Â â€“ David McAuley and the editors