So, who all is in the MetaFilter Caucus? May 22, 2016 10:05 AM   Subscribe

We're your top prime cut of MeFi, We're your choice! Who here has run for office, and/or been elected, or is running for office on Metafilter? How has Metafilter affected or influenced your campaign platform, if at all?

(If you're currently running, I respectfully ask that you don't turn this into a Vote For Me opportunity, but rather that we discuss things like various experiences in the campaign process, how they may have differed from expectations, and especially how being a member of the MetaFilter community has informed our politics, platforms, etc.)
posted by Cookiebastard to MetaFilter-Related at 10:05 AM (46 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

quidnunc callout
posted by beerperson at 10:21 AM on May 22, 2016 [49 favorites]

I'm a wayyyy down ballot elected official myself, with a history of campaign work for local candidates and Presidential candidates. I raised a little under $10,000 for my campaign, mostly spent it well, and got elected to my local Soil and Water Conservation District in '14. MeTafilter was a very positive influence for my campaigning, it's through MeTafilter that I first really started reading in-depth about certain various issues with privilege and marginalization, which I think has made me a better public servant.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:33 AM on May 22, 2016 [17 favorites]

I ran for office while I was still a lurker, and won a seat as an alternate MP for an opposition party. I was twice called in to serve around the time I registered. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

Metafilter definitely helped me be able to form more comprehensive arguments in support of A Thing, having received plenty of training here to cover every pinhole weakness there might be in my point. Sometimes I would search Metafilter before Google to find relevant links to an argument I was making. It also really helped in being able to push back against disagreement in a reasonable fashion; to address the points someone made while maintaining civility, as there's a much higher expectation that you weather any kind of shitposting trollish behavior unflappably if you're an elected official. And of course, it was invaluable in being able to kill time during the more tedious parts of the parliamentary session.

My time in party politics was brief, and my time in parliament convinced me of my anarchism, but Metafilter was good for me while I was in office.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:47 AM on May 22, 2016 [14 favorites]

i find curtains at the ballot box quite convincing about a transparent election process.
posted by clavdivs at 10:55 AM on May 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have my own party. It's called the Guilty Party.
posted by jonmc at 11:13 AM on May 22, 2016 [10 favorites]

That's your party? Don't you answer to the Pope?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:25 AM on May 22, 2016 [8 favorites]

I'd prefer the Surprise Party, myself.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:37 AM on May 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm an elected Justice of the Peace in my town. Which, amusingly, has also cemented my general anarchistic affiliations (but I do get to give tax money back to people if they deserve it, and perform their weddings for free, so that's cool). MetaFilter helped me see other people's different-from-mine opinions as valid and worth sincere interactions with. My town is left-leaning but only just and there are many people who have been here a long time who care for the town as much as if not more than I do, but who have different viewpoints on how to deal with the many choices we have to make as a town. I've gotten better at having those discussions, on tricky issues, and helping other people have those discussions. I've become a lot more civically engaged since I've been at MeFi but I'm also sixteen years older so it's hard to tell which came first causally.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:34 PM on May 22, 2016 [20 favorites]

I used to be treasurer of my union local --- six years of that was more than enough, when they tried to elect me again I flat-out refused to accept. (And I spent more two years as their sergeant-at-arms, which was way more fun.)

Also served a year as Official Scapegoat for a social group: I ran on the platform of, "I never attend meetings, so I don't care what you say about me"; it worked, I won in a landslide.
posted by easily confused at 12:46 PM on May 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Ran twice, won the first, lost the second, for local school board (2400 employees, 14,000 students, ~$150m operating budget). Served five years, and it was generally a good experience, and a very interesting and educational one, although one that left me a little cynical about human nature. My second run I was subject to a gigantic shitshow of crazy people behaving in (criminally) crazy ways that included targeting my very young children with threats, so that soured me on the process a bit.

