The Rise of Candidate X - Page 7

The absolutely true story of how a complete unknown rocketed from political obscurity, electrified the city, tackled real problems, and beat Ed Lee in 2015. 

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All illustrations by Sean Morgan


editEndxCandidate X has been an enigma from the beginning, a vessel of progressive hopes for finally winning the Mayor's Office. And at tonight's triumphant election night party, we learned that we're all Candidate X.

As exciting as the political victory was the hope that the masked Candidate X would reveal her or his identity after winning the race, which the current 15-point margin all but assures. That made for a big moment when Candidate X came onstage in Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to address the large crowd.

"This election was a fight for the soul of San Francisco and beyond. It was a referendum on the belief that we should leave this great city and others like it to the mercies of market forces, and the people have now said they want to be in control. Politicians often claim their victories are really victories for the people, but tonight, that's finally true," Candidate X said.

At that moment, dozens of nearly identical Candidate Xs with the ubiquitous mask, cape, and costume, that image that has so captivated the country over these last 22 months streamed out from backstage and filled the stage.

"1, 2, 3," they all said in unison, all of them pulling off their masks at the same moment, revealing themselves to be a broad cross-section of city residents: young and old, men and women, attractive and plain, black and white and every shade in between.

AllX

"You see," said the Candidate X who had originally come to the microphone, who appeared to be an Asian woman around 40 years old. "From the very beginning of this campaign, there's never been a single Candidate X. We've all worn the mask at different times, we've all stood on the stump to proclaim the progressive values that this election was about, and we've all run this race."

"Some of us have been doing this for a long time," said a costume-clad Tom Ammiano, the longtime local legislator who last ran for mayor in 1999, "and we knew this moment needed to be about more than just one leader. So we created a vehicle that we could all ride into Room 200."

Ammiano told the Guardian that he had been part of the large team that conceived of Candidate X during a series of secret meetings in late 2013. He said the campaign hopes and believes that its entire X Factor Leadership Team will be allowed to legally govern the city, but that just in case the Lee team challenges the unconventional arrangement in court, Ammiano last year legally changed his name to Candidate X and that he will serve as the figurehead for that governing structure if necessary.

"To turn this city around and restore it as an example for the world is a job for all of us, not any one person or faction," said another Candidate X, who appeared to be African American woman in her early 20s. "We face challenges ranging from unaffordable rents here to global warming and loss of biodiversity everywhere. And it's going to take all of us, working and standing together, to solve these problems and create a just and inclusive society, today and for future generations."

"Todos somos Candidate X," declared an elderly Latino Candidate X. "We are all Candidate X."

 

 

*All new items written by Steven T. Jones, Rebecca Bowe, and Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Comments

The plane, the plane!

Posted by marcos on Jan. 05, 2014 @ 6:05 pm

Ha! Good one!

It's an entertaining read and I know it's meant to be tongue in cheek, but it's also a little sad too. The reason I say that is that it's not that far off from the Bay Guardian's typical articles. It's all here; the complete lack of solutions for the housing crisis other than what basically amounts to the unconstitutional abolishment of private property, the black n' white/with us or against us thinking (even the graphics are black and white), and the embarrassingly adolescent fantasy of a revolution in the streets. But I just fail to see what real purpose has been other than something to fuel the wet dreams of a very small group of extreme left San Franciscans - or should I say East Bay residents. How about a few realistic ideas mixed in with the fun? I think that would have made it a better article.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 05, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

First, the SFBG posits Jesus the Socialist. Now, the SFBG casts progressive hopes on an unnamed messiah, a savior flitting down into our midst to offer us salvation from the hell of our own making. Were this fantasy to come true, you know that Brown would have Kawa have Ed Lie threaten each and every nonprofit with sequestering their funding to bring them back into line.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 8:24 am

Here's another ridiculous thing... I was in Seattle in October of last year, in the midst of an election campaign. There was a candidate for city council (at large) who's folks were campaigning at a street corner. It was a circus... there were guys on stilts, usual hippy-dippy type people, even an actual clown. The candidate appeared to be campaigning on a platform of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

I made a cynical remark to the relative I was visiting along the lines of, "yep, stilt walkers are always the mark of a winning campaign..." It's not that I didn't like the message... in fact I figured it's probably a candidate whose platform I could support. But everything about that campaign screamed "fringe."

I later found out that the candidate was running on the Socialist Alternative ticket. Her name is Kshama Sawant. And today, she was sworn in as the first Socialist city council person in Seattle in 100 years. She beat a 4 term Democrat by a very narrow margin.

Yeah, it's ridiculous. But these are ridiculous times.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

We used to be able to win elections here in San Francisco without having to resort to such theatrics.

Either we figure out how we stopped winning elections and stop doing that while doing the stuff we used to do when we won elections, or else it will just be endless protesting from the outside looking in and the best that can be hoped for will be more crumbs thrown at the nonprofits to get them to shut up.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

regularity. Sure SF is a liberal town and Ed Lee would look like a socialist from Texas. But the hard left really haven't won much of anything except for a brief time around 2000 when district elections did what the left had always hoped it would do.