Losing a hotly-contested, ugly election is sort-of like being broken up with in front of the entire world while also being fired, it is pretty high on the "unbearable shame" scale in the moment where it's happening and you have to give TV interviews during the process, and then read a week of post-mortems about it in the newspaper. It ends, you live, it's not that bad, people are sympathetic. But it gives you a lot of sympathy for people like losing presidential candidates who go through that TIMES A BILLION. No surprise they mostly disappear from the public sphere for a year and grow ill-advised facial hair.

From a purely selfish point of view, the opportunity to manage such a large and complex organization when I was 30 was really neat. Most of the people I was working with were in their 50s or older, and my first experience of a large organization like that was in senior management. I learned a lot lot lot about complex HR, legal, and financial stuff, and a lot about the nitty-gritty of management, and how to tell good managers from bad ones, and PR catastrophes, and so on and so forth. That part I strongly recommend, the guts of managing a large public entity like that is crazy-interesting work.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:40 PM on May 22, 2016 [26 favorites]

Tom Watson (BaggyMP) has been both an MP and a MeFite for a long time, and is now deputy leader of the Labour party.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:41 PM on May 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

What is an alternate MP? I assume it's a feature of party-list proportional representation, but I am not sure of the mechanics.
posted by Gerald Bostock at 2:09 PM on May 22, 2016

Just lost an election for neighborhood council.
posted by klangklangston at 2:50 PM on May 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I served a 3 year term on my HOA board. However that was back pre-2008 and we literally had nothing to deal with other than the occasional scofflaw that didn't store their trash receptacles out of sight.

I'm generally not as fan of HOAs and my time as the HOA didn't really change that. Seemed like most of the stuff we worried about was inconsequential and didn't really matter in the long run. Can't see MeFi had any impact, but then I'm not sure my 3 years made any impact on the neighborhood.
posted by COD at 3:01 PM on May 22, 2016

Didn't someone run for congress or state assembly in Kansas?
posted by LionIndex at 3:12 PM on May 22, 2016

Didn't Mutant retire his account because he was running for office? And we never heard back...
posted by quinndexter at 5:03 PM on May 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

I was elected to the Town of Franklin Town Council for four two-year terms, starting in 1999. Although the Town Council is "technically" the highest authority in town (we don't have a Mayor, and unlike a lot of New England cities and towns there is no annual "town meeting", so we also don't have selectmen) in practice the most important thing the Council does is hire, supervise, and approve the actions of the full-time Town Administrator. Most of the meeting time was spent going over (and over, and over) by-law amendments and budget issues, although I also did get to march in a lot of Fourth of July parades. If you look in the archives, you might find a picture of me holding up a "Hi, ColdChef!" sign in one of them.

I enjoyed being on the Council, although I was definitely burned out after eight years, and was grateful I wasn't re-elected for a fifth term (I didn't try very hard for re-election that time). The position is completely unpaid (without even a stipend), and every election was completely non-party. There were Democratic and Republican town committees, but they didn't do anything in local elections and I can't remember a single sign or brochure ever identifying a council candidate by party affiliation.

I would strongly recommend that anyone with an interest in their local affairs consider running for a local or municipal position. There is always a need! I'm glad I did, and the experience has given me more perspective and a greater appreciation for those folks who go even farther (and take the process and the position with the seriousness that they deserve).
posted by yhbc at 6:25 PM on May 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

I've been on the board of the local neighborhood council and am currently on the review board for the neighborhood's historic district. The review board has exactly zero power and can only give recommendations to the city's review board which has actual power but people get mad at us anyway.
posted by octothorpe at 6:35 PM on May 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I know this doesn't really count, but I helped a friend run for Senior Class Officer back in high school. He ran on the Klingon Party Platform, and we printed signs with the emblem of the Klingon Empire, that sort of thing. But every candidate also had to give a speech, so we used his copy of the Klingon phrasebook to make a speech by awkwardly piecing together in sequence as many Klingon phrases as needed to reach the time limit (I still remember how it started, and the translation is "Greetings! Do you speak Klingon? Aha! That is unfortunate. I will be your First Officer...").

He had to present his speech to the school before he could deliver it, and they rejected it because it had to be in English. So one or both of us just typed up a fake speech, and then when the day came for everyone to give their speeches, he proceeded to give the one in Klingon. I managed to be home sick that day, but people were laughing (one of our friends yelled out "your accent is terrible!"), and I was told it was one of the highlights of high school for some folks.