Kim and Breed were more moderate than their predecessors and Avalos will probably be replaced by someone more moderate as his district isn't a hotbed of leftyism.

The left does better on single issue voter initiatives because, well, folks here are quirky. But the wheels of power and wealth mostly spin freely in SF because the majority are moderate. You see that most obviously in the mayoral races, which the left haven't won since the Agnos one-term ended in failure.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 7:07 am

An uneasy coalition of losers.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 7:34 am

Mayor Lee has declared war on tenants, although he's too smart to ever admit this. Every tenant in a rent-controlled apartment is under a constant threat of eviction since their apartments are worth much more if high-income tech employees live there. Every tenant in a non-rent controlled apartment is under threat of eviction if their household income isn't equal to the incomes of high-tech employees Mayor Lee is actively courting.

Political fortunes change quickly. Thankfully Mayor Lee's most avid supporters keep referring to an out-dated poll that is wholly irrelevant today and even more irrelevant in two years. My guess is that the backlash from tenants from being under the threat of eviction will cresendo just as major civil wars are errupting all over the world from the disparity of wealth and incomes. Compared to upcoming major civil wars in Thailand, Cambodia, and maybe even India and China, the tenant protests in SF, Oakland and New York will barely make the front page of the newspapers.

My prediciton is that Mayor Lee realizes he will lose badly in the next election and resigns so that the wealthy elites can support an alternative candidate to try to stem the anger and hostility against Mayor Lee, the Board of Supervisors, and the city bureaucrats who support Mayor Lee and his displacement policies.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 9:46 am

little more deeply about these issues than you do. Up to half of all tenants in SF do not have rent control because they live in condos, SFH's, post-79 construction or rent from non-profits or the government. They typically see rent control as a bad thing as it hoards units, either in the hands of "lifers" or in the hands of landlords who leave them vacant or TIC or AirBnB them.

Many tenants are new to the city and paying massive rents because of the lack of supply, again caused by rent control.

And of course property owners are a very active group as well.

Moreover, most people want to see a prosperous SF and welcome the success of our global business leaders.

That is why Lee easily beat the anti-jobs Avalos and will do again.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 10:01 am

Only a complete partisan or fool believes stale polling data. But please continue posting your nonsense here since the incessant mentioning of an out-dated poll confirms that Mayor Lee's supporters are becoming really desparate.

And if you think highly educated tech workers who are paying $7,500 a month rent for a small box on the 7th floor of some new highrise are guaranteed Mayor Lee voters, then you're even more partisan and clueless than your constant posts about "73%" indicate.

People mainly vote for their economic interests. Paying 40% of income for rent to a wealthy landlord - even from a relatively high income - gets really old after a couple of years. If Mayor Lee is counting on these high-income, high rent paying tenants as part of his political base, he's even more out of touch with reality than originally imagined.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 10:57 am

Everyone pays housing costs here. Presumably they think it is worth it, because we are all free to move elsewhere at any time.

Anyway, if Lee won last time against a strong field of other moderates, he should walk it next time as a popular incumbent.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

and squares with his numbers in the "runoff" with Avalos.

More generally I'd say the ratio of moderates to progressives in SF is 60/40. Enough to make a fist of any city-wide election but also not enough to ever elect a progressive mayor.

If an uncharismatic, bureaucrat candidate like Lee can beat the best that the left can come up with then it doesn't look good for the left at least until Lee's second term is up.

And by then the demographic changes in SF that we are witnessing may herald the end for any progressive power in SF, as their advocates and activists turn their attention to Oakland, where the demographics look very good going forward.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 11:01 am

Latest polls have him barely above 50%

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

because the other 60% would split themselves between the other candidates.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

Meanwhile the nation has lurched significantly towards a moderate pro-business series of government that indicate the exact opposite.

Inequality is a sign that success and wealth is achievable. If everyone were poor, we'd be equal, but so what? That's not America.

Posted by anon on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 10:09 am

that inequality is just a sign that success and wealth are achievable, then why does America have the smallest middle class on a percentage basis, and score lowest in social *mobility*, among the OECD countries?

Posted by Greg on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

super rich than a bigger chance of just being middle class.

That's why more people buy lottery tickets when it is millions.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

test

Posted by Guest on Jan. 05, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

test

Posted by Guest on Jan. 05, 2014 @ 9:49 pm

in summary: the lefts great hope does not exist, and is best conveyed as a cartoon.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 7:28 am

Given that his real world relevance is plumbing new depths.

But Lee will still walk the next election, given that his approval rating is polling at almost 3/4.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 8:17 am

to tell lies on the internet while acting like a condescending asshole?

2 seconds of google shows how full of shit you are:
"The poll also showed that Lee still enjoys a 51-percent approval rating."
sfist.com/2013/12/17/ammiano_could_be_contender_against.php
Dec 17, 2013 12:24 PM

New year, same old lame ass troll.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

There have been several polls showing Lee over 60%, which of course is the amount he polled at the election in the runoff over the hapless anti-jobs candidate Avalos.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

Just one request... don't dust off something from the middle ages. The 51% poll is the newest one I've seen personally, but if you have something newer, let's hear it.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

figure came from? And likewise the 60-plus polls from the last two years.