Anyway, the election results came in, and he got a grand total of about 20 votes, which was surprisingly good, as far as I remember it, because it was higher than the numbers we were expecting based on friends' promises to vote Klingon. So it was a loss, but also a win, and I like to think our running pulled some of the other candidates to the latlh Daj.
posted by teponaztli at 7:38 PM on May 22, 2016 [11 favorites]

I know this doesn't really count, but I helped a friend run for Senior Class Officer back in high school. He ran on the Klingon Party Platform...

I'm going to allow it.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:56 PM on May 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm a quasi-public official (my technical boss is appointed by the President, my immediate supervisor is a career hire, at least on paper; my real name and salary are publicly available to interested audiences) who is very, very concerned about this election and my continued freedom to speak out on Meta or any other online outlet, whether tied directly to my real identity or not.

Lets just say Im acutely aware of the ease with which my online statements could be linked to my employment, even in a not-all-that-critical-to-national-security role, if certain politically adverse candidates were to prevail. It's not an academic concern to some of us.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:13 PM on May 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

I've been elected annually to the board of a non-profit state sporting body since about 2003. Usually without opposition, but a win is a win, right? I've also been elected to a different state body almost every year since about 1985. In this case, often with fierce opposition and the accompanying dirty tricks from my opponents. My view was that, if someone else wants the job that badly, they're welcome to it - not once has anyone put their hand up for re-election. Neither are really 'running for office', but the first body has had access to and control over up to about $250k on public money each year, so it kind of counts. Sort of.

Not really related to platforms or elections, but MeFi has taught me that I'm not always right (yeah, I was surprised too ;-)) and, in fact, I'm more often wrong than right. Always starting with that perspective in mind has helped me guide potentially ugly situations to a workable solution. Often, especially when emotions run high, nobody is truly in the right and navigating through all that to a result everyone can live with can be incredibly hard.
posted by dg at 3:41 AM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

What is an alternate MP?

In the parliamentary system here, it goes like this:

People vote for parties rather than individual candidates, and the number of votes the party gets for a particular district are translated into number of seats in parliament. Who sits in these seats is determined by the list, and that list is determined based on voting within that party's primaries.

So if the East Side Party wins 4 seats in District 1, the top four people on East Side Party's list for that district will have a seat in parliament. The next four people on the list are the alternates. They come in when sitting MPs have to take a leave of longer than 2 weeks. It's also a good idea, as an alternate, to be involved in your parliamentary party's legislative and committee activities, so that if you are called in, you are ready to hit the ground running.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:01 AM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Just realizing that there are totally enough DC MeFites that we could plausibly field a candidate for Shadow Senator, given just how low the stakes are for that particular office....
posted by schmod at 5:29 AM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

quidnunc callout

Hello MelectionFilter, is Jose "Man U" Mourinho who is feeling today very, very special one. Some people say to me, "Hey Jose, should we vote #1 Special One in upcoming national or regional election?" But I say, no, please I don't need your vote for special job. Some people like to have votes, and vote for manager for their country. But I prefer to wait for ineffectual ruling leader to be deposed by those close to him, while waiting in the wings like dark, brooding presence - much like Game of Thrones show that is so popular now. Yes - I have won many title, many champions league and many cups, and now I am looking forward to becoming "King of the North". Ha ha! No, but everything is coming up Jose! And why? Because I am a special one!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:51 AM on May 23, 2016 [24 favorites]

posted by y2karl at 8:26 AM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Mom didn't win in 2010, but she did go on to get arrested for civil disobedience and was selected as a NC delegate to the Democratic convention Saturday night, so that's something.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:38 AM on May 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

much like Game of Thrones show that is so popular now

If this was true, your comment would have contained at least 3 bared breasts and 4 acts of violence, quidnunc, you are a sham!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:05 AM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's not an academic concern to some of us.