Do you want me to link the mayoral election result where three voted for Lee for every two for Avalos.

How about Gore vs Bush? Come on, Greg, make my day.

If you actually talked to people outside your narrow clique, you would believe the 3/4 number.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

Your golden boy doesn't have any recent polls showing him above 51%, does he?

Anyway, the election is 2 years away. He may yet win, he may not. We'll see. But as of right now, it looks like he's sinking fast.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

no poll showing 73% for Lee, even though it was in the Chronicle and widely reported and here and elsewhere? And discussed here several times?

Just because I won't be your dancing bear and provide a link to it? Or because you don't want to believe it?

It must really hurt you to know that Lee is popular. You probably just cannot understand it, can you? It's a mystery on planet Greg, right?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

Go back and re-read my post from 3:51PM. Any questions?

I think it's pretty self-explanatory.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 4:53 pm

What are we supposed to think?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 7:36 am

They're not here to have a reasonable discussion. They're not really as dense as they make themselves out to be. They're just baiting.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 8:52 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 9:06 am

So evidently he is now denying the existence of a poll that he previously knew about.

I guess his short-term memory is going.

Posted by anon on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 4:59 pm

Ancient history can be very enlightening. Just not in the realm of polling.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 5:31 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

If you can't provide a link to the facts, then you are simply full of shit.
Nothing new here except your inexhaustible supply of whiny lies and misrepresentation.
Ed Lee is at 51% and falling.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 8:49 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 9:06 am

*One* year out from the New York City mayor's race (not 2 years), New York's "business-friendly" mayor and his accolytes assumed everyone loved him, and his handpicked successor would walk away with the election. And why not? Christine Quinn was riding high in the polls, while Bill DeBlasio was in single digits campaigning on a platform of tackling inequality (what's that?) and ending stop and frisk (which purveyors of conventional wisdom love).

So how did that turn out?

The issues in the 2015 mayors race are shaping up to be the kind that are ready made for the progressive playbook. Lee's poll ratings are already starting to fall -he's not nearly as strong as Christine Quinn was one year before she lost badly to a progressive candidate. This is one we can totally win... provided we don't self-destruct.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

all US cities, NYC has little power to raise taxes that the wealthy would even notice. He is already saying the tax hikes are only for those making over 500K a year. And if you make that much, you can afford a good account who can make the rest go away.

You're all hyped up about NYC but that has been a playground for the world's super rich for centuries, and one idealistic major won't change that.

I lived in NY when Dinkins was mayor, and I predict it will be more like that.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

But Quinn will not be in power to sell NYC out to Wall Street for a song. de Blasio appears to be Obamaing himself into position to demand some concessions by appointing Peter Ragone and a Goldman-Sachs exec as affordable housing deputy mayor.

The Democrats run to the left and then once in office screw their base in favor of neoliberalism more effectively than the Republicans.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 6:38 am

You remain an idealist only because you have no power, and so can afford to.

If you had ever had any power, you would have made compromizes.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 7:37 am

Which means that democracy has been superseded by capitalism.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 8:08 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 8:26 am

"The left" has gone all spiritual and religious on us. Appeals to morality, fantasizing about Jesus as industrial socialist, trying to reclaim the Catholic Church and spinning yarns about a messianic savior, as if a resurgence of progressive activism will work now as it has failed in the past.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 8:32 am

Blessed be the hypocrites because they make us all laugh.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

Where are the lions when we need them?

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 6:08 pm

was *not* appealing enough to religion. I'm not a believer, but I think the liberation theologists had it right all along. And incidentally, as the tradition of liberation theology shows, religious leftism isn't a new phenomenon.

Yes, it's all a load of crap... virgin birth and bearded men in the sky and all the rest. It's mind-numbing stupidity as far as I'm concerned. But it's mind-numbingly stupid crap that a LOT of people believe in. And if converting them out of their mind-numbingly stupid beliefs is not essential to passing a political program, why take on that extra work? Why not just work with their beliefs, such as they are, and try to find common ground on issues that everyone can agree with? Isn't that what you advocate, marcos? Finding common ground with people who don't necessarily share your entire worldview?

Well, religion is one of those things. I think the left has plenty of material to use in the teachings of Jesus. I personally could care less what Jesus believed 2000 years ago, but I'll find a lot more ground with working-class Christians by talking about economics rather than trying to convince them that the Virgin Mary was probably just sleeping around. If Jesus can help me talk to them about why capitalism screws us both, then I welcome his help.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

opposed gay marriage and fought against abortion.

He might even go to heaven too, although I doubt it.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

You can speak to elevating and motivating themes found in religion in secular terms without resorting to the secular religion.

Waiting on a second coming is a device used to get people used to getting screwed. Speaking to themes of redemption and empowerment is what Harvey Milk called for, to give 'em hope.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

Unless you prefer posterity to being alive.

The Dem's lost the God and Guns lobby a long time ago, out-witted by GOP strategists. That's why we had 8 years of Bush while you slept.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2014 @ 7:04 pm

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