Is this in response to another comment?
posted by zutalors! at 10:19 AM on May 23, 2016

I ran for Secretary of State in Washington in 2004.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:31 AM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm just here for the Alice Cooper line in the title.
posted by Splunge at 11:38 AM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

And stayed for the quidtrump...
posted by y2karl at 12:09 PM on May 23, 2016

I'm appointed to a local commission (my appointment was controversial enough to make the local papers, even). I refuse to run for office. I'm deeply involved in local politics, though, am in leadership for a local Dem party organization, and spend a whole lot of time campaigning for candidates and initiatives.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:20 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am considering running for an open position on my local regional quasi-governmental regulatory commission. They do boring, sometimes controversial work, it is a two year hitch, it probably fits into my regular full time job life, and I dig the org and the mandate. These seats often go uncontested and in fact they need people to step up. I'm worried about how far someone, anyone, might dig into my past over something like this. I do not want to get ratfucked. I'm probably overthinking it. Any advice? Sorry to turn this into a vrakask.
posted by vrakatar at 5:23 PM on May 23, 2016

Calling stevis.
posted by adamvasco at 5:47 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Both of my parents are/were municipal politicians and it is something that I have always thought I might do someday. I really feel like municipal politics are the heart and soul of positive change. I keep moving around so much however that it's been hard to ever see a meaningful path forward to running (I am not going to win a seat on Montreal city council as an Anglophone who has only lived here a year and spent 5 of the last 10 years not even living in Canada).
posted by 256 at 6:02 PM on May 23, 2016

256, and others who want to get involved but move around frequently: Keep an eye out for Advisory Commissions (or your local equivalent). They're often appointed rather than elected, so it's the mayor or council that decides, not the general public.

I was appointed to the Bicycle Advisory Commission in Davis, California. I had to fill out some paperwork and speak for a couple minutes at a city council meeting. You may not have any direct power - you just make recommendations to the council and hope they listen - but you also don't have to deal with the crazy whims of public opinion that Eyebrows described. It's still a great opportunity to get involved in public process, know what's going on with your local government, and work with the local community to find viable solutions for important issues. Because commissions tend to focus on specific fields (biking, historic preservation, parks...) you can "run" on topical expertise rather than a popular platform/image.
posted by sibilatorix at 8:22 PM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm actually the Duke of Westminster, so count me out I suppose.
posted by Segundus at 1:23 PM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

What counts? I mean, I'm elected to go on to the national convention, and I've been elected to nonprofit boards, but I don't really know if that counts.
posted by corb at 3:33 PM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

I like to think our running pulled some of the other candidates to the latlh Daj
A reference to the Klingon equivalent of the Overton Window?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:02 PM on May 24, 2016

The Klingon equivalent of Joseph Overton was a sub-lieutenant of a 22nd C. resistance movement who died while literally physically displacing a D5-class battlecruiser's viewscreen several meters to the left.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:32 PM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm trying to find the right political platform to effectively protest non-service dogs being allowed in my Safeway. The health department tells me I need to contact my legislators. If I ever get elected to anything it will be that. Pet peeve.
posted by bendy at 2:32 AM on May 25, 2016

Hi Corb, I guess I don't know for sure what "counts," I guess it's kind of self-selecting. I've been reading your posts in the election threads about your activities with your party, and I would definitely count that if I were counting. In my state, delegates are elected using an actual real ballot at the Supervisor of Elections office. I'm very happy to see such a wide variety here.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:14 PM on May 25, 2016

I was appointed to the Bicycle Advisory Commission in Davis, California.
posted by aniola at 9:14 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

So we've had TWO mefites on the Davis Bicycle Advisory Commission? We're taking over!
posted by gingerbeer at 3:20 PM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

But I say, no, please I don't need your vote for special job. Some people like to have votes, and vote for manager for their country. But I prefer to wait for ineffectual ruling leader to be deposed by those close to him, while waiting in the wings like dark, brooding presence - much like Game of Thrones show that is so popular now.

If I didn't know better, based on this dic(k?)tion [heh heh, wait for it], I'd say the quidnunc kid is Chuck Tingle and claim my five pounds.
posted by chimaera at 10:39 PM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

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